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Home » Innovation » INNOVATION: Floating dairy farm at the Port of Rotterdam

INNOVATION: Floating dairy farm at the Port of Rotterdam

design: Goldsmith.Company, photo: Ruben Dario Kleimeer

PortandTerminal.com, July 1, 2019

A floating dairy farm has opened at the Port of Rotterdam, showing how food production can become less vulnerable to climate change

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands – As countries around the world seek to meet the challenge of feeding growing populations in a sustainable way, a visionary Dutch company believes that it has found an innovative and sustainable way of producing food close to where most of it is consumed — in the world’s cities.

“Transporting all this food all over the world is really polluting the world. It’s doing damage to food quality, it creates food losses, So we have to find a different model. We have to bring it much closer to the citizens. And that’s what we’re showing over here.”

Peter van Wingerden, farm owner

At a macro level, roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted. The Rotterdam dairy farm innovation is a small step in the long march to help fix that problem.

The fully functioning dairy farm moored in the Rotterdam Harbor, combines Dutch expertise in recycling, building on water and automated agriculture is drawing interest from around the world.

Peter van Wingerden, the farm’s owner, said he is already discussing floating farms in Singapore and China. Another group is looking into locating one in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

The world needs more innovations like these

The world’s population is forecast to grow to 9.7 billion people by the year 2050. Our Earth will have two billion more mouths to feed than it does today in just over 30 years. How will we feed all of those people?

Meanwhile, research has calculated that nearly 33% of the world’s adequate or high-quality food-producing land has been lost at a rate that far outstrips the pace of natural processes to replace diminished soil.

The farm’s design is, in essence, an agricultural building based on nautical principles
design: Goldsmith.Company, photo: Ruben Dario Kleimeer

The dairy farm in Rotterdam, which opened May and cost about 3 million euros ($3.4 million), demonstrates a new sustainable way of producing food close to where most of it is consumed — in and around the world’s major urban centres.

The farm’s design is, in essence, an agricultural building based on nautical principles

design: Goldsmith.Company, photo: Ruben Dario Kleimeer

When the herd reaches its target capacity of 40 cows — there are currently 35 — it will produce 800 litres (211 gallons) of milk each day. The farm pasteurizes the milk and turns some of it into yoghurt on the middle floor of the pontoon. Manure is processed for use as fertilizer.

If the project proves a success, the team will move forward with plans to expand the business with a floating chicken farm and a floating greenhouse, producing fresh fruit and vegetables for the city.

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