by Amber

Growing Below Sea Level

Twenty feet below sea level there are greenhouses successfully producing beans, strawberries, basil, and more – at the bottom of Ligurian Sea. Actually, they are more like bubbles that provide an air pocket for indoor farming off the coast of Nilo, Italy. They have no floors! Fish are swimming past the crops on the outside of the plastic enclosure… And it’s a success.

Biosphere Crops - Underwater Farming

Sounds pretty crazy, but as you can see it’s true. This isn’t a design concept. The gardens aren’t a test. They’ve passed that point. Now they’ve got 5 gardens inside these biospheres, and are hoping to introduce it to the world as a sustainable food growing option.

Sergio Gamberini, son of Italian farmer Luca Gamberini, got the idea while on vacation a few years ago. A couple of phone calls later he was building the first underwater garden structure in an environment with 83% humidity and a consistent 79 degree temperature. After some experimenting, and trial and error discoveries, Gambalini and his father have proven that it is a viable undertaking that could be the answer to sustainable farming in some of the world’s harshest climates. Its unlikely they mean cold climates, because the water temperatures aren’t summery in such a location, but in some areas of the world it could indeed have merit.

The family business, Ocean Reef Group is a diving gear company. You would have to have a lot of of knowledge about what goes on underwater to even think of such a concept. Sergio spends a great deal of his time with the sea. And now he’s growing food hydroponically down there too with fresh water delivered to the plants via a garden hose in a team project with his father.

They are constantly monitoring conditions in the growing spaces and keeping a close eye on their little farm at the bottom of the sea with live video streaming. Ocean Reef can only grow 4 months a year due to their government license for the project being for one season only, but that’s plenty of time to grow just about any garden crop to harvest, even more for fast growing plants like lettuces and greens.

On Thursday the Nemo’s Garden Kickstarter campaign launched seeking crowdfunding to take their discovery farther. They know it works at 20 feet below the water surface, but how much deeper can they go. More scientific data and serious study of the possibilities and limitations is needed, which is naturally not a small undertaking. This has never been done before – its a bit like the first flight to the moon. You can read all about it on their campaign page.

Tour Nemo’s Garden and get a closer look at his biosphere greenhouses…

You can watch the garden in real time via live video feed HERE. Check out the biosphere monitors HERE, More videos on the Ocean Reef Group website.

Source: Digital Trends

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The garden played a starring role from spring through fall in the house Amber was raised in. She has decades of experience growing plants from seeds and cuttings in the plot and pots.