Farming on top of water is not a new invention. The world has seen this before long ago. Yet, while the idea is as old as the hills, it has yet to be tried on the ocean. Obviously you can’t grow food with sea water, but there is fresh water at sea if one harvests rainwater. Which is exactly what a group of university students in London are working on making happen. Their goal is making it possible to grow local food in a coastal megatropolis like Singapore using freely available resources.
The Sealeaf project is the brainchild of Roshan Sirohia, Jason Cheah, Sebastiaan Wolzak, and Idrees Rasouli. All former students at the Royal College of Art and the Imperial College, London. They won a Core77 Design Award in June. Their concept that really captured the judges attention:
“An interesting vision for a not far future. A meta-project that tries to look at the world food system crisis through a fresh lens and shows what design could mean within a complex world.
We are very close to this project. We believe that it could help humanity in a not far future. We think that that the students have got a great idea.”
Their hydroponic design uses collected rainwater and solar energy. A module can product 44 pounds of bok choy a year at a cost of $50 a pod.The group sees the floating farms as being kept at a kilometer or two off shore with the farmer arriving to tend the crops and harvest via boat. When attached into a flotilla of modules the design forms walkways to provide access to each growing unit.
The world is 2/3 water. That’s a lot of unused surface space that might make it possible to grow more food. By concentrating on water space not far from shore it keeps the carbon footprint of the food very low.
Still in the design phase, the Sealeaf project may just become one more step in solving the looming feeding the population problems. There is a more information on the project at www.fastcoexist.com and www.designboom. Follow the Sealeaf project before it is news again on their Facebook page.