Imagine a farm where cows are afforded the opportunity to live their best lives. In Rotterdam in the Netherlands, a farmer has taken agriculture to a whole new level by creating the world’s first floating dairy farm.
Yep, you heard right! This futuristic farm exists and houses over 30 well-cared-for cows.
Envisioned by Peter and Minke van Wingerden of Beladon, a company that specialises in waterborne architecture, the Floating Farm produces healthy food in the city, close to the consumer. And the aim is to also produce food in a sustainable, innovative, transparent way with animal welfare as top priority.
The farm was designed by architecture studio Goldsmith.
According to Peter, the idea came to them while they were working in New York City, shortly after Huricane Sandy hit. The storm resulted in the deaths of 44 city residents and inflicted an estimated $19 billion in damages and lost economic activity across New York City.
“We saw that stores and shelves were empty of fresh food. This is how we came up with the idea to farm within the city, so that we can always produce healthy food close to the consumer,” Peter said.
The best stable in the world
Floating Farm stands for circular farming and according to experts, the three-layered building is a tech masterpiece.
One part of the farm is below the water and designed to be used as cool space for storage. The second floor is a processing area, while the third layer is where the stable is located. Talk about transFARMation!
Peter said they also collect rainwater from the roof. The rainwater is filtered with a membrane technology and then goes back as drinking water for the cows. There are also floating solar panels right next to the farm.
In addition to supplying fresh dairy to the city, the largest possible proportion of the raw materials used, including the rations of their cows, consists of residual flows from the same city.
For example, their animals are already fed brewer’s grains from a number of Rotterdam breweries, bran from Schiedam windmills, grass from nearby sports fields and potato peels from a local processor.
Wait, there’s more…
In addition to a lot of attention, love and care, the cows also sleep on beds specifically designed for cows. The beds are made of flexible and strong materials that can be adjusted to the wishes of the cow. In addition to these cow beds, other products are also used to meet all the needs of the cows.
“In our opinion we have created the best stable in the world… For us creating a better world is essential. It’s not only passion but we strongly believe that we [must] change, and we have to change now. We wanted to do something to create a better world.”
The big question, however, is can this model be replicated in other parts of the world, especially South Africa?
According to Peter, the answer is a definite yes.
“I strongly believe that this model can be applied anywhere in the world where there’s water. We have requests from all over the world because there are countries that do not have space.”
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