Singapore Opens Vertical Farm

Sky Green has opened the world’s first vertical faem in Singapore and it’s well beyond a proof of concept. The functioning farm produces one ton of food every other day!

This new farm will hopefully encourage more urban vertical farming to increase local food consumption while cutting down on expensive food transportation.

The farm itself is made up of 120 aluminum towers that stretch thirty feet tall. Looking like giant greenhouses, the rows of plants produce about a half ton of veggies per day. Only three kinds of vegetables are grown there, but locals hope to expand the farm to include other varieties. The farm is currently seeking investors to help build 300 additional towers, which would produce two tons of vegetables per day. Although the $21 million dollar price tag is hefty, it could mean agricultural independence for the area.

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Really Cool Aquaponics Setup in Oakland

Oakland California is not known for farming let alone technologically-driven hydroponics. Kijani Grows is a small company in Oakland that is trying to change this with a system of cycling water through fish, gravel, and plants to create a very efficient farming setup in a small space. What makes this system better than others is that it is integrated to modern electronics so you’ll get notifications when you should water or harvest the plants!

Check out this video of their system:

The land in West Oakland where Eric Maundu is trying to farm is covered with freeways, roads, light rail and parking lots so there’s not much arable land and the soil is contaminated. So Maundu doesn’t use soil. Instead he’s growing plants using fish and circulating water.
It’s called aquaponics- a gardening system that combines hydroponics (water-based planting) and aquaculture (fish farming). It’s been hailed as the future of farming: it uses less water (up to 90% less than traditional gardening), doesn’t attract soil-based bugs and produces two types of produce (both plants and fish).

Via Reddit.

Bhutan to go 100% Organic

Bhutan is an amazing little country that has banned cigarettes and measures its success not through the backwards-looking GDP but by Gross National Happiness. In another step to be the one of the friendliest to the environment, the Asian nation has now pledged to produce and consume only organic food!

“We have developed a strategy that is step-by-step. We cannot go organic overnight,” Gyamtsho said, describing a policy and roadmap which were formally adopted by the government last year.

“We have identified crops for which we can go organic immediately and certain crops for which we will have to phase out the use of chemicals, for rice in certain valleys for example.”

Bhutan’s only competitor for the first “100 percent organic” title is the tiny self-governing island of Niue in the South Pacific, which has a population of only 1,300. It aims to reach its objective by 2015-2020.

Nadia Scialabba, a global specialist on organic farming at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, says the organic food market and its premium prices are attractive for small countries and territories.

“This is happening in very small countries who are not competitive on quantity, but they would like to be competitive in quality,” she told AFP.

The global organics market was estimated to be worth 44.5 billion euros (57 billion dollars) in 2010, according to figures from the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements.

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Victory for Chickens in Europe

Being a chicken who’s sole purpose is egg-laying can be hard because of the horrible living conditions. Too many animals, in this case chickens, are held in enclosures that don’t allow for movement. This is starting to change for chickens in Europe as they have now been granted better enclosures thanks to some ethical activists!

On the first day of 2012, keeping hens in such cages became illegal, in all 27 countries of the European Union. Hens can still be kept in cages, but they must have more space, and the cages must have nest boxes and a scratching post. Last month, members of the British Hen Welfare Trust provided a new home for a hen they named “Liberty”. She was, they said, among the last hens in Britain still living in the type of cages we had opposed.

In the early 1970s, when the modern animal-liberation movement began, no major organisation was campaigning against the battery cage. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the mother of all animal-protection organisations, had lost its early radicalism long before. It focused on isolated cases of abuse, and failed to challenge well-established ways of mistreating animals on farms or in laboratories. It took a concerted effort by the new animal radicals of the 1970s to stir the RSPCA from its complacency towards the battery cage and other forms of intensive animal rearing.

Read Europe’s ethical eggs-ample.

The Return of Rich Ocean Farming

Using the bounty of ocean to feed people is nothing new, but with a new spin on ocean farming we can have a sustainable food source (currently fishing is quite destructive) that also helps slow down the rate of climate change. We can use the very plants and animals that we are farming in the ocean to absorb carbon!

Seaweed is one of the fastest growing plants in the world; kelp, for example, grows up to 9-12 feet long in a mere three months. This turbo-charged growth cycle enables farmers to scale up their carbon sinks quickly. Of course, the seaweed grown to mitigate emissions would need to be harvested to produce carbon-neutral biofuels to ensure that the carbon is not simply recycled back into the air as it would be if the seaweed is eaten. The Philippines, China, and other Asian countries, which have long farmed seaweed as a staple food source, now view seaweed farms as an essential ingredient for reducing their carbon emissions.

Oysters also absorb carbon, but their real talent is filtering nitrogen out of the water column. Nitrogen is the greenhouse gas you don’t pay attention to — it is nearly 300 times as potent as carbon dioxide, and according to the journal Nature, the second worst in terms of having already exceeded a maximum “planetary boundary.” Like carbon, nitrogen is an essential part of life — plants, animals, and bacteria all need it to survive — but too much has a devastating effect on our land and ocean ecosystems.

Read more here.

Thanks to Greg!

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