World's First Underwater Farm could be the Future of Farming

With the increase in population and limitations of land available, the agriculture scientists are looking for alternate ways and means of cultivation and farming. Vertical farming and hydroponics are also modern ways of doing cultivation.  

Underwater Farming is a new and innovative way of farming. In Italy, experiment started in the year 2012 and now after the six years of hard work, the results have shown positive viewpoint.  

One hundred meters off the coast of Noli, Italy, scuba divers can find pods of 2,000-liter acrylic semi-spheres that resemble giant jellyfish standing at the bottom of the ocean. Anchored to the ocean floor by ropes, chains, and screws, the biospheres surround a half-ton metal tree that serves as a 12-foot-tall cable protector. But more surprising than all this is the fact that bright, fresh plants are inside, thriving 15-36 feet below the surface. 

Founded in 2012 by father and son duo Sergio and Luca Gamberini and run by scuba company Ocean Reef Group, Nemo’s Garden is an underwater farm that grows anything from basil to aloe vera. 

The pair, acutely aware of the limitations of Earth’s resources and human ability to squander them, sought an alternative solution for the precarious process of farming, which has become an increasingly difficult process as climate change intensifies. “The resources we use on land right now will not be there in the future,” says Luca in an earlier video. “They’re scarce, and they will run out.” 

According to an article on¸ underwater, many of the issues of traditional farming vanish while still providing plants with their core needs. Isolated from inclement weather like hail or the devastating effects of parasites, the sunlight each plant needs still reaches the biospheres. Eliminating potential for parasites also lets Nemo’s Garden remain pesticide-free. 

Unlike underground hydroponic systems and greenhouses, which rely on various heating and cooling systems and LED lights to regulate the temperature, submersion in seawater offers a stable temperature while avoiding exposure to extreme weather conditions on land. When it comes to sunlight, studies  have shown that a majority of plants – although not seaweed – are dependent on the red spectrum in light for physiological development; the red can filter out at depths of around five to 15m. To address this, the pods are submerged five to eight metres below the surface; they could potentially go deeper but more data is needed to work out the viability of this. 

Although the cultivation of Nemo’s Garden is yet to reach commercial scale, the aim of the project is to see whether it is a viable prospect and to plant more varieties of crops in the process, something that Gamberini believes is technically possible. Tests carried out by Ocean Reef Group suggest that crops underwater grow faster than their counterparts, according to the company. 

Ocean Reef Group has received interest from businesses and organizations, but has so far decided against selling the concept. Gamberini believes its place in the food system could be dynamic, from small producers to NGOs working on nutrition projects in developing countries. 

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