Holy Cow! The World’s First Floating Urban Dairy Farm

August 9, 2016 by

Floating Urban Dairy Farm

The Netherlands is reinventing urban dairy farming. By January 2017, the port city Rotterdam will be home to the world’s first Floating Dairy Farm

Floating Urban Dairy Farm

With the rapidly rising world population and land scarcity in mind, the Dutch companies behind the floating farm concept aim to address the challenges of the future–the ever-increasing demand for food as well as concerns about traditional farming methods.

Floating Urban Dairy Farm

Connecting People to Social and Physical Environments
The farm project is a collaboration between Courage, the Institute of the Dutch Agriculture, Uit Je Eigen Stad, the national urban farming organization, and Beladon, the Dutch company whose vision is “to design and construct iconic, sustainable floating buildings that connect people to their social and physical environments.”

In addition to sustainable self-sufficient dairy production, one of the floating farm’s primary objectives in locating the floating farm near the city will be to create awareness and reconnect the city’s residents with their food sources.

Floating Urban Dairy Farm

260 Gallons of Milk Daily
Along with several other fresh dairy products, 40 cows will produce 260 gallons of milk a day for local distribution.

Floating Urban Dairy Farm

More Efficient Grazing
With a series of ramps offering the cows plenty of room to graze, the transparent, floating structure will reduce the amount of space normally required to rear cattle by up to 50 percent as compared to traditional land herding

Floating Urban Dairy Farm

A Living Laboratory
The sustainable project will be a truly living laboratory. Its closed-loop system will minimize CO2 output by reducing the distance from the source to consumers. (The average carrot travels over one thousand miles to your plate.)

Reduced Energy Consumption and CO2 Emissions
To power it, the farm will utilize solar and wind energy from rooftop windmills and solar panel, while artificial trees with real ivy will provide shade for the cows and reduce energy consumption by cooling the space.

Floating Urban Dairy Farm

Efficient Waste Systems
The sustainable system will employ an efficient system for collecting and treating waste. To reduce ammonia emissions, a special membrane floor will soak up the cow urine which will drain it into an air-tight storage facility in which it will be contained.

Floating Urban Dairy Farm

Cow manure will either be used or distributed to local city farms for use as fertilizer while the water from cows’ urine will be purified then used to irrigate grass, clover, and alfalfa that will grow on the ground floor.

Floating Urban Dairy Farm

Farmers will offer guided tours of the entire milk handling process to educate visitors about animal welfare.

“In the Netherlands, fresh food is available and we don’t have very large cities, but we have a lot of agricultural and maritime expertise,”says Johan Bosman, cofounder of Uit Je Eigen Stad farm, market, and restaurant. “We are combining these sectors to try to make an innovative circular farm to produce fresh dairy products, and by doing so make the city more resilient.”

floating-farm-illustration-urbangardensweb

The Netherlands is not the first country to experiment with floating farms. Beginning August 16, 2106, a floating urban food project will dock at various ports throughout New York City for a year. Funded by the New York Foundation for the Arts, Swale is a blend of of public art and public service that will function as both a sculpture and a tool while providing free healthy food. Like the Dutch floating dairy farm, Swale is a collaborative project dedicated to rethinking and challenging New York City’s connection to the environment.

Uit Je Eigen Stad already has future projects in the works: they’re designing a floating farm for egg-laying chickens and as well as a floating greenhouse.

Photos via Beladon and The Guardian.

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