First Commercial Farm Without Soil Or Fresh Water

It's Monday - let's get geeky on indoor farming!

Sundrop Farms in the South Australian desert has become the first farm to produce crops without fresh water, soil, or unnecessary energy from the grid.

That's right - it's a farm - in the desert - that doesn't use any soil - or fresh water.

The farm opened it's 20-hectare commercial site in Port Augusta in 2014 trying to tackle the general challenge of reducing the amount of energy and fresh water needed to make profitable produce.

The plant draws seawater from the Spencer Gulf - just a bit more than a mile away from the farm.

The seawater is then desalinated on site using 23,000 mirrors that make up a concentrated solar farm - which powers a desalination unit that "scrubs" the salt out of the water - leaving fresh water that can be used by the plants.

To replace soil - the roots of the vegetables are grown in coconut husks - and seawater soaked pieces of cardboard are used at the base of the plants to cool them off - since the desert heat can get up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit!

Right now the farm is still connected to the grid as a safety net - but the closed production system is growing 180,000 tomato plants at a more predictable cost than traditional farming - and it can put out nearly 19,000 tons of tomatoes every year - year around.

As climate change starts creating real resource pressures like water shortages, drought, and famine - humans need to get much better at farming sustainably without needlessly using fresh water - fertilizers, and pesticides.

This isn't just a great development that will help us approach food security for the millions of hungry people in the world - this is a necessary development as the Earth's climate changes and conventional agriculture struggles.


cccccttttt 6 years 31 weeks ago

Some 10,000 years ago humans slowly transitioned from gathering food plants to growing them.

These new Aeroponic farms initially developed by NASA are of the same historical impact!

While not a solution to over population, they will allow humans the freedom to live under the harshest conditions anywhere on or off the planet.


wondering2 6 years 31 weeks ago

Can anyone tell me the specifics or references of the first story Thom spoke about today concerning privatizing social security and the states that don't have it and thus force people into 403b's (?) that skim billions off the top? I was driving distracted and missed the details... Thanks!

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 6 years 31 weeks ago

wonering2 - rest assured we are getting screwed... very sadly!

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 6 years 31 weeks ago

All them folk in the mericas can't think like them in Oz... whoooo!

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 6 years 31 weeks ago

Sadly america buys its inovation

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 31 weeks ago

wondering 2: Thom was talking about public school teachers who are forced to opt out of the payroll deduction for Social Security, and instead are forced into the "tender mercies" of the wall street banksters.

My unrelated question is: How does Chuck Todd get away with spending half a show with Republicans beating up on Hillary about her one time support for the TPP? How could the hypocrisy of the republicans he was interviewing not occur to him? Why didn't he state...wait a minute, your party as a whole is in favor of the TPP, Hillary and the Dems as a whole are not? Lets keep the voters confused Chuck....way to go man!

ron1938's picture
ron1938 6 years 31 weeks ago

Love it. Very impressive. Revealing.

Arrgy's picture
Arrgy 6 years 31 weeks ago

My concern is, what about microbs and minerals? Aren't we still talking about malnutrition with all you can eat?

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