While floating farms are already an indication of how agriculture might look like in the future, underwater farms are just getting started. With that said, their prospects to increase food security across the world look promising. Just recently, the world’s first underwater farm started producing fruit and vegetables after a long break.
Dubbed Nemo’s Garden, the underwater farm has begun once again yielding produce after a yearlong pandemic pause. It consists of six mini underwater greenhouses off the coast of Noli, Italy. The farm uses solar energy and desalinated seawater to produce various herbs, lettuce, and strawberries, eight meters under the water surface.
“If we continue to exploit and reduce our forest stocks and our green lungs, the climate change process will accelerate, leading to the rise of sea levels,” says Gianni Fontanesi, project coordinator at Nemo’s Garden. “But now we can look at our oceans as a resource to be protected in a sustainable way that we can explore at the same time as an alternative to traditional farming.”
The sea naturally provides ideal temperatures for plant growth, but there’s more to growing plants underwater. According to Fontanesi, in addition to yielding crops that are stronger in flavor, the underwater environment provides the plants with protection. “It’s a lab and nothing can reach the plant unless it’s being brought in from outside,” he says.
For now, Nemo’s Garden is mainly an underwater research lab, but it is expected to increase food security in coastal areas in the future.