This Floating Farm Concept in Barcelona Could Be the Future of Food

Source: Forward Thinking Architecture

If a Spanish design firm had its way, all of our food would come from colossal floating farm barges.

Forward Thinking Architecture, a Barcelona-based group focused on sustainable design, imagines large, three-story farms that float through the ocean powered by solar panels. The Smart Floating Farms would house massive hydroponic farms and, beneath them, fish farms, making each barge a nearly self-sustaining, veritable grocery list of items for a clean, healthy diet.

According to Smithsonian.com, the designers want each barge to be 656 by 1,150 feet (for reference, the Chrysler Building is 1,049 feet tall), totaling 2.2 million square feet across all of its levels — and that could be increased, since the barges would be able to fit together to create gigantic farms depending on available space. Given that it's the ocean, space probably won't be a problem.

Aside from the area being used for actual growing of plants (automated hydroponics) and hatching of fish, there would be water-access points and a desalination plant (to convert ocean water to fresh water and then use it for farming), a slaughterhouse for the fish and an area to package products for sale. Solar panels, wind turbines and wave energy converters could turn environmental forces into usable electricity. 

It could potentially yield 8.1 tons of fruits and vegetables and 1.7 tons of fish annually.

Kind of like the fictional, fully automated factories of Silicon Valley's Hooli company, the factory would be almost completely automatic, using sensor systems to record data and fine-tune the farms to run as efficiently as possible. The difference is that this one could potentially yield 8.1 tons of fruits and vegetables and 1.7 tons of fish annually.

Right now it's an extremely ambitious concept, relegated mostly to dreams and mock-up designs. But it poses an important proposition: We could feed ourselves with minimal constant expense if we just use inexhaustible resources like the sun and the ocean.

It's an optimistic new player in a growing group of people and companies trying to keep our planet from running out of food, and another company with plans to harness the planet's oceans for power.

Again, it's extremely optimistic, and takes a lot of moving parts. But if it takes off, this could be an incredible way to keep farming and food demands from encroaching on land, potentially feeding billions of people in one of the most innovative ways possible.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Max Plenke

Max Plenke is a staff writer at Mic, where he covers breaking news, climate science, health and the future. His work has appeared in Esquire, GQ and Wallpaper. Send story tips to max@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Watchdog groups sue Trump for deleting tweets, allegedly violating Presidential Records Act

Trump's deleted tweets may come back to haunt him.

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.

'Pizzagate' shooter gets 4-year prison sentence, lawyers urged judge to deter vigilantism

Welch stormed a Washington, D.C., pizza place and shot off a firearm because of the internet.

Watchdog groups sue Trump for deleting tweets, allegedly violating Presidential Records Act

Trump's deleted tweets may come back to haunt him.

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.

'Pizzagate' shooter gets 4-year prison sentence, lawyers urged judge to deter vigilantism

Welch stormed a Washington, D.C., pizza place and shot off a firearm because of the internet.