Floating Farm in Rotterdam: cows on sea-borne platforms will produce milk and cheese

Apr 30 2017, 07:00 | by Francesca Fiore

A floating farm for cows to produce clean energy. It happens in Rotterdam, where there will soon be created a new farm in the harbour area of Merwe-Vierhavens. So that the inhabitants of the city will access to a healthier and more natural diet.

For a country like Holland, which has been fighting the sea for centuries to claim land surface, finding ways to exploit water is essential. The next project is the creation of a floating, 100% green platform that will support a herd of cows. Floating Farm is the result of collaboration among three companies: Courage, the innovation institute of the Dutch Agriculture and Dairy sector, Uit Je Eigen Stad, (‘from your own town’) the national frontrunner for city farming, and Beladon, the leading Dutch company for floating structures. The fund for development of Rotterdam harbor, SOFIE, is backing the venture with 2.5 million euros.

The Dutch are creating a dairy on a 1,200 square meter harbor platform to produce milk, yogurt, butter and cheese, a revolutionary approach to kilometer-zero food. The platform will be stable, providing an environment for the cows as similar as possible to their natural habitat. Materials used will protect the animals’ health, in particular their hooves and joints, considered the most fragile aspects of their bodies. The cows themselves will choose whether to remain in their stalls or move to green areas, where they will find trees, bushes, flowers and a water supply as well as sheltered spaces to protect them from rain and sun. The Floating Farm will be completely self-sufficient and sustainable, with energy produced by well-integrated solar panels and wind turbines. Animal urine will be collected, purified and used to irrigate grasses grown for fodder on a lower level of the farm. The cow manure will fertilize the field and be available for farms in the area. Energy surplus will go to buildings near the port. Two more platforms are planned for other Dutch harbors, one for chicken farming and one for vegetable production.

by Francesca Fiore

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