[NOMADE DES MERS] Hydroponics at the farm in the clouds

Carnet de bord

Publication date: February 26, 2019
Authors: Corentin De Chatelperron
Location: Singapore

This stopover was also the occasion to visit Edible Gardens, where (another) Darren, uses an even more efficient hydroponics system. In containers, he grows vegetables in artificial light and atmosphere. A method that obviously consumes more energy and is less environmentally friendly, but which makes it possible to meet the demands of consumers who want to find the same products all year round.... That's why Darren also organizes workshops to discover Singapore's traditional edible plants to encourage city dwellers to consume more locally and in season !

Hydroponics, aquaponics … and cricketpony ? #

Singapore, 5 million inhabitants and only 2% of its land available for agriculture. As a result, 90% of the food is imported… we have seen better vegetables! This is the problem that the company Comcrop decided to tackle with its skyscraper farm.

We meet Darren on the roof of a building in the heart of downtown, in the middle of a jungle of mint and basil! It is here, on the top floor, that he presents us his aquaponics system. An ingenious ecosystem that combines plants and fish in a virtuous circle. The water of the aquarium is loaded with fish excrement, passes through a biofilter where bacteria transform it into nutrients before being sent to thousands of plants. As they feed, they clean the water, which is returned clean to the fish and it’s back to the drawing board! Even better, this system saves up to 10 times the amount of water needed to grow plants, without pesticides, without soil and in the middle of the city. Its closest customers are located 2 floors below. It’s hard to be more locavore !

In reality, controlling the chemical balance of this system can sometimes be tricky. That’s why Darren also uses conventional fertilizers as a supplement. Together, we have developed a new system for Nomade des Mers: the “cricketpony”. The droppings of our crickets will now be used to grow vegetables on board !

On board of Nomade des Mers, the plants that feed the crew grow in hydroponics. And from now on, it is the droppings of out crickets that will serve as nutrients for the plants !

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