Rotterdam is now a pilot city for the world’s first ever floating farm, built by property company Beladon.
The offshore farm has been built in the centre of Merwehaven harbour and will be facilitated by 40 Meuse-Rhine-Issel cows which will be milked automatically by robots.
The cows will live in a garden-like environment to ensure the highest standards of animal welfare. It is projected to make around 800 litres of milk per day and is set to open by the end of 2018.
Despite built-up urban areas, such as Merwehaven harbour, not appearing as the most appropriate places to build and run a farm, the reduction of travel from production to consumer will result in less transport pollution.
The world’s population is also growing: 55 per cent of people live in cities, with this figure expected to rise to 68 per cent by 2050, demonstrating the need for vertical structures to support cities.
Beladon is known for their floating buildings, designed to connect people to the environment without affecting the landscape around them.
Peter Van Wingerdam, an engineer at Beladon who created the idea for the farm, said: “With increasing demand for healthy food, fast-growing urbanisation and climate change, we can’t rely on the food production systems of the past anymore.”
Minke Van Wingerdam, Peter’s wife and business partner, said that the floating farm is “easily scalable,” with larger operations promising “obvious efficiencies.”
The farm will contribute to a circular food program and the use of space, water, transport, nutrients and energy will be kept as low as possible. It will also aim to reuse and recycle to ensure the sustainability of the farm.