Dietmar Koering of Arphenotype’s utopian visions for the future of farming are both beautiful and completely self sufficient. His synergetic design is a floating permaculture, comprised of many green systems including wind power. Made possible by a grant from the Bakema Foundation and partnering with the Netherlands Architecture Institute and A10, Koering’s system is radical, futuristic, and would float about the North Sea.
Floating Permaculture offers a solution to the inevitable depletion of fossil fuels and its effect on food. “Normal” farming as we know it puts a strain on fossil fuels, as produce is often trucked hundreds of miles to consumers, which contributes to traffic, air pollution and carbon emissions. Koering feels that recent alternative methods, like rooftop farming, will still not be enough to sustain the population, as not every roof can support a farm or produce enough food.
The idea of a permaculture loop originates from the Aztecs, who sought to create self-sufficient farm systems. The multilayered floating farms draw energy from alternative resources, outfitted with solar receivers, wind turbines and wave turbines. Wastewater and rain water are filtered naturally, through either an algae farm and subsequent reactor, or through a filter system using zebra mussels, and then re-circulated to nourish the organic produce. The zebra mussels also provide nourishment for fish and chickens which are raised on the mass. The excrement from the fish and other animals is used to fertilize the rice paddies, which in turn feed the chickens – as does the excess algae from the water purification system. Each feeds the next.
One problem of this idealistic system is that the current technology that harvests wind and sun energy cannot maintain or store enough energy to sustain the permacultures. A hydrogen-fuel cell can help generate the necessary energy, which can then be stored in a hydro-electric power-plant.
This fantastical floating utopia may seem like a science fiction movie from the 1960s now, but could be a viable option in the future if our natural resources do in fact run out. Complex self-sufficient and looped systems may be the answer to food production if traditional farming is no longer an option.