In Rotterdam, Holland, 32 dairy cows are living on Europe’s first floating farm as part of a pioneering project to improve sustainability. What’s more, they are fed and milked totally by machine!
The Floatingfarm project was devised by entrepreneurs Peter and Minke Van Wingerden in an effort to shorten the supply chain, therefore cutting down on the amount of pollution generated by vehicles used to transport dairy products. Locals can either pick up their milk from the floating farm itself or from one of the 23 grocery stores in the city where it is sold.
Having seen how difficult it was to get food into New York City following Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the couple began brainstorming ways that could reduce this problem and ensure quicker, easier delivery of agricultural goods to urban areas. The result - the world's first floating dairy farm.
The floating farm is aiming for total self-efficiency and is mostly being powered by solar energy. Water is also collected using a system in the roof that purifies rainwater to make it safe for the cows to consume. The cows are fed using waste products from the city, like leftover potato peels, grass clippings and beer broth, whilst their manure is collected by robots and sent for use in public parks.
Animal welfare is central to the project, as there is evidence to suggest that cows can suffer from lack of space and hard floors. To combat this, each cow has their own stall and has access to a nearby field on land, whilst rubber flooring is used to create softer ground underfoot.
Upcoming plans involve a floating chicken farm, yoghurt production and a floating greenhouse should the project continue to prove successful.