Astonishing Agriculture

Food Grows Without Soil or Groundwater

Roman Stetsyk/

Proponents of GMO (genetically modified) food may argue that the technique is necessary because the world is running out of resources. However, agricultural startup Sundrop Farms, with offices in the UK and Australia, has developed high-tech greenhouse facilities that apply solutions to grow crops with less reliance on finite natural resources than conventional greenhouse production.

In 2010, Sundrop Farms opened a pilot facility in Port Augusta, South Australia, that is combining seawater and sunlight to grow food in the middle of the desert, unaffected by climate change, biotech land grabs, drought, floods and pestilence. They are using coconut husks, 23,000 mirrors to reflect solar power and desalinated seawater on a hydroponic farm of just under 50 acres to grow 17,000 metric tons of non-GMO food every year.

Built at a reported cost of $200 million, the facility has a year-round growing season. In winter, its greenhouse operates with the help of 39 megawatts of clean energy from solar power. Coles Supermarkets has signed a 10-year contract for the exclusive right to sell the company’s produce.

This article appears in the July 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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