Technology of The City 2.0: Symbiotic farming
Urban farmer Roman Gaus was once a force in some of the world’s leading corporations. Now CEO of a farming collective in Zurich, Switzerland, Urban Farmers, Roman and his colleagues install pop-up farms in unexpected places all over the city, including home rooftops.
In his talk at TEDxZurich, Roman explains their methods: a farming technique called aquaponics and farms in recycled corrugated containers. Aquaponics relies on a symbiotic relationship between plants and fish — fish provide nutrients for plants while the plants filter water for fish.
In this way, Roman grows his dinners: protein and produce. Above, examples of Urban Farmers’s farms. Below, from his talk:
“…In the city of Basel [Switzerland], there is 2 million square meters of idle rooftop space, and using just 5% of that would yield harvests for 40,000 people.
…We started by building miniature farms—small urban farms; we’re using recycled corrugated containers and greenhouses—so on top you would have the vegetables [and] inside the corrugated container you have the fish. And really what we wanted to do here is prove the point that this is about self-sufficiency. A family of three can basically live on vegetable and protein consumption [from] a box like this. So, you know, small communities, schools, restaurants, groups of people can go get together and grow their own food.
[With aquaponics] you use about 90% less water than conventional agriculture, have everything in closed loops so it’s very resource efficient, and we lose—literally—little waste.
…We’ll be 9 billion people pretty soon. And.. 70% of us—the majority of us—will live in cities. So it could make a lot of sense growing food where people are going to live: in the city.”
(Photos: Top row: Adi’s Agro-Blog; Middle: Conceptual Devices; Bottom: Ekobydleni.eu)
TEDxCity2.0 day is October 13. For more City 2.0 technology and innovation, check out our City 2.0 TEDxTalks playlist.