27 January, 2011

Green: Jeddah's self sustaining farm and Jordan's Sahara Project

In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a farm that uses no sunlight, has no greenhouse effect and uses only water from humidity, has been set up. And in Jordan: a project has began with an incredible sustainable solution to resource scarcity that would turn the Sahara Desert into a source for food, water, and energy. Very hopefully, such kind of sustainable ideas will be replicated in many other parts of this arid, water scarce region.

The Jeddah project organizers believe they will succeed:
"Our goal is to grow indoors without the use of a greenhouse or sunlight, and to provide 100 percent of our own water by collecting humidity from the air. This is step one. We then want to use solar and wind power to make our farms fully self sustaining. In our opinion the Aerofarms technology represents the best way to accomplish step one of our goals. By the end of 2011 we hope to be growing several varieties of fruits and vegetables at the farm in Jeddah, including, leafy greens, tomatoes, strawberries, and peppers all without soil or sunlight." says the President of one of the companies managing the project. Read more here.
Aerofarms the company with the brilliant idea, states: Today’s current food system is unsustainable economically, environmentally and socially. The world’s rural and centralized food production uses a vast amount of resources—land, water, transportation— which will become increasingly scarce and expensive as world populations grow and continue to urbanize. At the same time these resources diminish, demand for local safe and fresh food will increase, and current food production levels will be required to double by 2050 to support the world’s population. Centralized food production creates enormous risk and reduces food security in much of the world. One crop loss, crop contamination, or transportation interruption can lead to empty shelves or recalls across countries. Farmers continue to face challenges across seasonality, weather, pests and disease. Despite these challenges, the industry continues to employ rural, soil-based farming methods. Urban agricultural is the solution.

While in Jordan, another big, eco-friendly project is taking off: A land use deal inked today in Jordan sets the scene for the unfolding of a daring project that may just yet turn Sahara into a green oasis. Bellona’s president Frederic Hauge, who has travelled to Jordan to take part in the signing, called the agreement “a giant step forward in our efforts to realise the Sahara Forest Project."

With food prices rising fast and water resources being depleted just as fast, if the projects in Jeddah and Jordan succeed, the world will be a much better place to live in. More so, in this dry, water scarce region.

+ More on the Jeddah Farm: Go-Green, Saudi Gazette, Green Design HQ

+ More on the Sahara Project: The Sahara Forest Project, Inhabitat, Tree Hugger, EcoFriend