“Nemo’s Garden” Initiative Is Making Underwater Farming Possible

This underwater farming initiative is proving that crops can be grown underwater with low-cost and low-energy.

Credit: Nemo's Garden

Credit: Nemo’s Garden

Sergio and Luca Gamberini started Nemo’s Garden, an initiative aimed at studying the ins and outs of underwater farming that has proven successful and has yielded basil, lettuce, and strawberries.

Nemo’s Garden, born from the men’s love for and vested interest in scuba diving, began four years ago when Sergio?was diving off the coast of Noli, Italy on vacation. As the president of Ocean Reef Group, a family-run group founded 60 years ago that focuses its business on scuba gear production, Sergio was prone to being a hard-worker and developing wild ideas involving scuba diving.

Credit: Nemo's Garden

Credit: Nemo’s Garden

After making a few phone calls to see if his idea of growing crops underwater was even feasible, Sergio then set out with Luca and his team at Ocean Reef Group to develop and release small, transparent balloons into the shallow ocean waters.

The balloons are then anchored by the farmers, filled with air, and supplied with vases containing plant seeds. The ocean and the sun do the rest of the work.

Gamberini’s idea was that the large body of water could actually provide everything the plants need to thrive without any of the damaging effects that terrestrial farming has on the environment.

The plants aren’t put it into the ground where soil is overworked and water is wasted in keeping them alive; instead, they are in vases underwater where the red spectrum of the sun’s rays provide light/food, the evaporated seawater waters the crops, and the balloons are naturally temperature-controlled. The result is an underwater greenhouse.

Credit: Nemo's Garden

Credit: Nemo’s Garden

Nemo’s Garden now consists of seven pods and they have successfully grown several crops, starting with basil. Their project had a table at the World Expo 2015, held in Milan, which had the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” and displayed innovative ideas from 145 countries.

This idea joins the ranks with others that are attempting to find alternative, earth-friendly ways to produce crops, such as underground farming and indoor farming with hydroponic watering systems.

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