I recently met with Peter Van Wingerden, the CEO of Beladon, an innovative architecture firm that just so happens to be in the process of creating the first floating cow farm in the port of Rotterdam.
Yes, you read that right. Beladon is creating a floating cow farm. That is a thing now. The future is here. We can construct floating structures that don't impact aquatic life below while allowing us to capitalize on one of our largest resources: water.
So, coming soon to a port in Rotterdam, cows will be floating on the water in a cute, little pasture and we will be harvesting milk from them and selling it as dairy products to all of Rotterdam.
But, that cute, little pasture is not so cute and little. The project is massive, and an innovative step in not only the future of farming, but also sustainability.
Not only are there going be floating cows, but the entire system that holds the cows is nearly 100 percent sustainable and green.
In other words, the entire project is nearly energy free. The net energy use is zero. Does farming get any better?
But, let me break this down for you a little more, because the beauty is in the details. And I kid you not, while Peter was discussing this with me, I got chills.
Basically everything is used. The entire system is cyclical and environmentally friendly. The cow's urine is soaked through a porous grassland, where it is then transported into an airtight facility in the bottom of the floating structure. The urine is then transformed into fertilizer.
The solid manure remains above the porous pasture. And, I kid you not, drones go around and pick up the manure so that it can later be used for fertilization and other green processes in the neighboring floating farm for plants.
So yeah, Beladon has thought this through. The plants will be grown and harvested. Some will be sold; others will be used as feed for the cows. The cows will eat the feed and then go to the bathroom.
They also will produce milk and dairy products to be sold to Rotterdam at competitive prices. The cows' manure and urine will then be used to fertilize their pasture and the plants in the other floating structure. And did I mention there are solar panels?
There are solar panels.
And the best part of all is that Beladon is working on figuring out methods to use the actual farts of these cows in order to capture the methane and produce more energy and green impact.
Another option they are considering is conducting research on the possibilities of seaweed feed, which ends up producing zero methane when the cows need to let a big one rip.
And if you don't think that this floating farm is already one of the most amazing, futuristic projects happening right now, let me tell you about the freedom of women's rights in this beautiful little floating oasis. Yes, these cows will get to exercise more rights than some of us.
Because the female cows get to decide when they want to be milked by a - wait for it - milking robot. They also have the freedom of choice in regards to when they want to eat, sleep, sit in the shade, walk around, start a soccer league, etc.
What really got me was that Beladon is working extremely closely with the Chinese government to help them produce more food for their citizens, create green jobs and increase the nation's greenness and environmentally friendly networks. That's a lot more than we are doing in the U.S.
But, arguably, the most inspiring aspect of this whole floating cow farm is that Beladon is valuing the importance of green and sustainable education. The entire facility is open to the public, with multilayered spaces showing students and children the intricacies of the green project.
Young people and the future generation of innovators will be given access tours and educational opportunities to learn more about floating farm technology.
Yep, so this is the future. It is here, and it is amazing.
Oh and did I tell you that Beladon worked with scientists to ensure that the cows don't get seasick because the Dutch government was worried? That happened.
And don't worry, Beladon did the tests.
The cows will be fine.