Nemo’s Garden is a farm in Savona, Italy. Under the Bay of Noli. Yes, underwater.
With transparent biospheres anchored to the bottom of the sea, strawberries, basil, beans, garlic and lettuce are being grown in Nemo’s Garden, in an initiative that could potentially redefine the idea of farming.
‘The main target of this project is to create alternative sources of plant production in areas where environmental conditions make it extremely difficult to grow crops through conventional farming, including lack of fresh water, fertile soils, and extreme temperature changes,’ said a spokesman for the project.
The plants are kept hydrated by drips of water condensing on the inner walls of the biospheres, and the near-constant temperature between day and night creates ideal growing conditions. The system does not harm or affect the seawater and surrounding environment in any way. The team describe Nemo’s Garden through three words – eco-friendly, self-sustainable and ecological.
The garden is powered by the Ocean Reef Group, and a Kickstarter Campaign conducted in 2015. Qualified divers are required to maintain and operate the pods. Luca Gamberini, whose family has been running the Ocean Reef Group for six decades, acknowledges this is a difficulty, but firmly believes underwater farming can be more than just a plaything for growing high-value, niche crops.
After the positive experiences collected in the period 2012-2016, Nemo’s Garden Project starts again in 2017 trying to improve the knowledge not only about engineering and underwater installation of structures dedicated to the growth of vegetables for human consumption and medical applications but also about the physical-chemical-biological processes occurring during the plants' development under the sea.
The cultivation of crops under Nemo’s Garden is yet to reach commercial scalability, but upon attaining it, the initiative holds immense potential in relieving pressure on farmable land. There is a massive chunk of the ocean that is not being utilized to its fullest potential yet, and this could be a major turning point for the developed world if paid due attention.