Take a look at some frequently asked questions
Is it not bad for animal welfare?
The Floating Farm is designed with animal welfare as its primary goal. Our ‘Cow garden’ on the Floating Farm is a large improvement in comparison to the regular stables on the mainland. Particularly the cow garden, the space per m2, robustness, comfort and cleanliness of the floor and the general provision of vegetation. Naturally, together with our engineers, we next investigated the stability of the building. ‘The building must be equally solid as a pasture or regular stable on the mainland.’ The Netherlands has an excellent reputation in waterway construction, ship building and civil engineering. Together with our partners, and taking into account weather conditions like maximum wind, chop and the movement of the cows, we have designed an extremely stable platform. The maximum swing of the platform is no more than a few millimetres in situations that will barely occur. Even in extreme weather conditions, the cows will not feel any instability on the platform. Seasickness will therefore not be in question.
Don’t the animals get seasick?
Transport of livestock is very common both globally and in The Netherlands. For instance, Australia transports between 600,000 and 800,00 cows by ship to destinations all over the world annually. The cows then usually spend weeks at sea. Also on land large numbers of cattle are being transported in trucks on a daily basis. All these transport flows are heavily controlled through international regulations.
Don’t cows belong in a pasture?
Definitely. However, cows also spend a lot of time elsewhere. In fact, cows mostly spend their time outside of a pasture. For instance in winter or autumn, or when the sun shines bright. These conditions make cows uncomfortable. Moreover, a cow needs to be milked twice a day, for which it needs to be in the stable. The dairy industry rewards farmers with a bonus who let their cows graze outside for 6 hours a day during 120 days a year.
The Floating Farm cows also graze in a pasture. They have access to a pasture approximately 8 months per year. We leave grazing in the pasture completely to the cows’ discretion, so they can choose what is most comfortable to them. If the sun is too bright, or when it rains, cows too prefer indoors over outdoors.
During the first two years of their lives, all of the Floating Farm livestock grazes in the polder of Middle Delfland on the natural grasslands protected by the Society of Nature Preservation (NatuurMonumenten) for 8 month per year (dependent on the weather). This counts for both female and bull-calves.
Agriculture should be organic, right?
Floating Farm is going to produce quality dairy in a completely animal-friendly way with a minimal eco-footprint. However, we will not be awarded the distinction of “organic”, because the Floating Farm deviates too much from the established regulations set forth by the supervisor of organic agriculture Skal.
Why on the water (Global scale)?
There are several reasons for this:
- We see a continuously growing world population. The expectation is that in 2050 the population will have increased with 2 to 3 billion people. A large portion of the world population today is already deprived of healthy food.
- The available fertile arable land does not grow proportionally with the world population. In fact: fertile land is becoming increasingly scarce. This is caused by the excessive expansion of urban construction into fertile deltas and climate change (salinisation), but also due to deforestation (erosion) and soil exhaustion (desertification).
- 70% of the people will live in the big city. This is called urbanisation. In fact, the expectation is that in Europe this will be 90%. Therefore, cities will grow. The biggest cities are predominantly located in deltas, where the soil is naturally fertile. With the growth of the cities more and more fertile soil is replaced by concrete and the transport chain from agricultural areas to the city centre will continuously increase in length. The logistics chain, and thus the pollution within cities, will also continue to increase significantly.
- Climate change causes an intensification of precipitation and flooding of cities and arable land. Therefore, we will have to investigate a climate-adaptive system to continue to provide food for the city. Building on water is one of the solutions that has attracted a large global interest.
Why on the water (Local/Dutch scale)?
- We have to be frugal with our green nature. Perhaps we can use our soil more efficiently.
- The Netherlands is a densely populated and small country. Here too we see that the distance between the urban citizen and the countryside is significant, and consequently the knowledge about healthy food and food production.
- In order to engage the consumer in food production, space in the city is required. In the city, the required space is unavailable on land. However, there is space on the water, and therefore water provides not only the physical space, but also space for innovation and creating new combinations.
- The distribution and logistics of food from countryside to urbanite is a chain of many links; from farmer to factory, from factory to distribution centres, from distribution centres to shops and finally to the consumers. 1 in every 3 trucks in The Netherlands is transporting food-related commodities. By producing food in the city, this logistics chain can be shortened.
- The Netherlands too has to deal with climate change, and has deployed a strategy of climate-adaptive construction. Floating and stable construction are good examples hereof.
Why in the city?
Besides urbanisation the global population growth will predominantly occur in cities. Globally, 70% of the population will be urbanised, and in Europe even 90%. The city is therefore where the consumers live, and where the biggest demand for daily fresh and healthy food is.
To make urbanites more aware of healthy food, we want to bring the food production close to the consumer. We aim to make healthy food appealing in a transparent and educative way.
The city farm has been designed in an iconic way. It shows that food production is a clean and high-tech profession. Animal friendly, with the use of robots and the latest technology.
Why in the Merwehaven in Rotterdam?
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