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Farming

This topic contains 4 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Theo Everley Theo Everley 1 year, 3 months ago.

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  • #21577
    Profile photo of Scott
    Scott
    Participant

    Ok…. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, so I thought I would post my latest thought and see what you guys think…..

     

    Goal: To build an ultra-low cost platform capable of being “farmed” for crops and/or livestock.

    Reason: The only way seasteading is ever going to take off is if there is money to be made and/or the “islands” are self-sufficent. This would be an attempt at both…

    Uses: Outside of the obvious “to feed the seastead” answer, imagine this – the world has a major hunger problem (ironic considering most industrial countries (including the US) pay farmers to farm less in order to keep prices high) – also how much money could be made growing crops and raising livestock out at sea, and selling it at a fraction of the cost?

     

    Thoughts: The potential of something like this is exactly what the seasteading community needs. It would be a source of revenue, contribute to self-sufficiency, and if successful would garner a lot of positive (and some negative) attention to the “cause.”

    There are a number of problems I have thought of however:

    Crops:

    Weight: Crops need soil (unless you grow them hydroponically which is inefficient when you have limited space to work with) to grow in – For most crops at least a few feet of soil would need to be on top of the structure in order for roots to be able to grow.

    Water: An ironic need of all sea-based endeavors is the need for fresh water. Unless the island was located somewhere with ample rainfall, water for the crops would have to be boated in.

    Drainage: After the crops have been watered, where does the excess water go?

    Livestock:  For the purpose of this article I am going to refer only to Chickens as these are small, and relatively (compared to say cows) simple to care for.

    Feed and water: similar to the “water” section above for crops, this would need to be boated in.

    Waste: simple to resolve – simply dump it in the ocean (no pun intended).

    Manpower: Unlike crops, you couldn’t simply plant a chicken and let it grow for a few months – someone needs to feed them regularly- this means that until long-term habitation is possible and affordable (~$5-10k USD) the platforms would have to be near to land.

     

    #21580
    Profile photo of spark
    spark
    Participant

    Hi Scott;

    Thank you for the post.

    I think, cooperation is important.  There has to be others to cooperate.

    I think, the more people post is the better.

    The ultra low cost platform, in my opinion, is the way to.  However, this ultra low cost platform has to be made.

    The platform has to be launched, placed in position, and maintained.  I would think about an ultra low maintenance

    platform.

    In my case, the food production is easier because I am a vegetarian.  It is my direct experience that I can live without

    eating any meat.  For me meat production is not necessary.  I still eat egg, but I would like to quit.

    If I may mention ducks instead of chickens.

    Instead of soil or hydroponics ;  aeroponics, and instead of transporting fresh water to produce it at location.

    I would like to mention that there are some distilled water making devices: one just has a cooling element.

    On this cooling element water precipitates from the air when the humidity is high. The cooling element is a

    Peltier device that can be powered with a photovoltaic solar panel.  A Peltier device is often used in a computer

    to cool the CPU.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    #21776
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    I am all for a seastead farming plants and animals. Given enough time, i think using the roof area pays off for farming, if you make electricity other ways, and can keep the salt spray off the crops. To that end, i planted some veggies in 5 gallon buckets last year, and kept an eye and memory on the water use. The bigger the plant, the more the water it needed, a mature tomato plant needed at least a gallon per day, and i have read of as much as 5 gallons every other day. I suspect corn needs even more. Your distillation or RO water maker needs to make this, and it will eat energy doing so, and in the salt environment it will need periodic replacement of parts. If you plant in dirt, instead of aeroponics (spray water on roots, no dirt), you need bouyancy to hold the garden up, at a rate of at ~100 lbs per plant, not counting the weight of accumulated fresh water storage tanks. Have you run the numbers on the garden you’d like to have on your seastead? Have you considered the area needed for the garden, and compared to the drain field size of a conventional septic system? I’d love to have that data in chart or CSV/TSV form!

    #21816
    Profile photo of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    I have serious doubts that you’ll be able to grow anything topsides.  The salt air and spray is going to cause all manner of problems, plus it’s a very inefficient use of space.  Aeroponics is going to be the only way to grow sufficient amounts of food plants for a decent-sized seastead community.

     

    There are newer vertical aeroponic systems that can grow over a hundred medium-sized plants in a 4’x4′ area.  Grow rates are enormous when you are controlling the lighting and nutrient flow.  Water use is a tiny fraction of what you use in conventional farming.  5 gallons every other day!  Try 5 gallons and that’s it…forever recycled for over 100 plants!

     

    Leave the roof for ornamental stuff and grow your food in highly-controlled closed environments belowdecks.

    #22253
    Profile photo of Theo Everley
    Theo Everley
    Participant

    What about permaculture?  Mixing field beans in with barley can yield 85% more than a barley monoculture.  And small-scale farming can actually return more food per hectare.  I am unsure as to whether permaculture and aero/hydroponics are compatible.

    If the farming was done organically, any waste-water would be harmless to the environment and humans and could be either dumped or recycled.

    I don’t think livestock farming would be either feasible or necessary — at least initially.

    Water need not be imported — many ships have desalination plants, making the seawater drinkable.  The simplest and most environmentally friendly would probably be something like a solar still.

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