world’s first floating farm welcomes cows in rotterdam

minke van wingerden
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32 cows have have taken up residence in the world’s first floating farm in rotterdam (see previous coverage here), bringing urban dwellers as close as possible to the origin and preparation of their daily food.

the farm contributes to the circular city, recycling and upcycling biomass from the city into valuable dairy products, while its transparent design allows visitors to see what goes on in its facilities. inside, the milk is processed into healthy dairy products, the manure is separated and in future will be re-used as an organic and rich nutrient for the city’s plants, gardens and parks, while the milk, slurry and feeder robot are also on show.

within the floating farm, cows can enjoy a spacious barn with large stalls, a milk robot, a slurry robot, an automatic belt feeder, and a comfortable rubber floor, while they also have the option to take a walk in the neighboring field if they feel like it. wherever possible, the structure is self-sufficient and circular, with floating solar panels that provide for all energy needs, and a mechanism that captures rainwater on the roof and then purifies it.

most of the cattle food comes from the city, and includes brewers’ grains, bran, potato scrapings, and grass from playing fields and golf courses in the city. the cows process these ‘waste products’ into healthy dairy for local residents. upgrading waste products like grass into edible nutrients (proteins) is generally considered a very efficient condition for sustainable food production. the dairy products are for sale at floating farm and soon in lidl stores in and around rotterdam.

by shortening the transport of food production to consumers, the floating farm makes an important contribution to reducing food loss and transport-related pollution. potential future plans include a floating chicken farm and a floating greenhouse where vegetables and herbs can be produced, all aimed at producing fresh food in a transparent way close to the consumer.

world’s first floating farm welcomes cows in rotterdam