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New York City - Garden innovation on barges and rooftops
Who ever imagined that the Hudson River or the rooftops of New York City would become 'backyard gardens'?
A floating hydroponic garden that uses no pesticides or net carbon emissions, and with recirculated water--is now floating on the Hudson River.
Powered by a combination of solar energy from photovoltaic panels, five wind turbines and a generator that runs on biodiesel and waste vegetable oil (commonly known as "french fry grease"), the Science Barge generates zero carbon dioxide emissions.
An on-board greenhouse uses hydroponic technologies to grow vegetables using a quarter of the water that traditional agriculture would. Inside the greenhouse, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, herbs and lettuce are germinated in "rock wool" made from basaltic rock spun into cotton candy-like fibers. They're grown using recirculated water, and a mix of coconut husks and rice hulls--waste products that otherwise would be sent to landfills--in lieu of soil.
New York Sun Works studies indicate that there is enough rooftop space in the five boroughs to grow fresh vegetables for the entire city of New York. It's a bold assertion that will undoubtedly encounter plenty of red tape ahead, but the New York Sun Works team is optimistic--an attitude certainly bolstered by the fact that green technology is such a hot topic these days.
New York City has a 25 year plan to address population growth, infrastructure improvement and environmental sustainability in the city. A few of the sustainability plans: to plant a million more trees, construct 800 new "green streets" and convert many of the city's industrial waterfronts to park space.
"This barge is a metaphor for us and for the future of this planet," said Adrian Benepe, the parks commissioner. "We can float together, or we'll surely sink together."