These remarkable floating farms could help feed hungry people around the world.

Food. It's easy to love.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Brunch. Linner. I'll take them all.


GIF from "Malcolm in the Middle."

But the harsh reality across the globe is that many people don't have access to the food they need.

Approximately 795 million people in the world don't have enough food to lead a healthy, active lifestyle, according to an estimate by the World Food Programme. And the global population could go from 7.2 billion to 9.6 billion by 2050.

The growth in population could mean less space to farm, too. BASF Crop Protection, one of the world's largest producers of farming-related chemicals, estimates that between 2005 and 2030, the amount of arable land available per capita will shrink by almost 20%.

Not enough space to grow on land? Here's another idea: Plant food in seas, lakes, and rivers.

Forward Thinking Architecture, a firm in Spain, is one of the companies working to build farms directly in bodies of water through a project they call "Smart Floating Farms."

Here are three ways these hydroponic farms could reshape the future of farming:

1. They could open up a lot of space for farming

In places like Singapore, land is hard to come by. Roughly 5.5 million people live in the island city.

Considering Singapore measures approximately 277 square miles, that means about 20,000 people inhabit the city for every square mile of available space. That doesn't leave much room for farming.

The good news is that this cutting-edge smart floating farm technology is scalable and replicable, which means that as the world's needs grow, so too can production levels.

A three-level floating farm, complete with inflated cylinders in front that protect against waves. Photo via Smart Floating Farms, used with permission.

According to the firm, 25 of the world's 35 largest cities (New York being one of them) have nearby access to bodies of water, so these farms could theoretically be built to serve metro areas around the world.

2. They are self-regulating

These water-based farms don't need soil to grow plants. They would use water that is already infused with vitamins and minerals, a process known as hydroponics. Of course, the plants couldn't survive on saltwater — freshwater would be pumped into the grow facility and then sprayed evenly on plants through a mechanical system.

According to the plan, the entire farming system would be built in three levels on huge barge-like containers, with the first level housing a solar-powered energy facility and the second level using that energy to grow crops (no soil required). On the third level, you could raise fish, which would survive on the waste products from the farm.

The solar panels on the top level of a floating farm. Photo via Smart Floating Farms, used with permission.

This top to bottom system allows the sun to be used for energy, crops to grow without being harmed by saltwater, and fish to be fed and farmed. Genius!

3. They are cost effective and greener

If these farms were built near major cities, it would cost less to transport food to grocery stores. A self-sustaining ecosystem could also mean less maintenance and lower manufacturing costs, too.

And even though these techniques would be used in bodies of water, they can be applied in the air, too. Singapore-based company Sky Greens builds skyscrapers filled with plants that rotate up and down between water and sunlight, allowing vegetation to be grown 10 times more effectively than traditional forms of agriculture would allow. As a result, food is cheaper, more accessible, and more abundant.

It's a produce party in the sky. Photo via iStock.

There's hope for the future.

These types of innovations have the potential to help regions around the world cope with the need for more food, even if they have less space.

Here's a video from Forward Thinking Architecture explaining the concept of floating farms:

This bit of ingenuity and creative thinking could help ensure that people around the world have plentiful, sustainable food sources.

Pexels
True
Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Of the millions of Americans breathing a sigh of relief with the ushering in of a new president, one man has a particularly personal and professional reason to exhale.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has spent a good portion of his long, respected career preparing for a pandemic, and unfortunately, the worst one in 100 years hit under the worst possible administration. As part of Trump's Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Fauci did what he could to advise the president and share information with the public, but it's been clear for months that the job was made infinitely more difficult than it should have been by anti-science forces within the administration.

To his credit, Dr. Fauci remained politically neutral through it all this past year, totally in keeping with his consistently non-partisan, apolitical approach to his job. Even when the president badmouthed him, blocked him from testifying before the House, and kept him away from press briefings, Fauci took the high road, always keeping his commentary focused on the virus and refusing to step into the political fray.

But that doesn't mean working under those conditions wasn't occasionally insulting, frequently embarrassing, and endlessly frustrating.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.