Farmers Put 220 Acres Under Glass to Create Vast Artificial Environment

On the chilly Isle of Thanet in Kent, England, farmers are placing 220 acres of land under glass so they can grow vegetables all year round. The greenhouse, when completed, will house 1.3 million plants and increase the UK's crop of green vegetables by 15%. Called Thanet Earth, the project will be a series of 7 connected grenhouses with a relatively small carbon footprint. And nothing grown inside Thanet Earth will ever touch soil.

Here is a view inside one of the recently-completed greenhouses.

Farmers Put 220 Acres Under Glass to Create Vast Artificial Environment

Says the UK Guardian:

Growing hydroponically, in nutrient-enriched water rather than soil, allows the suspension of the crops at waist height rather than ground level, for ease of picking . . . The site's developers say they have taken steps to ensure the environmental impact, considering the scale of the operation, will be minimised. The huge reservoirs, which will capture rainwater and recycle the water in which the crops grow, will allow the site to be self-sufficient from May to September, draining nothing from the local utilities. The 32MW generated by the combined heat and power system, uploaded to the National Grid, will offset significant costs from the site, while some of the CO2 produced by the burning gas will used to enrich the glasshouse atmosphere.

Here's the layout.

Farmers Put 220 Acres Under Glass to Create Vast Artificial Environment

It's like the first domed environment, where residents are creating their own (warmer) atmosphere in order to make food production possible. Locals estimate that doming the land has created over 500 jobs, and will make farming in the region far more lucrative. After all, tomatoes and other vegetables can be harvested year round.

The giant greenhouse complex isn't finished yet, but UK residents will be able to buy Thanet Earth veggies starting in October of this year.

Welcome to Thanet Earth [UK Guardian via Jaunted]