The second chapter of the Eco Green Food Concept focuses on delivering a sustainable Hydrofarm located in the Municipality of Montopoli, in a fertile and humid site, characterized by the strong presence of water. The project brief is to deliver an off grid farm with zero waste strategy fully integrated within the surrounding natural reserve. The project includes the creation of hydroponic greenhouses powered by integrated photovoltaic panels, windarms, water basins for irrigation and a natural biolake, through a phytodepuration system for the regeneration and maintenance of the delicate natural balance.
The project is divided into phases to meet the client’s agricultural production needs, and to align with the investor’s and financial program, setting the farm as the first and the lake as the second phase. It is key for the project to protect the natural resource of the area and embellish its strengths and qualities.
The Farfa river, running by the project’s site boundary, has a calcareus sediments that promotes rich varieties of vegetation promoting micro-habitats and variety of fauna. The river’s vegetation is divided into : the swamp forest, the beehive scrub and the riparian forest. In the undergrowth, cyclamen, snowdrops, anemones and orchids favor the presence of many butterflies and dragonflies, while the meadows are inhabited by numerous invertebrates such as bumblebees, solitary bees, rufe ants and numerous varieties of beetles. Micro-habitats such as hedges formed by various types of tree, shrub and bush species are of great importance for the local fauna; there many species of birds and insects find sustenance and refuge.
To treat and depurate the agricultural water the project includes phytodepuration systems
integrated in the biolake. There are different systems that have been explored such as those with emerging rooted macrophytes and among these the submerged flow has been considered the more efficient one because of the faster growth medium and smaller surface area that,compared to the other FWS systems called surface flow systems, provides a more efficient purification process thanks to a greater contact surface for the microorganisms, responsible for the purification processes.
In addition, in submerged flow systems the water level and the accumulation of plant debris on the surface of the plant offer greater thermal protection than in FWS systems. In submerged flow systems, the risk of the onset of odors or the development of insects is very limited and, therefore, the area used for the system can be used by the public and it is possible to foresee the location also near urban centres, with optimal integration into the surrounding environment.
Images below © Ellicar Gardens