Sundrop Farm: The First Farm to Grow Tomatoes in a Desert Using Only Sun and Saltwater


Sundrop Farm, a $200 million infrastructure located in a South Australian desert, is the first of its kind. The creators had a revolutionary - almost difficult to believe - idea of growing vegetables using sun and seawater. In doing so, they avoid the use of any added chemicals, pesticides, fossil fuels, groundwater, and even soil. The solar powered farm utilizes desalination to remove the salt content from the water - producing fresh water that is then used to irrigate the 180,000 tomato plants inside the greenhouse. It is a marvel of technical advancement. 

Some other functions are equally incredible to think about. For example, no soil is used. In exchange, the tomatoes are grown out of coconut husks. The larger scale of the location - a dry, arid desert where traditionally gardening just simply would not work due to the climate (high heat and dry environment). By creating a greenhouse, it enables the farm to be climate controlled, the manner of which is through the use of this filtered seawater to regulate temperature. 

On a sunny day, the electricity needs of the farm is managed entirely by solar power that operates by 23,000 mirrors reflecting sunlight towards a 115-meter (approx. 377 feet) high receiver tower. 

The productivity of Sundrop Farm has been significant, and they have already begun selling their produce in stores. Moreover, Sundrop has plans to expand. They are setting their eyes on Portugal and the USA for future solar & seawater driven sustainable greenhouses in desert areas.