Last month, National Geographic featured a striking picture of the Science Barge, a hulking metal platform with an unusual cargo: a carbon-neutral hydroponic farm. The floating laboratory produces tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, strawberries and pumpkins all while docked in the Hudson River.
New York Sun Works, a nonprofit that promotes sustainability, launched the barge as an educational tool. The project incorporates solar and wind power, biofuels and rainwater reclamation while producing no carbon emissions or wastes. It saves even more energy by reducing the food miles (the distance food travels from field to table) of fresh produce for city dwellers.
The barge's creators hope it will also serve as a test ground for the type of hydroponic farm that could exist on city rooftops someday. Since hydroponic farming doesn't require as much water and land as field methods, it's considered a good alternative to urban farming in areas where space is tight and the soil isn't always the best.