food technology

Sundrop Farms: growing food in the desert

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the passive solar greenhouse, a low-tech solution to growing vegetables all year round in colder climates. Today we’ll look at the opposite – a high tech solution to growing vegetables all year round in hot climates.

Sundrop Farms is a company that grows food in the desert. Since there’s no fresh water, they use the heat of the sun to make their own out of seawater, which they also use for cooling. Having tested and proven the technique, it’s now being applied at commercial scale in Australia. Here’s a video from BBC programme Tomorrow’s Food:


  1. I live only about 300km from there, and would love to visit. I like what they’re doing, but find it hard to imagine that such an enterprise could scale up to feed the planet…

    (on my blog, I’ve written quite a bit about gardening with little water. We get about 450mm / year rain, but typically have 4 – 5 dry months in summer with almost no rain)

    1. Yes, I’d love to go and look around one of these facilities, and I really hope it works at scale. The important contribution here is to raise productivity in places that currently have to import fresh stuff, particularly in the Middle East. That takes the pressure off other places, and reduces the need for land leasing and irrigation. That could be useful in places where there are disagreements over water.

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