Food on ice / Columns / The Foreigner

Food on ice. Could Norway be self-sufficient for food over the winter? The idea, or myth, emerges from Iceland, known for greenhouses including growing bananas. Iceland heats them with geothermal energy. But lack of light remains a major hurdle, even with most of Iceland below the Arctic Circle.

food, solar, geothermal, climate, sustainability, energy, greenhouses, paywall



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Food on ice

Published on Friday, 30th September, 2016 at 08:55 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.
Last Updated on 30th September 2016 at 14:01.

Could Norway be self-sufficient for food over the winter?

A greenhouse in Sagene, Oslo
A greenhouse in Sagene, Oslo
Photo: Ilan Kelman


The idea, or myth, emerges from Iceland, known for greenhouses including growing bananas.

Iceland heats them with geothermal energy. But lack of light remains a major hurdle, even with most of Iceland below the Arctic Circle.

Norway would need other renewable energy sources. Plus, many places contend with 24 hours of darkness.

The key is to experiment systematically. We need to test locally built greenhouses with artificial light sources for growing food across urban environments, from the University of Agder's campus to Hammerfest's back gardens.

For each greenhouse, we would record all inputs, including materials, seeds, plants, worms, water, energy, soil, soil nutrients, and labour. We would also record all outputs, such as food harvested, nutrition from the food, waste, and heat/light emissions.

The focus would be fruit, vegetables, and grains. Livestock could potentially be attempted, but might be too risky.

Would a single, vast greenhouse serving an area succeed? Is smaller scale preferable, setting up micro-greenhouses on roofs and balconies? Possibly a combination.

The trials might fail spectacularly. For Norway to have year-round food self-sufficiency, perhaps grow plenty during summers, then preserve the excess for winters--as it used to be.

For fresh food all the time, it might be that local greenhouses could provide a small amount. Imports could be reduced, although not eliminated.

Ilan Kelman is a Reader in Risk, Resilience and Global Health at University College London.




Published on Friday, 30th September, 2016 at 08:55 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.
Last updated on 30th September 2016 at 14:01.

This post has the following tags: food, solar, geothermal, climate, sustainability, energy, greenhouses, paywall.





  
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