"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." Proverbs 25:11
Basil plants grown underwater, for example, have higher concentrations of eugenol (a substance contained in basil essential oils) and more chlorophyll (the substance that allows for photosynthesis to take place) compared with plants grown on land.
“For plants that have a medicinal or cosmetic use, this could translate into heightened therapeutic effects,” Fontanesi explains. He says that a French pharmaceutical company rented one of the greenhouses last year (he won’t disclose which one) and turned it into a lab to prototype products made with underwater herbs.
But the ultimate goal of the project remains to turn underwater farming into a viable option, especially in areas where water scarcity is an issue. “Eventually we want to create a system that is cost-efficient and energy-sufficient to offer a sustainable alternative to land farming,” Fontanesi explains. That will take years, at a minimum. But if he succeeds, a wetsuit and scuba tank could become as standard for farmers as overalls and tractors.
© Vittoria Traverso