FCB Mayo Peru & UTEC Are Back with This Orchard in the Sky
In the Bujama region of Peru, irrigation comes from local rivers. But these rivers can be contaminated with arsenic, lead or cadmium that can seep into nearby farmland and crops. FCB Mayo Peru and its client UTEC (University of Engineering & Technology) – the creators of water- and air-purifying billboards in 2013 and 2014, respectively – have created an “Air Orchard” to demonstrate that pollution-free food can be grown and behaviour can be changed through innovative engineering.
“Currently, organic products are gaining significance, compared to chemically treated products. UTEC wanted to work out the most efficient way to grow a crop of 2,000 heads of lettuce using the clean water generated by the panel,” said Jessica Ruas, UTEC marketing director. “In addition to growing lettuce, the billboard still produces 96 liters of drinking water a day to provide for the surrounding community.”
The “Air Orchard” uses the NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) system of hydroponics. The billboard consists of 10 large dehumidifiers that carry water through a series of tubes coated in nutrients. The white PVC tubes also reflect the sun’s rays and boost photosynthesis. Compared to soil-based farming, hydroponics garners five times more nutrients and sunlight while optimizing production of quality and space.
The results have been staggering. More than 2,800 heads of lettuce are given away weekly to passersby and the local community from the “Air Orchard” billboard site on the Panamericana Sur, Peru’s largest and most important highway. The free lettuce is available Fridays from 2–8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. –6 p.m. until the first week of April.
“UTEC is a university that was founded with the mission of developing applied research that provides practical solutions to the challenges of society and industry. These principles are proven through innovative initiatives like the ‘Air Orchard.’ We improved on our first panel that generated water from moisture in the air for human consumption and increased the production of water to grow healthy food. We have found a practical solution to a real problem, and through creativity and innovation we developed solutions to the challenges of our country and the world,” said Ignacio Montero, director of business innovation at UTEC.
Category: Corporate and social , Education
Genre: Creative technology