The Index Project
Index Award 2017 Finalists
Sundrop Farms
A tomato farm needing no soil, fossil fuels or pesticides

In 2050, it is estimated that we will be 10 billion people on planet Earth. This means that we – to feed us all – need to upscale our food production capacity (number of calories) by at least 70%.

Sundrop Farms’ Port Augusta farm is a 4,5-hectare greenhouse, powered by a 51,500m2 concentrated solar power plant consisting of 23,000 mirrors directing the sun at a 127-metre-high tower weighing 234 tonnes. The heat generated by this is used for three things: to keep 20 hectares of greenhouses at just the right temperature; to generate electricity via a turbine to power farm systems; and to desalinate seawater drawn from the nearby Spencer Gulf, using a distillation plant, which is then used to water our plants. The farm produces one million liters of fresh water every day by desalinating seawater drawn from 3km away.

By taking a sustainable approach to greenhouse growing, Sundrop uses advanced technology to increase produce quality and consistency, and dramatically reduce environmental impact. The system allows Sundrop to produce over 15,000 tons of sustainable tomatoes annually (sold at Coles supermarkets across Australia), while saving 2 million liters of diesel and 15,000 tons of CO₂ when compared to traditional farms.