The future of farming is here and it’s both sustainable & space saving
Reethi Faru Resort is a bio-luxury island resort situated in Raa Atoll, the Maldives infamous for their sustainability initiatives and marine conservation efforts.
Despite being a young property, the island is lush with viridescent flora and foliage tended to by a team of over 15 landscapers that work to maintain the flourishing greenery of the island.
Keeping to their promise to stay sustainable, Reethi Faru Resort started operating its hydroponic garden in late 2020, has yielded over 500kg of produce by mid-2021. With three different units allocated around the island to produce various kinds of vegetation, the resort has more extensive plans set in motion to grow the fresh salads required to cater to their guests and team year-round.
An introduction – what is hydroponics?
Hydroponics is a Greek term made from two words – “Hydro” means water, and “Ponos” implies labour, and hence “working water” is its plain meaning. In simple terms, hydroponics is the method of growing plants without soils. Without using pesticides, the hydroponics system substitutes soil with mineral nutrient solutions in water.
The resort has three hydroponic greenhouses, categorized by type, with a combined total capacity to grow approximately 2000 plants with crops, including all kinds of lettuce, pak choy, rocket leaf, mint coriander, mustard, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and many more organic produce.
The Reethi Faru hydroponic garden is another step they take in their numerous initiatives towards sustainability and conservation.
The marine lab team has introduced five sustainable activities free of charge for guests, promoting our sustainability and conservation efforts.
- Coral Planting
The team locate coral colonies or fragments, which would naturally die due to predation or sedimentation, bring them to the nursery area and fragment them down. The guest then joins in on attaching the fragments to an iron support structure for regeneration. Each week the team clean and maintain the coral fragments, removing any fast-growing algae that will compete with the coral for space.
- Marine Talks
One of the founding philosophies of the team is education for guests, staff and local communities. Therefore, each week the team conduct educational talks for all to participate in. Conversations range from common reef fishes of the Maldives, manta rays, turtles, plastic pollution and climate change impact on coral reefs.
- Educational Snorkelling
Twice a week, the team join the house reef snorkelling trip hosted by the dive centre. The purpose is to educate and spot species of interest described a little about the organism and its relation to the ecosystem. Guests can also ask any questions.
- Save the reef
Coral reefs are under large amounts of human and anthropogenic stresses. To help preserve the fragile ecosystem the team conduct weekly coral predator removal. The activity focuses on the crown of thrones starfish and pincushion starfish. Crown of thrones has 17 legs and venomous spines and can eat up to 75 square feet of coral per year, if left unchecked larger aggregations can decimate vast areas of coral reef.
- Species spotter
Species spotter, also known as citizen sciences, is a programme conducted by anyone would requests. The team have developed three identification sheets, megafauna, Butterflyfish and Groupers. The data collected is added to our long-term data set and helps the team identify areas or species that need more conservation work..
Aside from the guest’s activities, the team have started setting up projects and target goals to increase and promote recovery on our house reef and surrounding reefs. The major project is the set-up and maintenance of large-scale coral rope nurseries. This structure is 10 metres with ten ropes suspended from the substrate to avoid predation or sedimentation. The team then attached up to 1000 finger size fragments to the nursery. Each week, required maintenance is needed to clean any algae and monitor coral growth. In one year, the fragments will reach a healthy size, ready for transplantation to the reef. The team aim to set up two nurseries during this month and have up to 2000 coral fragments growing.
Monthly sustainability event
In July, the resort will be hosting Reethi Day in collaboration with shark awareness day. Sharks are keystone predators and help maintain health and balance within the ecosystem. Unfortunately, over 100 million sharks are killed on average each year, and many have been labelled.