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Bangladesh's floating vegetable gardens provide future farming tools

Bangladesh’s farmers were developing creative planting solutions long before climate change was on most people’s radar. The country’s wild monsoon seasons deemed it a necessity. In the event of excess rain, parts of the country become vulnerable and thousands are forced to migrate.

For hundreds of years, the country’s native farmers have adapted to focus on crops that are able to develop across its riverine landscape. The pursuit has been a success for many families’ livelihoods to the point where researchers say the rest of the world should be taking notes. Traditionally, farmers will construct a floating platform of greenery, such as water hyacinths, several feet into the water to create a base. This floating garden is then used to plant vegetables without the need for soil, creating conditions that adapt to even the rainiest of seasons.

"We are focused here on adaptive change for people who are victims of climate change, but who did not cause climate change," says Craig Jenkins, a co-author of the study and professor at The Ohio State University. "There's no ambiguity about it: Bangladesh didn't cause the carbon problem, and yet it is already experiencing the effects of climate change”.

The BBC have heralded Bangladesh’s use of traditional hydroponic technology as an answer to the environmental problems facing the country.

“It is very environmentally friendly – all the necessary inputs and resources are natural, and it does not create any waste or byproduct which can impact the environment negatively,” says Fahmida Akter, a senior research fellow at the James P Grant School of Public Health at Brac University in Dhaka.

When the season ends the plants are broken up into pieces and mixed into the soil to grow land-based crops like tomatoes and cauliflower.

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