On November 16 1965, Walt Disney announced his plan to build the utopian Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (aka Epcot) on 27,443 acres of Florida swampland. In his own words, “EPCOT will take its cue from the new ideas and new technologies that are emerging from the forefront of American industry. It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be completed. It will always be showcasing and testing and demonstrating new materials and new systems.”
Unfortunately, Walt died in 1966, and when Epcot opened in 1982 the prototype city he’d imagined had morphed into a theme park, albeit one highlighting a future that promised new and exciting benefits for all. Nowhere is this more evident than in the attraction Living with the Land, a 15-minute boat ride through four distinct greenhouses and an aquaculture facility. Visitors glide past 60 different plants being grown via the Nutrient Film Technique in which enhanced waters are pumped from holding tanks into some VERY unusual garden beds. Some are slotted and sloped:
….others are spiraled
while others are strung up like trees:
As the solution streams by, each plant takes what it needs and the rest is recirculated and reused. The result is higher yields in smaller areas with water conservation, to boot! 🙂
The ride also passes through a separate greenhouse featuring tropical edibles:
Pineapples, pitaya and coconuts are growing in the picture above, with jackfruit and unnamed water edibles, below:
Plants in the Tropical Greenhouse are grown in sand using subsurface drip irrigation of the same nutrient water used elsewhere in the Land. It was interesting to see some common Florida crops flourishing in these conditions:
Epcot’s horticulturalists are using innovative growing techniques and cross-breeding high-yield crops with the goal of sustaining our growing global population. To that end, a Biotechnology Lab operates in conjuction with the USDA, and we got a glimpse of that, too:
The Land is definitely one of Epcot’s most interesting and educational attractions! If your travel plans take you to Orlando, I highly recommend it!
Until next time…..
🙂 🙂 🙂
- 2014 Epcot Flower & Garden Guide Maps (chipandco.com)
- Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival – All About Food!?! What About the Flowers? (theadultsideofdisney.com)
- Epcot’s 2014 Flower And Garden Festival! (natstuart18.wordpress.com)