One Cool Thing: Farming with Salt Water

Drought conditions are spreading worldwide, and agriculture will be the first to suffer from freshwater cuts and shortages. At the same time, global food demand is expected to rise by up to 98% by 2050. Thankfully, scientists in one of the world’s driest places may have a solution. The International Center of Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) is growing superfoods in the Dubai desert using saltwater.

After testing 1,200 types of quinoa, the team found five that thrived in salty conditions. They also planted Salicornia, a plant native to the southern U.S. that is considered a “desert superhero” because it can be used for food and, potentially, for biofuel. The ICBA team hopes to bring these salty farming methods to Central Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and more.

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