The southernmost continent in the world is Antarctica, and did you know that it technically does not belong to any one country? Many countries lay claim to individual areas on the continent, but no one country recognizes other another country’s claims. Instead, since 1959 the Antarctica Treaty requests cooperation from nations to retain Antarctica as a scientific research preserve – a type of international park to be respected and revered by everyone.
Antarctica’s unmatched beauty comes from its landscape: the country is covered 98% in ice. With vivid blues and whites in the frozen environment, it’s no wonder that food doesn’t naturally grow there, other than a few mosses during an extremely brief period of time in the summer. In wintertime, when scientific research is ongoing, about 200 people live in the frozen space where they work, attend school and share community meals.
My research revealed something interesting: The greenhouses and growing stations do not allow the introduction of soil into the environment. Soil, normally used for planting, contains microbes that could be devastating to the delicate ecosystem of Antarctica. Instead, all foods are grown hydroponically in a glass-less greehouse that induces artificial sunlight and evening. Plant roots are suspended in liquid nutrients, or grown in non-soil mixes.
We can buy hydroponically grown foods here in upscale groceries and farm markets. To see just how fresh these foods can taste, try this super-simple winter salad.
Antarctica Winter Salad
hydroponically grown watercress
hydroponically grown sweet basil
organic, edible flowers
1. Arrange cleaned vegetables and herbs on a salad plate.
2. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar to taste.
3. Garnish with organic, edible flowers.