- His friends were skeptical. But Gamberini, a chemical engineer who runs a scuba diving equipment business, was determined to prove that his idea could work. Two days later, he put on his diving gear and, 22-feet below sea level, attached a plastic balloon filled with a little pot of soil and basil seeds to the seabed. After a few days, tiny basil leaves were sprouting.
The following year, Gamberini, a self-declared “explorer of all things ocean,” devoted part of the budget of his family-owned business, Ocean Reef, to fund the first fully functional underwater farm. It was a matter of personal curiosity: “I want to find out if underwater farming can become a suitable alternative during my lifetime,” he says. He also hopes that if underwater farming takes off, he’ll be the one holding the patented technology.