“I grew up in a farm and have been eating organically home grown vegetables before the concept was popularised.”
2 years ago, while brainstorming how to integrate farming into city living, Ms Eng Ting Ting came up with the idea of The Traveling Farm which rotates its location between Raffles Place, Dhoby Ghaut and Bougainvillea Park once every three months.
The Traveling Farm is located in Bougainvillea Park now! Visit if you are interested!
Anyways, as a plant-lover myself, I am always excited to learn more about growing plants from individuals like Ms Eng who have green fingers. Turns out, Ms Eng is also the founder of Easi Garden and Pocket Greens. Easi Garden supplies growing kits to school to educate students about where vegetables came from and how they were grown; whereas Pocket Greens welcomes the public to learn about vertical farming and practise it in the vertical farms.
Vertical farming isn’t a new concept and has been gaining popularity over the years. According to Jadhav (2017), in 2017, Global Vertical Farming Market was worth $1,782 million, and it is likely to increase to $10,245 million by 2025. But
- How much do we know about it?
- Is vertical farming the future of agriculture?
Vertical farming is the growing of plants on tall structures filled with soil-less growing beds, with the use of less water and in a highly controlled environment (Cox & Tassel, 2010).
Al-Kodmany (2018) asserts that as food demand increases with population growth, vertical farming enables the production of more food on less land. In addition, as many of us are aware, global warming is a serious issue, and climate is an important factor that may affect crop yield and hence the world economy (Al-Kodmany, 2o18). Thankfully, with vertical farming where the environment can be controlled, Al-kodmany (2018) argues that climate will no longer be a limiting factor for harvest and hence food security.
In Ms Eng’s opinion, however, vertical farming isn’t the future of agriculture as crops like wheat need soil to grow.
Besides, how will the lives of horizontal farmers change if vertical farming was to become the main production method for crops? More critically, vertical farming is a contributor to global warming. It was highlighted that in order to produce a year’s worth of wheat through vertical faming in US, it would generate eight times the electricity (just on light) compared to the electricity generated by all US utilities in a year (Cox & Tassel, 2010).
In response to the issue of greenhouse gases emission, Ms Eng replied:
“We try to make use of natural resources. For instance, we grow microgreens which can fare well in our greenhouse that has transparent roofing. Thus, we eliminated the use of artificial light.”
I guess, in our attempts to enhance food security through vertical farming, there are adverse environmental and sociological impacts that we must consider, to evaluate whether vertical farming is the way to go.
But over the past few weeks, I have this question in mind: “If we can manipulate the growing environment for plants, why can’t we change the environment we humans live in? And if we can be in control of the environment, then does global warming truly matters?”
P.S. Do look forward to her full interview tomorrow!
Al-Kodmany, K. (2018). The Vertical Farm: A Review of Developments and Implications for the Vertical City. Buildings, 8(2), 24-59. https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings8020024
Cox, S., & Tassel, D. V. (2010). “Vertical farming” doesn’t stack up. Synthesis/Regeneration, 52, 4-7.
Jadhav, A. (2017).Vertical Farming Market: Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2017-2023. Allied Market Research.