Urban farming is the growing of plants and the raising of animals within and around cities. Examples of food products grown include crops such as grains, root crops, vegetables, mushrooms and fruit. Most importantly urban farming can make an important contribution to food security especially in times of crisis or food shortages. Produce is either consumer by the producers or sold in urban markets such as weekend farmers’ markets that are popular around the world. Because locally produced food requires less transportation and refrigeration it can supply nearby supermarkets with fresher and more nutritious products at competitive prices. One city exploring urban farming is Singapore: one of the most densely populated cities in the world relying on imported food for the majority of its food demand.
Mixing education with food security
Mixing education with food security, Singapore Management University (SMU) has launched SMU Grow, a university-wide project that involves students, staff and faculty in cultivating change through experiential and reflexive learning.
SMU Grow is based on three pillars of environment:
- Create a global awareness on environmentalism, food production, consumption and security
- Be sustainable by promoting sustainable urban living and community
- Provide for underprivileged members in its community.
SMU Grow’s urban farm program invites people from all walks of life, not just students and faculty of SMU, to be gardeners and partners in learning. The rollout of SMU Grow includes conducting workshops for staff and faculty that introduce sustainable living through growing food in sustainable ways, having planter boxes up for adoption, serving healthy meals to staff and running a logo contest. SMU Grow will also provide an annual community service project ‘SMU Challenge’ that delivers food and household needs to residents – this will enable students to fulfill SMU’s 80-hour community service requirement by every student as part of their degree.
Urban food security can be achieved at the neighborhood level with people from all walks of life contributing towards common agricultural plots.