Urban farming on brink of corporate era
A mix of new and old technologies such as aquaponics and polytunnels are helping to make profitable city-based farming a reality in the world’s biggest cities
By Tom Levitt
One of the world’s largest aeroponic farms has been running for more than a decade in Singapore, producing cut and bagged salads and herbs for local supermarkets – perishable products that are difficult to import.
According to local urban farming expert He Jie, professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, the ability to grow vegetables without soil makes aeroponics well-suited to a dense, urban setting.
“While it isn’t possible for arable land to be expanded horizontally, an urban farming system could increase production area through vertical extensions of lightweight troughs,” she explains. “Vertical stacking is constrained by the weight of the troughs, but this could be resolved through the more lightweight aeroponic system, where stacking of lightweight troughs can offer an alternative to overcome the weight factor.”