Pesticide use in vegetable farming is rampant in Thailand, however a growing urban farming movement is pointing to a more natural path
Many techniques and structures are used to battle extreme weather, make the most of good weather and achieve a good yield at the rooftop garden on top of Kasetsart University. Photos: Courtesy Of Associate Professor Pasinee Sunakorn.
Bangkok’s early settlement was the arable lands fed by the Chao Phraya.
16 Jun 2013
The private sector is starting to take notice of how economically viable the urban farming trend can be and have begun integrating it into their business models.
Novotel Hotel in Siam Square is the first hotel in Thailand to commercialise urban farming as part of their corporate social responsibility efforts. They grow Spirulina, a blue-green microalgae sold as a diet supplement, and used to treat malnutrition, in dozens of trashcan sized vats on their roof. The finished product, a sticky green paste, is then added to Novotel’s sauces, drinks, and even mud spa treatments. The algae tinges the food with a green colour, but doesn’t affect the taste.
Spirulina associate Daniel Koeppel said this CSR project “creates additional revenue by renting out your commercial no-value areas”. Their revenue generating CSR endeavour may well serve as a role model for Bangkok’s hotel industry.
Another private company, a textile factory in central Bangkok, is trying to scale up urban farming on a more community based level.
Isavaret and Amphai Tamonut won US$50,000 (1.5 million baht) in Holcim Foundation funding to transform their family textile factory into an “Urban Farm Urban Barn”. The farm will be developed on four rai of land just a block away from Kasikorn Bank headquarters and is watered by canals that feed into the Chao Phraya River.