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Category — Asia

Istanbul’s Threatened Urban Agriculture

Garden in Piyale Pasa. Photo by Jennifer Hattam.

“These fields here used to meet one-third of the food needs of the European side of the city, and it’s still the closest large agricultural area to the city center – just 25 kilometers away from Taksim Square,”

By Jennifer Hattam
Culinary Back Streets
September 30, 2014,


Many of the city’s once numerous small farms and market gardens (known in Turkish as bostan) have already fallen victim to urbanization or are at risk of doing so. The grubby neighborhood between the Emniyet bus station in Aksaray and the Yenikap? metro terminal was as recently as the 1950s covered with green fields famed for their cucumbers. Parking lots and gas stations sit atop what were bostan lands just a few years ago in the grey and gritty Piyale Pa?a neighborhood of Beyo?lu. That area’s one remaining market garden, alongside the 16th-century Piyale Pa?a Camii, is hemmed in by a busy highway, service-bus parking strips and carwash and tire shops.

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October 2, 2014   Comments Off

Making farming work in the big city, Manila, Philippines

The main demo farm of Quezon City’s “Joy of Urban Farming” program. All photos by Fritzie Rodriguez/

“The main goal is to improve nutrition, while also trying to reduce poverty,”

By Fritzie Rodriguez


Unknown to many, right smack in the middle of the Quezon Memorial Circle, rows of vegetables line the 1,500-square-meter space.

This main demo farm is just one of the many sites under Quezon City’s “Joy of Urban Farming” program launched in 2010 by Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte. Until today, the program tries to spread green thumbs among city-dwellers.

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September 22, 2014   Comments Off

Should Tokyo Build Methane-Powered Cow Farms in the Sky?


Mushin thinks urban farming in future Tokyo … will be “corporations that set up high-tech, dense, multi-story production systems on the edges of towns.”

By Cameron Allan Mckean
Resilient Cities – Next City
September 17, 2014


Farms in Tokyo produce enough food to feed less than one million of the city’s residents, according to a 2010 survey by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Data suggest, however, that 85 percent of the city’s residents want urban farmland to give them access to fresh foods and green space. Cowships might be a fantastical solution, but Mushin says that’s beside the point. “There’s nothing wrong with these ideas. The only problem is that there is a huge lack of imagination and interest,” he says. “Humans can change, it’s just that we’re not inspired to change. No one cares about (energy) efficient lightbulbs – it’s got to be something you can be delighted by.”

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September 20, 2014   Comments Off

This startup in Beijing buys old shipping containers and turns them into urban hydroponic farms

From left to right: Kazuho Komoda, Young Ha, and Stuart Oda.

The initial market will be limited to China.

By Paul Bischoff
September 8, 2014


This 13-year-old shipping container in the middle of a field in Beijing’s Shunyi district might not be easy on the eyes, but it’s shaping up to be a godsend for the tongue. On the inside, it’s been completely renovated to house a fully automated hydroponic farm with 1,600 heads of lettuce, celery, and other leafy greens for human consumption.

The facility was designed and built by the three founders of Alesca Life Technologies, a Beijing-based sustainable agriculture startup. The team spent an entire year designing the unit for maximum efficiency and output. They just conducted their first full harvest about three weeks ago.

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September 17, 2014   Comments Off

FAO publication – Manual ‘A vegetable garden for all’


Graphical interface makes an easy read for all

2014 FAO 5th Edition
260 pages
(Must See. Mike)

A Vegetable Garden for All is a self-instruction manual in family horticultural production, prepared originally by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, in support of the Technical Cooperation Network for Food Production.

The objective of this manual is to present a technology suitable for family horticultural production and consumption. It is a manual for small-scale farmers, school teachers, children, and urban and peri-urban families with access to small plots of land. Better nutrition and better incomes can be achieved through families working in horticultural production.

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September 8, 2014   Comments Off

Director-general of UN Food and Agriculture Organisation visits Singapore – Sees vertical farms and discusses urban agriculture

Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan met with Mr José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, uring his inaugural official visit to Singapore.

“Commercial indoor and rooftop vegetable farms are opening and other urban and peri-urban agricultural initiatives are taking shape.”

By L Jessica
Sep 05, 2014


Mr Graziano da Silva visited progressive local farms such as Sky Greens and Swee Chioh Fishery, which make use of technology to maximise productivity and land efficiency.

During the visit, Singapore affirmed intent to collaborate with FAO on joint projects to boost food security and food safety in Singapore and the region, such as vertical farming in a land-scarce urban environment, and the attachment of Singapore expertise to FAO.

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September 6, 2014   Comments Off

Tabuk City farmers in the Philippines get 6,000 coconut seedlings

Coconut Seedlings and City Plant Nursery in Toledo City.

Coconut has a ten year period from the time of planting before the return of investment is seen.

By Larry Lopez
Philippine Information Agency
28th of August 2014

TABUK CITY, Kalinga, Aug. 28 (PIA) – – Farmers of Tabuk City recently received 6,000 seedlings from the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) in a bid to develop the looming coconut industry here.

City Agriculturist Gilbert Cawis reported the city expects another 11,000 seeds from PCA eyed to be distributed to potential coconut-producing barangays in Tabuk.

The City Agriculturist Office has intensified its campaign on coconut farming with the wide undeveloped farm lands in the 42 barangays of the city.

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September 6, 2014   Comments Off

Home Gardens in the Lao PDR


Linkages between Agricultural Biodiversity and Food Security

By Pernille M. Dyg and Saleumsy Phithayaphone
Juth Pakai
Issue 4


Home gardens seem to exist in many areas of Laos but there is limited knowledge of their impact on food security and biodiversity. Observations and experience from projects indicate that there are a number of different types of garden, and that they vary in size, crops and techniques used. A two-district survey of indigenous agro-forestry practices, by the Lao-Swedish Upland Agriculture and Forestry Research Programme (LSUAFRP) and the Northern Agriculture and Forestry Research Centre, recorded that home gardens are well-known and widespread in both districts, and that some kind of home garden is present in almost every village.

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September 2, 2014   Comments Off

Urban Farms Build Resilience Within Singapore’s Fragile Food System

A crew of volunteer “aunties” weed and harvest basil at the ComCrop rooftop farm, set high above Singapore’s Orchard Road. Photo by Maureen Pao for NPR.

Singapore imports more than 90 percent of its food from some 35 countries.

By Maureen Pao
August 20, 2014


Like other urban farms in Singapore, one of Sky Greens’ advantages is how little water it uses, relying primarily on collected and recycled rainwater. And its system of hydraulic-powered rotating troughs means less spent on electricity, and even less water is wasted.

“The troughs come down and go into the water and go up. So there’s no leaching of the water,” Ngiam explains. “If you are planting on the soil, what the farmer does is pour a lot of water, and then it just leaches out. For us, every drop is used by the plant.”

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August 28, 2014   Comments Off

Proposed Floating Vertical Farms for Singapore


“We believe these types of initiatives can be applied closer to the existing and new emerging urban centers in order to help mitigate the future food issue.”

By Adele Peters
Fast Company
July 29, 2014


Architects from Barcelona-based design firm JAPA have proposed a new system of looping towers that could float in local harbors, providing new space for year-round crops. Called F.R.A., short for “floating responsive architecture,” the design is inspired in part by floating fish farms that have been in use locally since the 1930s.

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August 19, 2014   Comments Off

Inside the World’s Largest Indoor Farm in Japan

A worker tends vegetables at the world’s largest “plant factory” on July 2, 2014. The Japanese factory produces 10,000 heads of lettuce a day. Photograph By Kyodo Via Ap.Click on image for larger file.

An abandoned Sony factory in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, has been transformed into what could very well be the farm of the future.

By Gloria Dickie
National Geographic
July 17, 2014


Shigeharu Shimamura, a plant physiologist and CEO of Mirai, has constructed the world’s largest indoor farm—25,000 square feet of futuristic garden beds nurtured by 17,500 LED lights in a bacteria-free, pesticide-free environment. The result? About 10,000 heads of fresh lettuce harvested each day.

The unique “plant factory” is so efficient that it cuts food waste from the 30 to 40 percent typically seen for lettuce grown outdoors to less than 3 percent for their coreless lettuce. (Related: “Stop Wasting Food in the West and Feed the World.”)

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August 14, 2014   Comments Off

Saving the farm in Karang Gadon, Denpasar, Bali

Saving city farms: This rice farm, just eight kilometers from the city of Denpasar, is protected under a subak agreement. Adding terati or water lilies to rice field farming supplies extra income for farmers and helps keep them on the land.

At almost US$60,000 per 100 square meters, land near Bali’s capital city, Denpasar, is up there with some of the most expensive in the province.

Trisha Sertori
The Jakarta Post
July 31 2014


This figure is driving a boom in the housing industry and get-rich-quick schemes for middlemen, known locally as makler, some of whom work on the shady side of the law, impersonating officers from land agencies to con farmers into selling.

Holding out against the pressure applied by these makler is no easy task for farmers strapped for cash still working their lands near the city.

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August 9, 2014   Comments Off

Panasonic ventures into farming in Singapore, a land-scarce city-state

panaClick on image for larger file.

It aims to contribute five per cent to local supply by March 2017.

By Medilyn Manibo
Aug 8, 2014


The vegetables, produced within a 248 square metre indoor facility in Tuas, includes green lettuce, white radish, rocket lettuce, basil, mint herb, wild parsley, baby spinach.

Both leafy vegetables and root crops are currently cultivated within 35 days in soil-based environment and sustained with artificial lighting using LED lights. Panasonic said it is continuing its research and development to shorten the lead time to 28 days.

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August 8, 2014   Comments Off

3rd Annual Seoul Urban Agriculture Conference in Seoul, South Korea – Recap


The 3rd Annual Seoul Urban Agriculture Conference was held 29-31 May 2014 at the Seoul City Hall. This year’s theme was “Urban Agriculture and the Food Revolution”.

Submitted by Will Nichols
Professor, Hanyang University
Seoul, South Korea
July 2014


The Seoul metropolitan area is home to around 20 million people and is the capital of South Korea. South Korea enjoys a high standard of living and is known for its high-tech industries. However, like most industrialized countries, focus is now shifting to long-term sustainability of a high quality of life. The city of Seoul in recent years has seen a blossoming of new initiatives for greening the city environment, promoting healthy and local food systems and building strong communities. This conference was launched to bring together a diverse group of practitioners to discuss recent progress and future needs for the development of the urban agriculture to promote these initiatives.

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July 28, 2014   Comments Off

See Bangkok’s ‘Veggie Prince’ at home

See video here.

Video by Chumporn Sangvilert
Bangkok Post
02 Jul 2014

Nakorn “Prince” Limpakuptathavorn, aka Veggie Prince, encourages city people to start sustainable farming and they don’t have to wait until they’re retired. Prince also explains why farmers should continue what they do and hold their heads up high.

See video here.

July 13, 2014   Comments Off