Urban farming is often referred to as a promising means to combating food insecurity in a generation where rising costs have taken precedence amongst a slew of other issues surrounding how we handle produce.
During the pandemic, this issue was ramified. The Movement Control Order (MCO) saw the highest number of food waste in homes, following massive panic purchases from consumer unease at a time when many were not sure when they would be allowed outdoors to stock up on goods.
A brief by UNICEF recounted how the pandemic further pushed families already vulnerable to a malnutrition crisis to a critical point of survival, with an estimated 30% of the Malaysian population expected to suffer from food insecurity due to the pandemic based on the current prevalence of the issue.
Though the concept of urban farming has been tussled about for years now, the current socioeconomic situation calls for our way of living to change and leverage on advancements in agricultural technology (AgriTech) to seek a better means of food growth.
Innovative farming methods are currently underway across the world, with many turning to being farmers in their own homes. The rise of AgriTech startups spearheading the nation's sustainable farming evolution has driven for more thought into how we can cope with impending food shortage crisis for an ever-expanding population.
Even big names in the property development industry have looked towards how they can capitalize on the wave, like the introduction of Sunway XFarms and Sime Darby Property bringing urban agriculture to their own developments.
But the prospects of urban farming go beyond what it could do to soften the blow of high food costs and food insecurity in the nation; it's a way for us to connect back to our rural roots and have a better understanding of how the fresh vegetation we're so used to makes its rounds to finally end up in our homes.
Alternate agricultural efforts such as hydroponics and aeroponics use little to no soil in a controlled environment, relying solely on water systems to foster healthy plant growth. This measure not only saves on the need for ample acres of land to promise a successful harvest but also leaves no room for bugs to house and breed, resulting in the use of pesticides.
When we understand the costs that goes into bringing something from harvest-to-table, especially when it was derived from the efforts of our labor, it could give way to new ideas about how we conventionally think about our food.
Expiration dates on manufactured packaging are no longer the standard when it comes to deciding the usability of a product. Many experts are encouraging consumers to look beyond these deadlines and relying on our natural instinct to decide whether an item is feasible for consumption.
As the population continues to grow, moving towards more sustainable methods of food growth to feed the masses has become a high topic of discussion. Though it may take some time to adopt to urban farming to its fullest, it offers a fascinating introspective into how Agritech can change the way we live.