5 Most Unique Urban Farms Around the World
With more people consistently moving to larger cities worldwide, urban farming has emerged as a sustainable solution for the issues of food shortage and increasing carbon emissions
When you think of farms, in all likelihood you start imagining a vast lush-green countryside. Well, that’s not what farms are anymore. Many cities across the world are developing sustainable urban farms within compact areas. Besides being sustainable and offering a break to people from their busy lives, modern urban farming is a powerful tool to combat world hunger.
Hence, urban farms are increasingly popping up throughout the world. It is because communities across the globe are gaining interest in growing food on their own. This is to spark interactions around better food systems, boost the local economy, and fight food insecurity worldwide.
What’s amazing is that you don’t even need soil and too much space to grow food now. With increasing advanced technologies these days, it has become easier to grow food without soil and other conventional resources.
Below, we highlight five ingenious and unexpected community farms. Now, how can we incorporate something similar into our own neighborhoods?
Funan Mall Urban Farm, Singapore
The popular Funan Mall in Singapore’s city center is home to a stunning urban farm on its rooftop. This particular urban farm is the result of the entire city’s efforts to address its food insecurity problems.
This project is a collaboration between Cynthia Chua, a renowned lifestyle entrepreneur who started Singapore’s farm-to-table concept, and Edible Garden City (EGC), an urban farming consultancy that started the grow-your-own-food movement in Singapore. The stunning rooftop farm spreads across the huge 5,000-square-feet area.
Tended by EGC farmers, this rooftop garden is set up beside Chua’s latest F&B establishment, Noka – a Japanese restaurant. So far, the rooftop urban farms produce microgreens, oyster mushrooms, butterfly pea, and basil. Since the urban farm is in the center of the city, it’s open to the general public who visits the region. Meanwhile, the visitors enjoy an overall mall-like experience.
The rooftop farm at the Funan Mall is one good example of how Singapore is initiating the eco-friendly urban farming trend.
Paris Rooftop Farm – One of the Iconic Urban Farms in the World
Another spectacular and one of the most unique urban farms in the world is this Paris rooftop farm. Dubbed Porte de Versailles, this rooftop farm is in the 15th arrondissement, a huge cultural complex that’s only 15 minutes away from the Eiffel Tower. This rooftop farm is also considered the world’s largest urban farm so far.
What’s more interesting is that Le Perchoir, a renowned chain of rooftop venues in Paris, has now opened a restaurant and bar on the stunning terrace. And, the dishes on the menu include fresh produce from the rooftop garden itself.
The rooftop urban farm occupies around 14,000-square-meter of space, which is around the size of two football pitches. In this huge space, there will be over 20 market gardens supplying over 2000 pounds of vegetables and fruits per season. The plants in this urban garden will grow using aeroponic vertical farming.
Aeroponic farming is a soil-free technique of growing fruits and veggies with much-needed nutrients. This farming technique also used only 10-percent of water compared to traditional agricultural settings. Hence, it’s a highly sustainable way to produce more food than conventional means.
Besides meeting the area’s food supply needs, the urban farm will also offer educational tours, as well as team-building workshops for different companies. Hence, they will do them to foster a strong community spirit to ensure residents get around 140 vegetable plots for farming. With the growth of such sustainable farms, Paris is also cutting back its carbon footprint with the growth of local produce within the city.
Alesca Life’s Shipping Container Urban Farms
Dubai’s Sustainable City recently joined the urban farming revolution by collaborating with Beijing-based Alesca Life Technologies. Together, they have set up an eco-friendly shipping container farm that grows microgreens using the hydroponic technique. The community growing produces in this shipping container farm will use advanced technology, like a smartphone app and “Internet-of-Things” sensor boxes. These latest technologies will enable farmers to monitor and operate their farming aspects wirelessly.
As per Stuart Odea, founder, and CEO of the agriculture startup, indoor farming is a significant way to decrease water, pesticide, and fertilizer usage from agriculture. It even helps in preserving high nutrient content, which often depletes to half by the time product reaches different markets. With the growth of more sustainable and nutrient-rich food, there will be an increase in food diversity and security.
Generally, Alesca Life makes use of old shipping containers to convert them into automated miniature farms. The makers further outfit the shipping containers with a hydroponic system to enable crops to grow with the use of fewer resources. As a result, these container urban farms utilize 20 to 25 times less water compared to conventional agriculture.
Simultaneously, shipping container farming decreases labor costs with the automation of the farming process using advanced software. The system completely depends on sensors within the containers to keep a check on the crops. Hence, it’s easier to control the operation remotely using a smartphone app.
The company further aims to embed its miniature farms in unused spaces and build different high-density urban cities in the world. For instance, the company markets its technology to hotels, supermarket chains, restaurants, and food distributors.
NYC Urban Agriculture
NYC Urban Agriculture is not actually an urban farm. But it’s a web portal by the Department of City Planning, NYC Parks, and the Department of Small Business Services. The purpose of this portable is to spread information to property owners, business owners, and the public about urban agriculture in New York City.
Urban agriculture makes use of community gardening, personal gardening, commercial farming, as well as indoor farming. Indoor farming includes techniques like aquaponics, hydroponics, rooftop greenhouses, and more.
With the use of such eco-friendly solutions, the city aims to build a strong community to grow food in small spaces. Moreover, the experts guide people to use fewer resources for growing fresh produce on urban farms.
AeroFarms in New Jersey
AeroFarms provides fresh produce to Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. This specific urban farm consists of several rows and towers. It appears like an extremely sanitized model of “The Matrix.” This 70,000-square-feet vertical farm remains hidden in plain sight despite its large size. According to the company, it is the largest urban farm of its kind in the world.
In aeroponic farming, various greens are grown from organic seeds to grow not in soil. Instead of soil, the seeds grow in reusable cloth weaved using recycled plastic water bottles. The environmental sensors are present within this urban farm to constantly monitor and make adjustments to all the greens. Hence, the growth of veggies and fruit remains good all year round.
According to Marc Oshima, AeroFarms co-founder, and chief marketing officer, the sensors can even help in altering crops’ taste. For instance, they can make arugula more peppery with the manipulation of lighting, water levels, and other factors. And, the best part is that no pesticides are used for growing vegetables and fruits on this urban farm.
One-square-foot vertical farm like this can yield up to 390 times more produce compared to outdoor farms. Plus, water use is very limited when the plants grow through the aeroponic technique. These plants only need a little misting, if necessary. Hence, there’s a great reduction in the carbon footprint of food by putting harvested crops near the market and by reducing the resources needed to grow the greens.