Examine the stories highlighted in this issue, and you will see a deeper agenda of urban farming. The people that tend to the food gardens of Asia are often displaced farmers who have had to move to the city. The yields here are small but they matter a lot to the urban poor.
Notwithstanding the importance of these farms, the scale they represent is not enough. Cities depend too much on global supply chains that are easily disrupted. Climate change asks us to be more self-reliant, to do more locally.
There are many challenges that lie ahead. A profit-seeking company will want to grow produce with big margins, say herbs or berries; the government may want more everyday items that the population depends on, like leafy vegetables. Who decides? Assuming investors do come, who will operate the new farms? Few urbanites dream of a career in farming. Few are trained to do this.
Design will need to become a part of the solution. Technology will be an enabler. There is literally no way to feed millions with traditional soil-based techniques that rely on vast amounts of land and water.
At FuturArc, we believe the answers to these questions will emerge and when they do, they will...