Urban farming was initially a response to the lack of agricultural farmers who can accommodate the rising demands from all over the country — particularly from major cities. Not only does it make food more accessible and affordable, but it minimizes a large amount of waste caused by inefficient supply chain-management.
Metro Manila is experiencing a revolution: a green revolution. Over the past couple of years, developers have transformed business and entertainment districts into open, green spaces. Gone are the days of the traditional boxed shopping mall and office. Nowadays, you can find a garden growing where you shop — which means more choices to dine al fresco.
The real estate industry followed suit with several condominium properties already following the ‘green trend,’ advocating for lush green spaces and wide skylights.
Sustainable development was already a hot topic even before the widespread call for a comprehensive plastic ban. Green architecture was supposed to be the future — or at least the solution to a multitude of environmental problems.
Urban farming using greenhouse. Photo by Erwan Hesry | Unsplash

However, we may have been looking at it the wrong way this whole time. That is, the very problem we’ve been focusing on might be all wrong.

Beneath the success of sustainable development is actually a growing case of unsustainable expansion — read: water and food security shortages.

What’s the Big Deal?

Global food shortages have impacted the price of goods in the Philippines, making living conditions more and more difficult for a number of Filipinos. While a majority of cities in developing countries are struggling to generate income opportunities, an estimate by the World Bank shows that more than 50% of population already live in urban areas.

This is why major cities worldwide have integrated urban farming initiatives to meet food and water demands.
Urban farming was initially a response to the lack of agricultural farmers who can accommodate the rising demands from all over the country — particularly from major cities. Not only does it make food more accessible and affordable, but it minimizes a large amount of waste caused by inefficient supply chain-management.
According to The Ellen McArthur Foundation, 45 percent of perishable vegetables grown in Europe are wasted before they reach the table. However, that’s not the most important takeaway — premature food waste was discovered to be caused by long and inefficient supply chains.
Supply-chain management in the Philippines is known to have inadequate infrastructure and inefficient government bureaucracy. This results in overspending, insufficient distribution, and idle products that never make it out the door.
So where does urban farming fit in? It actually has a bigger impact than you think.
The table inside Odick’s garage is filled with more toys that he uses for display

Farming in the City

Urban farming isn’t just about gardening. When put into practice, it is directly integrated into the ecological and economical dynamics of a city.

Metro Manila has numerous unutilized spaces and areas that can become productive spaces for urban farming. The roofs of buildings, and even the walls, can be used for soil-less, hydroponic systems. With enough coverage, it can successfully narrow local supply-chains — think of production and distribution happening within your own neighborhood.
Urban resources are also great tools for farming. Government agencies have recently been struggling in the disposal of urban waste and waste water, which worsens the air and river quality in the city. Organic waste can be used as compost and urban waste water can be used for irrigation.
In turn, consumers can grow organic food right at their doorstep (or over their heads) while lessening pollution in their neighborhood and contributing to local economic growth.
This can potentially address soaring food prices and operational inefficiencies in the country. Not only that, but it can significantly decrease the harmful impact on our ecosystem.

Who’s Doing What

Urban farming has already been recognized by local government units as an asset for improving supply chains amongst small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The Quezon City government structures their urban policies and plans around urban farming programs.

Local entrepreneurs have also begun to see the value of urban farming in the Philippines — both commercially and environmentally. For stories on who are redefining sustainable development, check out what Green City is doing to Paint the Town Green.
Green City is currently on the research and development stage

They plan to release their findings and blueprints for free online. You can help them achieve their dream of painting the cities green by donating to their patreon

What can you do?

  • Read about Green City and watch their story
  • Support their patreon
  • Let us know what stories we should cover on urban farming by sending us an email: submit@offcrowd.com