IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON FOOD SECURITY AND PROPOSED SOLUTIONS FOR THE MODERN CITY
Food security is achieved when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life (FAO). The maintenance of food security is an increasing challenge for modern cities where natural resources (especially arable land) are limited. One key food resource of mankind is vegetable that contains most of the essential components of human nutrition. However, fresh vegetables are perishable and cannot be stocked. To secure reliable vegetable supplies, modern cities such as Singapore need to increase local vegetable production to a certain level of self-sufficiency since erratic climatic conditions can affect the production via traditional methods. Thus urban farming through the adoption of the enabling powers of technology can offer a solution. We have used novel aeroponics technology to produce fresh vegetables in Singapore since 1997. This innovative system allows production of all vegetables, all year round by simply cooling the roots while the aerial parts grow under tropical ambient environments. While it is not possible for arable land to be expanded horizontally, an urban farming system could increase production area through vertical extensions. Vertical stacking of troughs is constrained by the weight factor of the troughs. This could however be resolved through the lightweight aeroponic system. Furthermore, crop management techniques on aeroponic can further enhance crop growth and this could also boost productivity beyond that achieved even by more efficient use of land area. For instance, efficient delivery of the nutrient solution, introduction of higher levels of CO2 to root-zone and mitigate the level of growth inhibitor such as ethylene within the aeroponic system can increase crop growth rate, further enhancing farming efficiency. We could also adopt newly developed light sources such as LEDs for vertical aeroponic farming system to promote uniform plant growth while saving energy. Improving the utilisation of available land via novel engineering and plant physiological solutions, will offer an efficient model of a vertical farm suitable for large scale vegetable production in the modern city.
He, J. and Lee, S.K. (2013). IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON FOOD SECURITY AND PROPOSED SOLUTIONS FOR THE MODERN CITY. Acta Hortic. 1004, 41-52
aeroponic culture, food security, LED lighting, photosynthesis, productivity, vertical farming