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How smart food urban farming can improve city Resilience ?

Dr Purabi Mazumdar explains how smart food urban farming can improve city Resilience.
Close up of tightly packed microgreen seedlings in urban farm.
© Universiti Malaya

Resilience is defined as the ability of a system to absorb shocks of all kinds and adapt to changing conditions without losing any of its important functions. The concept of resilience in farming is the ability to tolerate and recover from disturbances in food security by several factors such as pandemics, climate change and socio-economic crises. The farming system should be resourceful, flexible, robust, and should have integrated characteristics which make them safe to fail in the face of any such challenges. For establishing resilience first step is identifying, assessing, and analysing the factors which can create constraints or disturbances in food production and supply.

Traditional farming and dependence on the global food supply chain may make farming highly vulnerable to shocks that can disrupt their current supply systems, the fragility of which was evident in many urban areas during the recent outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Hence, urban areas must take a lesson from this pandemic and be prepared with prompt measures for future crises.

Smart food Urban farming is a potential solution to improve the resilience capacity of farming through nutritious food production in a controlled environment in an urban setup such as a rooftop, building, or basement for the local and global food market. Key characteristics of successful smart food urban agriculture in the context of promoting urban community resilience are large-scale farming with high yield, an integrated farming system, safe for human health and the environment and inclusion in terms of knowledge and finance. Resilience has an important role in strengthening the livelihood and survival of vulnerable urban groups in the face of food insecurity stresses. It can be evaluated by exploring the contribution of smart food urban farming as part of urban community preparedness, response, and recovery in short and long-term impacts.

Smart food urban farming contributes to food security, environmental sustainability, and community building. In addition, urban farming can improve ecological resilience and social resilience. Social resilience comprises empowering the young generation to realise and be aware of the role and contribution of smart food urban agriculture to the urban communities and environment. These could be conceptualised as major drivers for sustainability and resiliency for urban communities.

© Universiti Malaya
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Agriculture: Smart Food Urban Farming

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