Food and diet in the Philippines get a bad rap for good reasons. Like a lot of island nations, there is a growing trend towards obesity-related health problems. Most food there is imported. The Philippines has one of the highest numbers of fast-food restaurants per-capita in the world. But food tech entrepreneurs, like Ralph Becker, are working to change some of this.
Ralph Becker inspecting produce in one of his vertical farms
Ralph, the founder of Urban Greens, is combining technology with sustainability to sell local, pesticide-free, vertical-farm-produced produce to restaurants. Inspired by a stint in Japan where he saw plant factories producing food in the middle of big cities, he built a vertical farm prototype as a side project for fun. He didn't expect a business to blossom from it. However, he noticed how interested friends and family were in his little "window farm". Concurrently, he saw an abundance of unused outdoor and indoor spaces around him in Manila. A business opportunity came to mind--he could grow healthy food on underutilized rooftops and basements to help offset the typical imported and processed staples so prevalent in the Philippines. Just the presence of vertical farms on a neighbor's balcony could be an opportunity to help educate people about food.