The Covid-19 pandemic upended life as most people knew it. From the convenience of always being able to get anything from shops around the corner, they were suddenly faced with the possibility of not being able to get enough food and even toilet paper, leading to the panic buying that took place when lockdowns were declared around the world.
Darren Tan, head of education and community outreach at ComCrop, Singapore’s urban farming pioneer, believes that it made most people realise the importance of having food grown closer to home.
On its website, ComCrop says it grows food on rooftops near where communities live, by reinvigorating marginalised spaces and embracing a marginalised workforce to grow and harvest the highest quality pesticide-free food in Singapore.
Tan was one of the speakers at WIEF Foundation’s Young Leaders Network virtual Idealab 2020 Series. His topic, “Enticing youth to agribusiness”, addressed worrying trends such as global food insecurity and the rising average age of farmers (the most recent being 59.4 years in 2019, according to Integrated Food Security Phase Classification).
Tan points out that the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the need for food security, now more than ever.
But how do we go about growing our own food? “It is interesting to note that the science of hydroponics has been studied in much detail since the 1970s and much of what is practised now is not very different from what we learnt then, except for the greater detail.”