A Small Glimpse of Urban Farming Technology in Singapore

Done by Jeremy Solomon, uni: js5636

  1. Between the population exponentially increasing and the effects of climate change that are becoming increasingly evident, the issue of food insecurity is one that must be considered. These issues are exacerbated in urban areas because of the large population density and the lack of land for farming. I believe these issues can touch all of the categories of sustainability that we were given to choose from: Energy, Water, Waste, Civic Engagement, Safety and Health. However, I would consider the core category(ies) to be safety and health, and possibly waste.


  • The article briefly acknowleges that Singapore is a land scarce city as well as the effects of climate change as the main reasons that urban farming innovation is a necessity.
  • The first innovation that is happening in Singapore is from Insectta. which is an urban farm that focuses on breeding black soldier fries for the purpose of ultimately turning food waste into biomaterial for uses in various industries. One single kilo of fly larvae can consume four kg of waste in 24 hours. The biomaterial is then somehow extracted from the larvae (the article does not go into process details) and used to produce components for electronics, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.
  • Another technology that is discussed includes an Eco-Ark. This is a fish farm that is almost the size of two basketball courts that floats on the eastern side of Singapore. It uses treated seawater that is engineered to farm fish effectively and “safely”. It has solar panels on the roof that supply the farm with about 20% of its necessary electricity (not great…). There are also a number of additional safety measures taken, including producing their own oxygen, treating any water before it is deposited into the sea, and a “post-harvest” process that somehow improves the mortality of the farmed fish.
  • There has been about $45.2 million USD of Singaporean Government investment into farming technology, as well as $23 million Singapore dollars from the Sustainable Urban Food Production grant to pay for some R & D efforts.

Article Title: Singapore’s urban farmers seek high-tech solutions to turn waste into resources

Website Name: CNBC

Website Link: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/11/singapores-urban-farmers-seek-high-tech-solutions-to-turn-waste-into-resources.html

3. Stakeholders include:

  • City Residents
  • Trade Allies
  • Farmers

4. The first step in deploying a sustainable farming operation is to secure the necessary funding to complete the project. This can be from sources such as fedoral or local grants, but they can also come from private investment, or a public private partnership.

The second step would be sourcing personnel that is capable of building and maintaining such an operation. I.e. find some people smarter than you! You can’t do it all yourself!

Next, would be to secure a location to build. This would be very dependant on the amount of funding secured in step one! This would consist of searching, touring, negotiating, planning, etc.

Urban (vertical) Farming

Sustainability Problem: 

By 2050, the world’s population is expected to swell to 9.6billion, with around 66% living in urban areas. This projection is leaving many cities wondering how they will feed all those people.

Solution: A Swedish food-tech company called Plantagon is proposing that cities consider building what it calls “plantscrapers” — office towers that contain giant indoor farms. Plantagon is constructing its first plantscraper in Linköping, Sweden.

  • Called The World Food Building, the tower will operate hydroponically, meaning vegetables (mostly greens) will grow without soil in a nutrient-rich, water-based solution.
  • This building will produce approximately 550 tons of vegetables annually — enough to feed around 5,500 people each year.
  • The front of the 16-story tower will include the farm, while the back will include the offices. About two-thirds of the building will be devoted to offices, while the other third will include a huge indoor farm.
  • The crops will grow using both natural sunlight and LEDs. The LEDs will be calibrated to specific light frequencies to maximize production.
  • Robots will perform many of the farm’s processes, keeping operational costs down.
  • Compared to an outdoor farm of the same size, the plantscraper will generate more food while using less land and water. The tower will save 1,100 tons of CO2 emissions and 13 million gallons of water annually.
  • This plantscraper will include a spiraled food production line, which automatically moves the plants from the bottom to the top and back again while they grow. The length of the cycle would depend on the crop, but would normally take 30 days
  • This project demonstrates how to feed cities of the future when they lack land, water, and other resources

Stakeholders: City municipality, builders and contractors, urban farming specialist, large multinational companies

Deployment: Construction of this $40 million building began in 2012, and it’s set to open by early 2020.

  • City administration and planners should visit Plantagon and meet its management to understand the technology, landscape, city issues and administrative challenges.
  • City should engage large multinational companies, including large food retail giants operating within the city, who may be willing to rent / invest space in such buildings
  • For engagement, best practice sharing and leading towards solutions – there will be need to conduct round-table discussions and conference between urban framing specialist, building contractors, developers, investors and city administrators
  • Since this is longterm solution and will need time to implement, learn from Plantagon’s experience once its operational in 2020.


Comment on other post:

Nature-inspired water collection system


  1. Sustainability Problem: In the next few decades, approximately 9 billion people will live in this planet, concentrating in urban areas. The current growth rate of food production won’t be enough to feed the mouths of everyone. Hence, a sustainable local food production solution will be in demand. Mimicking the way nature works, NexLoop created a water collection system to support urban sustainable agriculture.
  2. The AquaWeb can help urban local food producers collect, filter, store and distribute atmospheric moisture with a modular, all-in-one water sourcing and management system. Other features are as follows:
    • Harnesses freely available rain and fog
    • Distribute water using passive strategies to urban farms
    • Resilient to disturbances
    • Design and inspiration from cribellate orb weaver spider, drought-tolerant plants, and Jersey cow mushroom


Nature-inspired water collection system wins $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize® – Biomimicry Institute


NexLoop | Home


  1. Stakeholders:
    • Citizens around the world
    • Urban farms
    • Agriculture industry
    • Building contractors and architects
    • Groceries and supermarkets
  2. Next steps:
    • Do a feasibility study and engage with stakeholders to improve relations
    • Reach an agreement on costs and economic outlook
    • Initiate pilot-scale project through government funding


By: Timothy Wiranata

UNI: tw2618


Comment on The benefits of waste-to-energy technologies:

“A very interesting technology! However, I am curious on what will be done after the methane is captured. There will still be the liquid waste water right? Will it be used for other applications?”

Designer Davorin Mesari turns city residents into farmers

Sustainability Technology: Designer Davorin Mesari has created an indoor garden made up of 16 individual growing pods, allowing city dwellers with minimal space to grow fruits and vegetable. The growing units are stackable, so output can be doubled without compromising precious urban space.

Sustainability Problem: Access to Healthy Foods

According to Harvard’s School of Public Health’s website, “A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar which can help keep appetite in check.”  They confirm that while all fruits and vegetables contribute to health benefits, “green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and mustard greens” are some of the most important health contributors.  Despite these findings, many urban dwellers find themselves too busy to cook a healthy meal and rely instead on take out, delivery, or processed foods which are often unhealthy.  More often than not, these items are packaged in such a way that contribute to negative environmental impacts. Davorin Mesari’s innovative product, aptly named ‘Indoor Garden’  allows city residents to grow produce healthy food in the comfort of their apartments. This inventive technology creates an indoor modern garden that is powered by fluorescent lighting which mimics the natural solar spectrum allowing urban denizens to grow their own healthy vegetables and greens at home without creating unnecessary waste, and thus making the production of a healthy meal not only easy but more accessible.

Davorin Mesari’s state-of-the-art technology could be implemented in a central setting, such as a school or community center, as an urban agricultural project offering locally grown produce into a food desert, or area where there is limited access to healthy, fresh food. One issue with urban farming is finding the land on which to farm and ensuring that the soil is not contaminated.  With ‘Indoor Garden,’ you don’t need to find land on which to farm or worry about soil as the units come with growing pods and are stackable to maximize indoor space. Moreover, these units can serve as educational devices, and, once installed, can showcase the cultivation, harvesting, and the preparation of healthy meals.

Technology Stakeholders:

  • Urban Residents
  • Schools
  • Community Centers
  • Urban Farmers
  • Farm to Table Enthusiasts

Process of Implementation: 

Step 1: Introduce this new technology through an educational workshop to a community group or school and describe the feasibility of implementation.

Step 2: Based on local interest and available funding, establish a site for implementation.

Step 3: Work with local businesses to attract further financing (if necessary) by creating excitement around the new technology.

Step 4: Once funds are raised and site is established, buy 5 units for testing and establish a protocol to ensure maintenance of product.

Step 5: Collect feedback from community group/school and establish ways to enhance the next phase or implementation at a second site.


Yanko Design’s ‘Cultivation in the City by Troy Turner

The Nutrition Source (Vegetables and Fruits)

Starting A City Farm

Aquaponic greenhouses, redefining urban farming



Aquaponic greenhouses on city rooftops that help grow organic greens, mushrooms, herbs and other plants with the help of waste from fish and prawns that also grow in mini-farms.

Article: https://techcrunch.com/2015/09/01/edenworks-is-building-the-future-of-food-on-urban-rooftops/?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
and http://www.techinsider.io/edenworks-brooklyn-vertical-farm-2016-5

Sustainability challenge:

It doesn’t always take a major natural disaster for us to notice the urban food scarcity around us. With the growth of cities, comes the additional challenge of feeding the growing urban populations. The same old farming practices in the same old places are not sufficient anymore to cater to the increasing food demand within cities, let alone withstanding the looming threat of climate change. Reducing the distance (and cost and emissions) of food from farm to plate, and revamping our existing farming practices is crucial to tackle the urban food scarcity problem.


  • Urban dwellers
  • Urban farmers + companies
  • Urban ecosystems
  • Grocery stores/ Supermarkets/ Restaurants
  • Bioengineers (and people with the technology knowledge)

Process of implementation:

I am using the example of a successful urban farming company, Edenworks, mentioned in the above mentioned articles. This company has implemented an aquaponics system in a greenhouse on rooftops in Brooklyn, New York. This company produces organic vegetable and fish using the technology (an image explain the tech is available below). They sell this to supermarkets, restaurants and other food vendors that want locally produced organic food. They brought together the bioengineers to increase the efficiency of the process (using the right bacteria, vertical structures, environment controlled greenhouses, sensors and apps).