Today, most of the population is living in urban areas, and farming is still contained in rural areas. Now due to this, our food travels thousands of miles before it reaches us. During that time, our fruits and vegetables lose a considerable amount of nutritional value; for example, spinach loses about 50-90% of its vitamin C within 24 hours of being picked.
Similarly, Vitamin C, E, and B are all important antioxidants that protect against diseases. These vitamins are particularly sensitive to time. That means we aren’t eating food as nutritious as we assume we are eating!
Then ideally, our food must be grown right where we live. This will not only give us healthy, nutritious food but also reduce food wastage worldwide. According to the statistics, about 40% of the food is wasted due to the pre and post-harvest losses. 40% is a significant number and a prominent figure when we live in a world where many families sleep hungry.
Immensely few urban dwellers grow for themselves and are self-sufficient; as a result, centralized food systems have replaced the community-centred model of food production and distribution. This has resulted in a fragile globalized system that threatens our food security.
Today, most consumers have no idea where their food is coming from, how it’s being transported, and who is growing it. This leads to distrust, as we all have heard that our food is produced using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Currently, many contemporary farmers are forced to adapt their farming methodologies to industrial techniques that highly resource-dependent and focus on higher outputs with chemical and mechanical inputs, GMOs, and resource exploitation. The quantity has increased by significantly compromising the quality, which has also led to exploiting people and the planet.
We can not continue consuming that. The question here is, how can we change this?
Certain urban farmers say that the next agricultural revolution will be a digital revolution where agriculture will become information-driven, bringing radical changes to the food system. Also, urban farms will be made, and agriculture will be decentralized. Though that is still a far fetched dream, it has already begun. Many startups have stepped into this domain and started working on newer techniques and new systems.
The good thing is, people are getting educated about these concerns today and have started reviving the local food movement. Entrepreneurs focus on sustainability and bringing back the local nutritious food to our table and generating awareness.
It’s time we start looking for such solutions around us and adopting urban farming and supporting these entrepreneurs. Also, we must reconsider the spaces in our backyards, terraces, and balconies. They are excellent places to start with our home gardens. The produce might not be enough, or you might be too busy with your daily life to spend time with your plants, or some might say that they don’t have the appropriate knowledge to start growing at home.
Remember, a few minutes spent from your schedule on learning and growing can improve your health many folds and save a lot of hospital bills, maybe. Urban farming techniques have automated growing processes and have made growing easier than ever. Many of them are easy to start in compact spaces too. All that you need towards living a healthier life is your single decision to start and a few minutes of your weekly schedule!
About the author: Palak Kumar is an insatiably curious Mechanical Engineering student, passionate about flying, clouds, literature, and plants, working towards revolutionizing Indoor Vertical Growing.