Singapore invests in urban food production technology (March 2011 unemployment rate 1.9%) while New York City invests in urban dirt farming. With the exception of Gotham Greens, that's where the grant money is going. (May 2011 NYC unemployment rate 7.9%, U.S. 9.2% June 2011)
A local inventor has come up with a way, in land-scarce S’pore, to increase the supply of leafy vegetables.
You could call it a veggie-go-round.
And it is the brainchild of local inventor Jack Ng, 48, of privately owned DJ Engineering.
With the help of the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), he has come up with a solution to make vegetable farming yield five times more produce than it normally can with the same amount of land.
He has done this with minimal resources by coming up with vertical contraptions known as tower farms.
The six metre-tall structures are energy-efficient as they are easy and cheap to maintain.
The tower uses only 1kW of electricity per hour for its water pump which distributes 1kg of water to rotate 22 racks.
It costs $10,000 to set up one tower.
The prototype farm, which consists of 19 towers, occupies 1,000 sq m of land at Sembawang Research Centre.
National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan, who visited the farm at its launch on Jan 28, was pleased at the prospect of spreading the idea to all the local vegetable farms.
“Farming leafy vegetables tends to be very land-intensive so innovative systems like this can improve the productivity of local farms,” Mr Mah said.
Mr Ng has started a company called Sky Greens. The $1 million project aims to produce vegetables on a commercial scale by year-end and to market vertical farming.