Signal: The Rise of Urban Farming
Each month, Weber Shandwick’s Trends in Two Minutes outlines trends impacting businesses throughout Asia Pacific. Today, exploring how urban farming is rapidly shifting from hobby to industry in the wake of the pandemic.
In recent years, urban city dwellers have become increasingly engaged with the practices of urban farms and community vegetable gardens. In 2017, the United Nations estimated over 800 million people around the world were engaged with some form of ‘urban agriculture’ on a regular basis.
However, following the turmoil of 2020, urban farming has rapidly transitioned from a popular hobby to a potentially life-saving industry. With pandemic lockdowns, disrupted supply chains, extreme weather events, and profound inequity, urban farming is being embraced as a new paradigm by individuals and businesses alike.
For example, London has just seen the launch of a vertical farm delivery service – with produce grown in skyscrapers being delivered within 24 hours of being picked. Brazil’s largest urban farm project has been helping sustain over 800 families throughout the pandemic with fresh produce delivered daily.
It’s a development that resonates with several concurrent trends. In addition to the reduced carbon footprint generated by short supply chains, urban farming also appeals to the post-pandemic consumer preference for local investment and community urban farms have been suggested as a solution in Singapore for loneliness among the elderly.
Urban farming is expected to have a substantial impact in Asia, in particular. Beyond the ongoing supply chain disruption of a region with widely differing strategies for managing the pandemic, Asia’s extant history of agricultural technology innovation and prevalence of population density makes urban farming both promising and practical for the region.
For brands and communicators, the rise in urban farming has many potential ramifications – creating new touchpoints and delivery methods for different industries and demographics as well as signposting a potential major shift of urban architecture incorporating a much greater amount of innovative green space.
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