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Why Grey is trying its hand at urban farming
When people talk about climate change, the discussion quickly revolves around energy and transportation. While these are two key issues that need our attention, there’s a third aspect that should not be overlooked: agriculture and food.
Did you know that reducing food waste - industrial and individual - counts among the top three potential solutions to reverse global warming? Deforestation and industrial agriculture practices are destroying natural habitats and soils at an unprecedented rate. Yet, one-third of what gets produced does not land on our tables - a puzzling data point.
While there’s an immediate need to reduce the use of fossil fuels and make our transportation greener, we equally need to rethink the entire food supply chain, from how we grow to what we eat.
In an abundant world, we tend to take our food for granted. But more and more the distance between where our food comes from, and what we put on our plates is so massive that we actually have no clue what we are eating.
From farming to processing to packing and distributing, what will it take to reverse some of the worst sins in our food supply chain? Is that just another one of those wicked messes that no individual can really impact? The answer, as with many of the big global challenges of our time, is: start with yourself and start small, because every little step matters.
At Grey Singapore, we believe that it is everybody’s responsibility to do their part in advancing the UN’s Sustainability Goals. We have a number of clients with whom we work on Climate Change-related initiatives and it is also important to us to push ourselves beyond the obvious basics of good office management (banning single-use plastics, moving towards a paperless office, etc.) into new behaviours.
This is where Urban Farming comes in. Originally invented as an alternative for cities and other environments that are limited in space, Urban Farming has quickly expanded into a proper global industry. Now, a host of hydroponics DIY kits under SGD $100 means anyone can get in on the act.
If you had asked me a few years ago whether I was interested in any innovation in the agri-tech space, I would have been confused by just the question. Fast forward to today, we have a small Aeroponics set up (similar to Hydroponics, except that the plants are not permanently underwater but regularly misted through a timer) that gets us closer to where our food comes from.
We essentially act as organic farmers who seed, nurture and harvest monthly – without the use of any chemicals or pesticides. Not only does this create purpose and community in the agency, but it also encourages us all to reflect on what we eat, where it comes from and whether we are making good daily choices for our health and our planet.
If you happen to be the area, do join us at our next Grey salad lunch!
Konstantin Popovic is Singapore CEO of Grey group.
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