Over the weekend, I gave a talk at a conference in downtown Singapore. The conference is called FutureME and showcases emerging ideas, innovation and trends shaping our future. There were a few speakers addressing urban farming and local food. I guess that people in Singapore are becoming more concerned about food issues.
My talk was probably the shortest. It is a story of three locally grown vegetables. It is a response to the many high-tech growing systems that I am starting to see more of only recently. Hydroponics, aeroponics, aquaponics, indoor growing, soil-less growing, etc.
Technology is great and I am happy that people are trying to use it to solve problems. However the design and thinking behind has to be whole. In solving a problem, you might very well be creating many more new problems. In increasing Singapore’s food resilience, you might end up more reliant on imported water, imported energy, imported plastics, and imported chemical fertilizers.
Some of the speakers responded that their plastics and chemical nutrients are manufactured in Singapore. They might be if you disregard the imported petrochemicals and minerals needed for manufacturing. This is an obsession with local for the sake of local, not too different from Singapore bringing in table tennis players from China to win medals for Singapore.
Here are my presentation slides. It is short and the key message can be understood without me talking.