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  • Writer's pictureFrancis Chuah

Challenges of Urban Farming


Defining urban farming is challenging due to a broad set of expectations generated from it. It ranges from small-scale community farming that aims to feed anyone close in the vicinity, to large-scale technological innovations that aim to feed the city.

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Despite the gap between these two ends of the spectrum, one can agree that the rise in urban farming is a critical reaction to the industrial food supply chain; a shift from economic approach to food to a social orientation in which urban farming is instrumental for a sustainable food system.


The surging interest in urban farming does not warrant an equivalent rise in the economics of farming. In fact, urban farming is not as novel as it appears to be. Advanced urban farming had been experimented in developed countries but was discontinued due to insufficient demand. For example, the failure of the first-ever PFAL that was developed in the USA back in the 70s due to high power consumption but low efficiency.

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Secondly, urban farming requires high operational costs. Urban farmers usually struggle to balance between generating income, paying salaries, and affording vital resources for farm management. Beginner urban farmers who have started out of interest may find themselves in a difficult and competitive position where the market not only demands for their farming skills but also a business-savvy mindset.

Resources and Pollution

Providing constantly accessible energy for urban farms within a growing city with millions of people is burdensome. Urban farms and city developers will constantly compete for land and space, resulting in urban farmers compromising with infertile land for agricultural activities. Depending on the method of urban farming, it may cause air pollution (e.g. odour from livestock); or overcharging the city’s energy grid (e.g. vertical farming).

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Some may even argue that urban farming is counterproductive because food is grown in already-polluted city areas. Furthermore, stereotypes that soilless farming methods produce ‘artificial’ food that is nutrient-deficient still permeates the public, resulting in scepticism toward urban farming.

However, the rise of every challenge comes with the opportunity to thrive. In Urban Farm Tech, we believe in preparation for the future, and that includes our relentless pursuit for the advancement of urban farming technology. Stay tuned for our next article where we will be exploring the opportunities of urban farming for sustainable city development.

Want to know how to get started with your own vegetable farm at home through urban farming? Simply reach out to us at or give us a call at

+6012 666 7474 and look for Francis.

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