Friday, November 4, 2011


It is said that "necessity is the mother of invention"! How true it is, can be gauged from a look back into history to trace the origin of most discoveries which were all made to meet specific needs of humanity. The new urban farming concept unveiled recently in the Netherlands is some thing beyond the imagination of ordinary mortals because of its sheer audacity and magnitude. Urban areas any where in the world give the images of swanky buildings, sky-kissing towers, endless highways and roads, shopping malls etc and they definitely are not associated with farming operations. There have been reports about terrace farming, gorilla gardening, suburban gardening, inner city gardens, corporate gardening, etc taking place in some cities and there is even a project in Canada to combine super market and roof top gardening so that consumers are offered field fresh produce items! More brazen in its design, the new Urban Garden proposed is 4000 Ha in size in the middle of a city with three separate climate zones capable of producing practically every crop needed by a million plus population in the area. Here is a report about the project which is mind boggling in terms of size and spread.       

"Big cities are rarely home to thriving farmlands, but a group of Dutch architects hope to change that with the "Park Supermarket" -- an urban farming project that will attempt to grow and sell all the food of a modern supermarket in one place. The firm behind the proposal, Rotterdam-based Van Bergen Kolpa Architects, intends to produce everything from risotto rice, to kiwis to Tilapia fish all on one 4,000-acre plot of disused land in Randstad, Holland's largest metropolitan area". 

While one cannot underestimate the determination of the pioneers to see through the project, there are several uncertainties and challenges before them. Some of the technologies unveiled for growing diverse crops requiring Mediterranean, Tropical and other congenial climates are still to be tested for their feasibility. Crop protection procedures are yet to be worked out. The logistics of operation may pose innumerable challenges, Still given the determination on the part of the promoters, there is no reason to believe that the project might not come off. The million dollar question is whether there is sufficient potential for replication of this model in other cities of the world where urban lands are not easily available and even if available cost a fortune to acquire. Still the modern day entrepreneur-cum "dreamers" who are behind the project deserve full compliments.


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