- Widespread lockdowns are pushing urban residents to grow their own fruit and vegetables from their homes.
- Panic buying had led to bare shelves in supermarkets, leading to a boom in urban farming
Coronavirus lockdowns are pushing more city dwellers to grow fruit and vegetables in their homes, providing a potentially lasting boost to urban farming, architects and food experts said.
Panic buying in some countries during the crisis has led to empty supermarket shelves and an uptick in the purchase of seeds, according to media reports.
“More people are thinking about where their food comes from, how easily it can be disrupted, and how to reduce disruptions,” said landscape architect Kotchakorn Voraakhom, who designed Asia’s largest urban rooftop farm in Bangkok.
“People, planners and governments should all be rethinking how land is used in cities. Urban farming can improve food security and nutrition, reduce climate change impacts, and lower stress,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
More than two-thirds of the world’s population is forecast to live in cities by 2050, according to the United Nations.
Urban agriculture can be crucial to feeding them, potentially producing as much as 180 million tonnes of food a year – or about 10% of the global output of pulses and vegetables, according to a 2018 study published in the journal Earth’s Future.
The coronavirus outbreak is not be the first time that concerns about food security have led to more kitchen gardens.
During World War One, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson asked Americans to plant “Victory Gardens” to prevent food shortages.