Though this is a day of honouring measures taken in protecting the environment, let’s also take a look at what we commonly take for granted – nature’s harvest, served on our dinner table. While fresh produce are mostly accessible, are you aware of what goes on in the process of food production? Do you know of the effects that the agriculture industry has on our environment?
The main consequence of the agriculture industry – especially one that overextends its production line – is soil erosion. This causes the deterioration of the soil as the topmost layer of soil wears away due to erosive agents like wind, water or mass movement! Though It occurs naturally under climatic conditions, it is significantly accelerated by unsustainable human activities like overharvesting involved in agriculture.
While the answer is yes, an inch of topsoil takes at least 500 years to form – about 6 times of our average lifespan!
The question beckons – why does overharvesting occur when it’s detrimental to our environment then? The answer? To fulfill the increasing demands and expanding market needs. This exacerbates the deterioration of soil quality as plant tissues and soil minerals are stripped upon harvest, depleting the nutrients in them. Without proper care, the soil will eventually turn infertile and subsequently affect the quality of crop yields – generating provisions with far less nutrients.
Unquestionably, these effects directly impact our daily lives from price hikes, as well as environmental disruptions which causes disasters such as floods and landslides in urban settings, affecting our wildlife friends and urban infrastructures. The question is then – How can we address this? What are the alternatives available to help alleviate the negative effects of traditional farming on the environment?
The answer: Sustainable agriculture – farming through sustainable methods that meets the needs of society without compromising the wellbeing of the environment for future generations. One such initiative is located right here in the heart of communities in Sunway City Kuala Lumpur – Sunway XFarms.
An initiative led by Sunway Innovation Labs (Sunway iLabs), Sunway XFarms is an urban agricultural farm prioritising sustainable farming to grow fresh, nutritious and fresh produce using soil-less smart farming systems.
The 50,000-sq. ft. urban farming innovation hub with an indoor and outdoor farm cultivates more than 18 types of vegetables. Through the Farm’s hydroponics system, the plants grow under controlled, nutrient-rich environments without the use of soil. In addition, the Farm uses 90% less water as compared to traditional farming via a circular watering system where water is recycled. If that isn’t impressive enough, aquaponic farming and vertical farming systems that are all environmentally-friendly will make full use of space by stacking trays vertically, producing 30 to 40% more yield!
Not only that, sustainable agricultural farms like Sunway XFarms are 100% free of pesticides, using only natural organic repellents – say good riddance to harmful chemicals commonly used in traditional farming!
The lovely farmers also practise same-day harvest and fresh greens will be delivered to consumers within five hours to retain maximum freshness. As the urban farms in Sunway City Kuala Lumpur are located close to consumers, you’ll be able to enjoy locally-produced vegetables with an ease of mind knowing that lesser carbon footprint and food wastage are produced in the process of food travel!
With the latest smart precision farming technology, Sunway XFarms utilises Internet of Things sensors to monitor individual plant health, resulting in enhanced crop health and farm productivity. This controlled environment helps reduce unhealthy crops that would go to waste. If there are any unhealthy yields however, any vegetable scraps will be recycled or made into fertilisers through composting. Sunway XFarms also uses sustainable packaging such as paper bags to pack the vegetables for consumers. All in all, our efforts are to eliminate as much waste as possible from planting to delivering harvest.
Sustainable agriculture is the future of food security. With agricultural lands deteriorating rapidly, urban farming is a sustainable solution where under-utilised city areas can be transformed into green spaces, further our commitment to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs).
With the mission to scale urban farming initiatives and collaborate with ecosystem partners to improve Malaysia’s food safety and security, Sunway City Kuala Lumpur we aim to grow a sustainable community, where everyone has access to healthy and delicious food!
You can support local food production and enjoy XFarm’s fresh produce by subscribing to be a Growner! Growners get to access a small plot of the urban farm and enjoy pesticide-free vegetables and fruits weekly without the hassle of managing the farm themselves. If you’re not ready to commit to a subscription just yet, do consider trying out a Happy Bag to have a taste of their yummy greens.