Urban Farming: The Final Hurrah!

This semester’s auto-ethnographic exploration of urban farming practices and their potential solicitation to Asian populations has been one met with great excitement and eagerness.

As discussed in blog posts from previous weeks, Urban Farming is a practice which holds great potential and value for addressing the imminent food crisis at which Asia find itself at the grips of. As Salim et. al. explain, “urban farming or urban agriculture refers to the farming activities in urban areas, which are commonly used for income or food. It contributes to food security, food safety and improve the quality of the environment and greening the country, especially the urban area” (2019)

Of course, it was virtually impossible for us to travel to Asia in order to investigate how urban farming practices might play out in reality. Which is why the auto-ethnographic experience of our research was so valuable. By applying my own cultural framework to this practice, I have endeavoured to become a “participant observer”, as Ellis et. al. argue, which can be achieved by “taking field notes of cultural happenings as well as their part in and others’ engagement with these happenings”.

Our group began with Twitter as a field site for our research as we live tweeted during a screening of the documentary “Plant This Movie” (2014). Using the custom hashtag #BCM320UF, we were able to document our epiphanies in real time and to therefore use these realisations as data in our research. During this experiment, I had numerous epiphanies, but one which stood out to me the most was the fact that in 2014, the most irrigated crop in the United States was lawn. This fact, alongside many others, was one of the greatest driving motivations behind my further research and application to this project.

And so, from here, we endeavoured to construct our own version of an urban garden, demonstrated in the video shown below. The growing trend towards urban farming in China is further explained by Pinghui (2012), who argues that “the generally limited space of tiny balconies has inspired some extremely creative gardens, with owners finding additional uses for everyday objects”. She writes that the standard sized balcony of about six square metres would “only be enough to feed a family two days a month”, for urban farmers, “the expression “fruits of labour” takes on a very literal meaning, and it makes the effort that much more rewarding when it bears fruit” (Pinghui, 2012).

All in all, this project has been a highly interesting exploration of urban farming, and its prospective significance for Asian markets. I will certainly be adopting some of these practices on my own balcony heading into the future, and look forward to a fresh crop of basil ready for harvesting very soon.

References:

Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1. Available at: http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095

Pinghui, Z 2012, Urban farming a growing trend in China. [Online]
Available at: https://www.scmp.com/business/china-business/article/1018114/urban-farming-growing-trend-china
[Accessed 14 October 2019].

Salim, Siti & Alaa, Musaab & Yusof, Zawiyah & Ibharim, Laili & Salim, Siti & Hashim, Fazian. (2019). Urban Farming Activities in Southeast Asia: A Review and Future Research Direction. MATEC Web of Conferences. 266. 02010. 10.1051/matecconf/201926602010.

Published by susiealdermann

Fifth Year Bachelor of Communications and Media/ Bachelor of International Studies (Dean's Scholar) student

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