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Agroecology and Nutrition

Prachi Sharma's picture

Dear TECA members,

We would like to invite you to participate in our discussion on “Agroecology and Nutrition” with the objective to identify successful agroecological farming practices contributing to nutrition.

With growing concerns over biodiversity loss, climate change, and natural resource depletion, the call for more sustainable forms of agricultural production is gaining attention. At the same time hidden hunger, also known as micronutrient deficiencies, afflicts more than 2 billion individuals, or one in three people, globally. Agroecological approaches lead to diversified production systems, which enhance ecological and biological synergies and prevent environmental degradation and pollution. They also deliver more diversified and nutritious diets.

The design of diverse agroecological systems can significantly improve the quality of the diet; and can also ensure food security during the year by increasing the production of nutritious food. These systems rooted in ecological principles are based on system diversity and ecological synergies. They respect food habits and local habits, and are also based on traditional crops and varieties.

This upcoming discussion is to follow-up with our previous discussion on “Sustainable Farming through Agroecology” (http://teca.fao.org/discussion/sustainable-farming-through-agroecology).

We encourage individual farmers, farmer organizations, extension services, NGOs, researchers and every individual interested in agroecology to participate in the upcoming discussions and share your practices which have given positive results.

The discussion will take place from 20-Mar-2017 to 12-Apr-2017 and address the following questions:

a)      How do agro-ecological practices contribute to improve nutritional security?

b)      What are the benefits experienced by farmers in applying these kind of practices?

c)       What are the challenges that farmers face on the field to ensure nutritional security for themselves and their communities?

d)      What role can the social components of agroecology (such as collective organizing, gender equity and empowerment of farmers) play in nutrition outcomes?

e)      Do local markets encourage sustainable diets? What impacts do food environments (including different forms of markets) have on consumer behavior and health?

f)       What standards of food safety would better protect consumers and could be adapted by agroecological farmers and food processers?

 

We are happy to introduce our expert who will be able to answer your questions and share their experiences with us.

-          Maryam Rahmanian, Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services, FAO

-          Carolina Rizzi Starr, Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services, FAO

We are looking forward for your contributions and a fruitful discussion!

Hanna & Prachi

TECA Team

Comments

Nutrition is the cornerstone of good health and sustainable development throughout the world.  To be well nourished, every individual needs to have balanced intake of food in relation to the body’s dietary needs. In addition to balanced diets combined with regular physical activity, people need to be surrounded by safe and hygienic living environments and – particularly important for vulnerable people such as children and pregnant women - receive appropriate care. 

Unfortunately, malnutrition in its all forms still affects one in three people on the planet and, in some countries, chronic and acute undernutrition coexist with deficiency in key micronutrients (Vitamin A, iron) as well as with overweight, obesity and diet-related diseases. One main reason why malnutrition is still a challenge is that agriculture and the food systems are failing to deliver an adequate quantity of diverse and nutritious foods for healthy diets.

Conventional, industrial agriculture derives its productivity gains from mass production of a handful of staple crops, such as maize, rice and wheat; the same few crops are traded on a global scale. Overall, our food system favors specialization over diversification, which results in increased availability, affordability and consumption of a monotonous diet with limited number of energy-rich foods, as opposed to diverse and nutritious diets. Many traditional foods, food cultures and healthy dietary patterns are being lost and replaced by western diets.

By favoring diversification and prioritizing production and trade of diversified, nutritious foods and livestock - including local and traditional varieties, which often have superior nutritional qualities – agroecology can contribute to reverse this trend of simplification, and lead to more diverse diets with greater micronutrient intakes.  In agroecological systems, the use of biodiversity is enhanced through crop rotations, multi-cropping and companion planting, crop-livestock integration and agroforestry (which provides vitamin rich fruits). Diversification maintains and enhances ecosystems, which is the precondition for sustainable food security and nutrition.

Agroecology approaches are also an optimal platform for holistic nutrition education, which is a precondition to increase appreciation of, and demand for, healthy foods– including those traditional foods that have been forgotten - and to ensure that they are prepared, cooked and distributed in a way that in conducing to better nutrition for all household members.

Rongxiang Lin's picture

Since today is World Water Day, it makes sense starting my reply by suggesting that I am absolutely thirsty at this point of typing. Before I continue, we have to make some assumptions hence establishing a framework behind my motivations. One of my key assumptions here is that water precedes food in terms of nutritional security. In other words, water is more important than food in my definition of nutritional security. Having stated this, I further go about correlating the role of agro-ecological practices in improving water, food, and hence nutritional security.

Now, as a basis of discussing nutritional security, we have to understand what are the major factors that destroy nutritional security. I offer four non-exhaustive lines of thinking here, and how agroecological practices can assist:

  1. Natural Disasters
  2. Conventional Warfare
  3. Epidemics
  4. Failure of Social and Economic Frameworks

Natural Disasters

Singapore as an island republic is surrounded by geographical territories that protect the shores from most natural disasters. There are usually no earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, hurricanes or volcanic eruptions that directly affect the land area. Still, I can cite two examples. Firstly, Indonesia is one of the South East Asian countries often in the international news every year due to their approach of slash and burn agriculture, which often accidentally result in substantial forest fires that cause huge hazes in South East Asia during farming seasons. My role here is less about geopolitical critique, still, what we consider as agroecological practice includes cloud seeding. Cloud seeding has reportedly been done by South East Asian authorities as a form of weather modification that promotes cloud condensation via substances that are dispersed in the skies. Such practices can increase the amount of precipitation during hot weather, and this is one way that man made rain can help alleviate forest fires.

Secondly, Peninsular Malaysia as well as Southern Thailand in recent years have been facing a seasonal flooding that usually takes place during the December to February periods. Even though these floods are less than likely to be worse than those caused by hurricanes or tsunamis, they are disruptive by nature. What gets affected are the exports of palm oil and rubber while Malaysian residents usually blame the lack of proper drainage. From the perspective of Singapore, this can at times be negligible since our imports from Pahang at times are minimal, yet, from a broader viewpoint better irrigation, water channelling, drainage, flood control as well as water gates are what come to mind as possible improvisions with regard to overall nutritional security that may require certain expenses or labour.

Conventional Warfare

Today, Yemen is reportedly facing a dramatic increase of three million residents with food shortage. Nearly 17.1 million Yemenis out of more than 25 million face some degree of food insecurity. In the case of Yemen, Iraq and Syria, these are major humanitarian disasters that arise from conventional warfare, whether civil or international. In most cases, agro-ecological practices are rendered completely ineffective in face of insurgencies or terrorism. There could be solutions of course, yet, even interventions from the developed world are usually subject to debate or controversy. One of the best forms of agroecological practices in such war torn regions which by now potentially includes Somalia once more, is still humanitarian assistance in terms of food and water. Unless the killing ends, hunting and farming are at best based on survival instincts.

Epidemics

One of the more recent case of bird flu found near Singapore is probably at Kuantan, Pahang. Singapore does not import livestock from Pahang, as we were informed by our Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority. In general, all forms of poultry farming involve a certain degree of killing, and there is no real security when food involves the taking of lives. Since the SARS outbreak more than a decade ago, Singaporeans are often skeptical where poultry produces are involved. The skepticism may be deemed as healthy from a scientific viewpoint, because what has ensued is a period of biological science research in Singapore alongside the developed world, and this goes beyond medicinal prescriptions. As an ongoing potential example of an advanced agroecological practice, a laboratory based research arose out conventional burger patties, where stem cell cultivated i.e. artificial meat patties are grown on petri dishes and today are already ready for retail as a meat replacement in fast food restaurants.

Failure of Social and Economic Frameworks

The evolution of science and technology has also brought about a generation that are empowered via information from the world wide web, and who have witnessed the War on Terror as well as the multiple economic recessions over the past decades. These are often literatis that are willing to pick up a grubbing hoe and do some organic farming, which can of course be commercial yet often of a community nature. In South East Asia alone, such agro ecological practices are not rare, where either Americans or Britons till local natives put aside their city lifestyles in favour of teaching English till agriculture practices in the rural areas. The intention of course is educational, as most of the villagers living in South East Asia often are stuck in vicious cycles that render them illiterate and incapable of finding economically viable opportunities in the richer cities. With education as an underlying agroecological practice, economic development can and may also come about. While educational endeavours these may not necessarily raise farm production figures or trade volumes, one key area of empowerment is in enabling literacy amongst rural women. Literate rural women can be socially powerful and convincing, and their voices are not to be undermined on a usually chauvinistic planet Earth. More than this, I end off this discussion by suggesting that literate rural women often can end up as mothers, and there is nothing more profound than breast milk even to a wisest king.

May one and all be well, happy, safe and peaceful.

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Minza Chiwanga is a farmer in Chololo Ecovillage, in the drought vulnerable Dodoma region of Central Tanzania. She knows very well how agroecological practices can contribute to improve her family’s nutritional security. Her favourite practice is Intercropping.

She explains, “I am intercropping Macia sorghum and cowpeas together in rows. The cowpeas are now mature. I am drying the seeds and harvesting the leaves to feed my children. It’s a great benefit.“

Intercropping makes better use of natural resources and labour, safeguards against failure of a single crop, gives greater yield per unit area, and minimizes the spread of pests and diseases.

Minza plants a nitrogen-fixing legume (cowpeas) in between rows of her staple grain crop (sorghum), improving soil fertility, reducing evaporation through ground cover, and reducing soil erosion.

As a result Minza gets three nutritious crops from just one field, representing three essential food groups. The cowpea leaves can be harvested throughout the growing season and provide vitamin rich green vegetables. The cowpeas are harvested when mature, dried and stored, providing a protein rich addition to the family diet. Meanwhile the main sorghum crop provides a calorie-packed staple with a surprising amount of on-board nutrients including niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin, along with a substantial measure of protein and dietary fibre.

Click here for a one minute video of Minza in her intercropped field

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Prachi Sharma's picture

Dear Michael,

Thank you for sharing this practice of intercropping systems in Tanzania. It is nice to hear about positive experiences of the women from the field and how they manage the agroecological systems. Their knowledge on agroecology and its benefits, especially for nutrition of their children is inspiring.

Do you know if more farmers in the village are aware of nutritional benefits they could derive from such practices?

 

 

 

Rongxiang Lin's picture

In today's response, I will be citing several technology influenced advancements and how they bring about potential benefits here in Singapore amidst our evolving agroecology regional climate.

Temasek Rice

What excites me the most amongst ongoing scientific progresses in Singapore is notably Temasek Rice, the first and only rice variety produced and sold locally in Singapore. It is presented to local consumers as a hardy breed of grain that withstands floods as well as droughts. Now retailing at Meidi-Ya a Japanese hypermart in Singapore, Temasek Rice is cultivated by cross breeding conventional South East Asian jasmine rice with five other 'donor' breeds worldwide. The result is a rice stalk that is shorter and sturdier, hence less likely to topple in face of strong winds. Currently we are growing Temasek Rice in conjunction with Indonesia in Tasikmalaya, while further research is ongoing in a bid tackling with emerging bacterial strains. At this point of typing it presumably can withstand certain fungal and bacterial attacks, and hibernates almost two weeks when submerged in water. While the original jasmine rice purportedly 1.5 tonnes per hectare, Temasek Rice can sow up to six tonnes per hectare.

Meat Replacement

Epigenetics are interesting areas of scientific breakthroughs across the world. Apart from how natural greens can be nurtured, in the past year in vitro meat has seen breakthroughs worldwide and Singapore is known to be keeping a lookout of related developments. In vitro meat, in a way, is not meat. It is an approach of culturing muscle cells as blocks of lab grown patties on petri dishes. Since 2013 burgers made up of such in vitro meat patties have been consumable, and as of this year 2017 the USA is known to have successfully produced supermarket grade in vitro meat patties that may retail at prices slightly higher than McDonalds' beef burgers. The benefit is obvious, cattle cows and poultry animals are not reared in farms, and there is a noticeable absence of slaughter houses in delivering such cultured meat patties to the consumer market.

While we have contacted conventional farmers who are used to the notion that poultry has to involve killing, while meat has to be authentically cut fresh from the animals, modern examples of meat replacement are not new. In the example of California based VeganBurg which also operates an outlet here in Singapore opposite my parents' place, over years they have been retailing an organic plant-based dairy-free vegan burger option. Usually the patties are made of soy, still, the benefit that I am discussing here are how we can better our sustainable development objectives by minimising the amount of poultry killing simply with agroecological sciences as well as meat replacements like these.

Vertical Farming

Vertical farming is not going to see a major benefit in conventional horizontal farms, but the approach is easily comprehended and the benefit is usually simple: when we plant greens upwards whether in greenhouses or buildings, we save rental and space in dense city landscapes.

Vertical farms are still soil based. The difference is that by building these upwards climbing farms in PVC roofed greenhouses, they are potentially five to ten times more productive than a traditional farm. An example of how such "A-Gro-Gro" technology works involves a hydraulic water-driven low-carbon vertical system, where vegetables are grown in an "A" shaped modular frame. Each towering frame contains 22 till 26 tiers of growing troughs, that are rotated around at 1mm per second. This ensures uniform sunlight distribution as well as proper air flow and irrigation. Since electrical generators are not really required, the gravitational-operated pulley system does the rotation with less than few litres of water. In general, this kinetic energy is comparable with around a 60 watt lightbulb. The typical operational costs outside of fixed investments are just the soil and seed.

Once again, the benefit is not always obvious in countries with large geographical areas. Yet, in city landscapes, such vertical farms save up on rental since horizontal farms are usually not always affordable in the absence of large amounts of government subsidies.

There are many more ongoing research initiatives ongoing here in Singapore where agroecological best practices are concerned. One interesting one that I was reading up on was between Nestle, A*STAR and the National University Health Systems that aims at researching improvised bread that cuts blood sugar levels. Due to the broad and generic scopes of the myriad of such research programmes, I shall stop here and grab a drink instead. The photograph you can see is imho a small chamomile lot adjacent to an upcoming vertical farm that is recently completed here in Northwest Singapore.

 

 

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Hi, I would just like to cite from the IPES-Food report 'From Uniformity to Diversity: a paradigm shift from industrial agriculture to diversified agroecological systems' (2016) (p.39), which provides evidence of positive nutrition outcomes with agroecology: 

"As described in Section 1.a.iv, dietary diversity brings major health benefits. There is growing evidence to suggest that diversified farming can facilitate diverse diets among producer households without relying on the intermediary of international trade. However, intermediary factors (e.g. education, income, general health status) are particularly important when it comes to dietary patterns and associated nutritional outcomes (see Section 1.c).

Some of the emerging evidence suggests that agricultural diversity does translate into dietary diversity at the farm household level and beyond. A special issue of the Journal of Development Studies on “Farm-Level Pathways to Improved Nutritional Status” has brought evidence to light showing that diversity in household agricultural production has direct and important linkages with dietary diversity and nutrition (Carletto et al., 2015; Kumar et al., 2015; Shively et al., 2015). A number of studies have now found links between agricultural diversity and diversity of nutrient intake in various regions (Herforth, 2010; Oyarzun et al., 2013; Torheim et al., 2004; Remans et al., 2011; Jones et al., 2014). In general, mixed farming systems provide a range of foods with different nutritional elements to the farming household and those accessing the produce on local markets (Johns et al., 2013). In addition, other studies have shown agrobiodiversity to contribute to human nutrition by increasing dietary diversity and quality (Powell et al., 2015; Pelligrini & Tasciotti, 2014).

Agricultural diversity has been linked specifically to increased consumption of a range of key nutritional elements often missing in diets based around staple cereal crops. The consumption of legumes, fruits and vegetables was found to be strongly associated with greater farm diversity in Malawi (Jones et al., 2014). Adopting diversified cropping systems and micronutrient-rich varieties has been shown to help improve the intake of both macro- and micronutrients (Welch & Graham, 2005).

Polycultures and mixed crop-livestock farming systems help to ensure that key nutrients are available throughout the year, allowing food to be saved for dry periods, and therefore providing protein during hunger gaps (Jones et al., 2014; Remans et al., 2011). Integration of livestock into farming systems, such as dairy cattle, pigs and poultry, also provides a source of protein for the family, as well as a means of fertilizing soils (Smith et al., 2013); so does the incorporation of fish, shrimp and other aquatic resources into farm systems, e.g. in irrigated rice fields and fish ponds.

In some cases, improved health outcomes have been observed in relation to diversified food production and its dietary benefits. A recent cluster-randomized controlled trial of a homestead food production program in Burkina Faso documented statistically significant positive effects of diversified farming on child nutrition outcomes in terms of wasting, diarrhoea and anaemia (Olney et al., 2015). Meanwhile, NGOs in Bangladesh have promoted home gardening and small livestock production on the basis that children from homes with gardens were less likely to suffer night blindness, linked to vitamin A deficiency (Talukder et al., 2000)."

 

This case study (PDF attached), collected and published by the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) is about an effort in Malawi to address malnutrition, food security and poverty through permaculture production systems. Local sources of food are promoted, which provide a year-round, highly nutritious diet. Many of these are open-pollinated (replantable) plants and trees and their seeds are sourced and saved at no financial cost. In addition,  untapped animal diversity (like fish, bees, insects, and livestock) is utilized. 

Never Ending Food has assembled and categorized almost 600 different foods which can be used to improve nutrition, increase resilience, eliminate the ‘hungry season’, and provide diverse opportunities for income generation. It has propagated over 200 of these foods, which now grow year-round and provide the communities with daily access to Malawi’s six food groups (staples, vegetables, fruits, legumes & nuts, animal products, and fats). 

The information on Malawi’s traditional food crops is the result of local knowledge transfer. Community members (especially older women who are the cultural custodians of knowledge on the identification, harvestiing, preparation, and utilization of local resources) have been the main source of this information. 

 

Kourouma Martin Luther's picture

Thank you for sharing this, it is really interesting and a good example to replicate.

 

Martin

Rongxiang Lin's picture

In Singapore, nutritional security is an existential concern whether in terms of water or food sources. I shall approach this from an evolving chronological perspective. In the 19th century and earlier when Sir Stamford Raffles first set foot on what is previously known as Temasek, there were a group of aboriginals that relied on fishing for a living. Sometimes referred as Orang Laut, they would set sail into the neighbouring straights on fishing excursions which they would then salt and preserve, thereby tiding them through wet monsoon seasons. By the time the British landed and the Chinese and Indian migrants began arriving due to instability in continental Asia, farming practices were brought over from across Asia. One of the better documented farming practices during times of austerity were during World War Two, when the Japanese invasion and occupation of Syonan-To saw local villagers farming sweet potatoes and chillis in their slumps, and nutritional security was essentially about frying sweet potato leaves with chilli and consuming with some form of porridge ideally. This was the popularised form of farming in Singapore that involved perishables. While pineapple and durian plantations in Singapore and Malaya were not exactly rare, there was a focus on rubber plantations which were less about consumables but exportables.

Since Singapore function as an entrepot trade port even till the 21st century, the sovereign nation has since the Cold War taken steps in reinforcing nutritional security abet remaining heavily reliant on imports still. Around 10% till 20% of nutrition in Singapore comes from local agricultural produce. In general, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority champions food establishments that manufactures, processes, prepares or packs food that are distributed via wholesalers and retailers. The National Environment Agency then looks after retail food establishment such that food is wholly sold by retail, such as cake shops, supermarkets, cut fruit shops, market retailers, food stalls, catering establishments and restaurants. Challenges that either or both agencies face include Avian Influenza i.e. Bird Flu. As an underlying framework necessary for the 10% of local farming activities, the Public Utilies Board look after clean water supplies that are usually a necessary input in our hot equatorial farms.

Water Security

Farmers need water to grow crops. Today Singapore has built around 13 water catchment areas, desalination plants and water treatment plants alongside our water imports from Malaysia. Good diplomatic bilateral ties are essential in a sustainable Singapore, as most of our water supplies still come from neighbouring Malaysia and / or Indonesia. Singapore in general seldom advocate a hard core military conquest or antagonistic defence and foreign policy. The overall framework involves multilateral friendships and cooperation in ensuring our subsistence. As a consequence, only a small fraction of the populace works as farmers at vegetable or egg farms. We do however maintain a strong garrison that guards against terrorist attacks against our key water installations and sensitive areas.

Security of Import, Export and Transhipment of Meat

Meat, fish and related products can only be imported from AVA approved sources. AVA maintains a database of approved overseas establishments that are allowed. Accreditated South East Asian countries that Singapore import from include Indonesia, Malaysia, the Phillippines and Thailand. Eggs come from West Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Japan, and Sweden. Singapore has since stopped most of local poultry farms such that there are less than 50 cows iirc throughout the country. This came after the past mad cow disease, bird flu and SARS outbreak worldwide. Veterinary conditions and health certificates are expected to be met by the exporting countries of poultry produce based on a per consignment basis.

In recent months, the country is still actively monitoring ongoing bird flu outbreaks in the region such as in Brazil and East Malaysia.

Security of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

As a general rule of thumb, raw and unprocessed fresh fruits and vegetables can be imported from any country worldwide subject to safety conditions. Such safety conditions require that the imported greens are free from prohibited pesticides, or high levels of pesticide residue or toxic chemical residue. South and Central American exports should be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate as well. Farmers are expected to label containers such as cartons and baskets adequately.

Genetically Modified Crops

The Genetic Modification Advisory Committee of Singapore evaluates genetically modified crops and developments.

Security of Local Produces

There are multiple best practices recommended by the Singapore Government in meeting challenges faced by local producers. The Good Agricultural Practice for Vegetable Farming (GAP-VF) serves as a food safety assurance system in vegetable production, evaluating practices of farming processes, activites and management practices in a certification process. The Singapore Quality Egg Scheme (SQES) conducts monthly inspections in ensuring that egg farms are hygienic with quality control systems being well maintained. Eggs are tested for freshness on a Haugh grading system on a monthly basis with an annual review. Another quality assurance scheme is the Good Aquaculture Practices for Fish Farming (GAP-FF) that provides a three step certification process in improving fish farm infrastructure management, fish farm husbandry, fish health management and fish farm environment management.

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Rongxiang Lin's picture

Contrary to popular ancient beliefs, women actually do make good farmers. I hope that you as the reader can agree with this with me to the bare minimum, otherwise I will not have much room for discourse or leeway for discussion either. Women make good farmers. Since this topic is on nutritional outcomes, I jump right into Goal Two of the United Nations Sustainability Development, i.e. Zero Hunger as well as the related objectives.

A quick overview on hunger. Internationally, more than 10% of the world's population are presently undernourished. Yet, in such developing countries, particularly Asia and especially Southern Asia, cows are actually deemed as sacred. Out of the 281 million undernourished people, a huge fraction will not touch beef even with a ten foot pole. The belief is that cows are sacred, because apart from working on the fields they too offer milk which were meant for their calves to feed homo sapiens. Hence, a large segment of South Asians do not touch beef. While malnourishment in Africa is easier to comprehend due to the challenging climates and sub-Saharan terrains that are not always suitable for agriculture, the suppressed role of women in South Asian countries are one major factor why residents may prefer starvation over zero hunger. In general, for women to own even a single plot of agriculture land whether in South Asia or Africa can be a highly tricky business. Rural women that manage to be issued a lot of agricultural soil has imho made breakthroughs in their society.

Ideally, by equipping homo sapiens with adequate education, tools, fixed and variable inputs, farming can thrive in large parts of the world and it already does somewhat at 40% of the world's employment as well as income source. Contrary to professional services, agriculture is a self sustaining profession. A farmer including female farmers that can cultivate enough crops to export, theoretically also has enough to feed his or her own family. Once he or she is feeding his or her own households, she can also reproduce and have newer offsprings that inherit the land. This is a timeless philosophy that is part of Asian governing dynamics. In theory, were women to have the same access to resources as men, earthlings can further reduce the hungry population by another 150 million.

In Singapore, we have a small agriculture population. Most of our agri-ecological farms also tend to hire South Asia foreign workers as they can come and go. Still, whether our National Parks Board till local producers, we actively involve women who are homemakers as well as structural mismatched labour in eco friendly activities, notwithstanding gardening and farming. At around S$5 per month or in some cases free, farming and gardening enthusiasts can also rent small lots of soil to pursue their passions in growing vegetables and herbs from the neighbourhood Town Councils. While some of these green thumbs tend to donate the greens via nursing homes or at needy charities, in general these greens can be self sustaining too.

Some schools and hospitals including special needs institutions in Singapore also maintain active educational science gardens in the country. Whether at the roof top gardens of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital till Spectra Secondary School, there are often enough rainwater and sunlight to go around here along the equator, and rooftops either serve a purpose in hosting water catchment tanks and solar panels, or they can be deployed as roof top farming initiatives. We have seen successful case studies of good quality produce whether Chye Sim till sweetcorn coming out from such rooftop gardens. At schools, such projects can keep children closer with nature. At hospitals, such initiatives offer a therapeutic effect in facilitating recovery of patients.

As a general rule of thumb, since Singapore is often a City in a Garden, flowering greens are grown in excess from Changi Airport till the Civic Districts. Biodiversity is promoted somewhat naturally since the natural ecology itself is regenerative, whether consumers eating durians and discarding seeds in patches of open field, or birds feeding on fruits and defecating the seeds in their poop again in soils. The absence of extreme seasonal weather facilitates agroecology in this part of world, quite naturally. The pragmatism of Singaporean agroecologists also see peanut shrubs till mango trees being grown and apart from them being edible if harvested, their serve ergonomic purposes in beautification and fragrances when they bloom as well. Notice that while society actively lives amongst the greens and natures, nutritional outcomes are still highly reliant on minimising food wastage, we are still having a look at this area today.

 

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