Flowers burst out of old tires and rows of pepper plants fill recycled plastic tubs as herbs pop out of old pipes. As utilitarian as it is cheery, this rooftop array is one of several urban agriculture projects that are significantly improving livelihoods for the urban poor in this sprawling city.
With a population of five million crammed on a landmass of just 715 square kilometres, the tiny republic of Singapore has been forced to expand upwards, building high-rise residential complexes to house the country’s many inhabitants.
You do not need to live in the countryside to grow vegetables, as hundreds of thousands of people involved in urban agriculture from Havana to Buenos Aires know very well. Now they are being joined by residents of Rio de Janeiro’s “favelas”.
The economic crisis is fuelling the search for less individualistic ways of life in Spain, and a growing interest in urban agriculture has given rise to flourishing community gardens on vacant lots in cities and towns.