Food, Energy and Water Nexus in Urban Farming
Current practices of urban food production are not ideal as they rely extensively on land usage, intensive inputs of water and synthetic chemicals, and are hampered by limited knowledge of the nutritional content, and energy- and water-use efficiency. Increasingly, urban farming is faced with the challenges of climate change, prolonged drought, floods, and land crunch that severely impact productivity and consequently, jeopardise food security.
At NERI, through a space, water and energy nexus approach, we aim to develop novel technologies for a more sustainable food production, with a primary focus on Asian green leafy vegetables. The research team involved is looking into the threepronged nexus, with the ultimate aim of increasing food production through efficient utilisation of space and water while minimising the energy demand and reliance on synthetic chemical and fertiliser inputs. This will be achieved by utilising the synergy between plant characteristics, their associated microbes and physico-chemical traits of soil substratum and light.
Future of Farming – Microbiome Solutions for Green Environment
NERI adopts a holistic nature-based framework incorporating elements from food-energy-water nexus for sustainable farming practices. Blending concepts from microbial ecology, environmental and life sciences supported by robust data and AI platforms, NERI researchers are developing microbial consortia to (i) enhance nutritional and nutraceutical quality of crops; (ii) boost plant health and defense mechanisms against emerging pests and diseases; and (iii) increase crop yield and production. The integrated approach promotes co-benefits and trade-offs to develop cost-effective integrated farming solutions for diverse stakeholders. The research directions are aligned with the national as well as international goals for resilient food systems and sustainable farming practices.
Value-added Vegetables for the Nation: Do you know what you consumed?
Establishment of sustainable urban farming plays a pivotal role in ensuring nutritional security for the nation. NERI is equipped with sophisticated equipment and possesses in-house expertise for growth assessment, nutritional and nutraceutical profiling of vegetables. Information generated would be useful for the consumers to make informed decisions on the food crop selection.
Involving development of novel soil substitutes - NUS oil based on food waste to retain water and release nutrients slowly, and wavelength-controlled LED lighting systems to improve growth and resilience of urban leafy vegetables.