Is urban farming sustainable in Bangkok?

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I’ve been growing my vegetable garden for six-months now and I’ve got Asian greens and cucumbers to show for it. Now that it’s the rainy season, the plants are really taking off. But, having seen urban farming being practiced in the US, I really am wondering if the urban farming movement can take root in Bangkok?

Traditionally, Thais have been a culture which maintained kitchen gardens and often raised small animals like ducks and chickens. However, things have changed as large numbers of Thais now live in Bangkok and its suburbs. With more people living in crowded dwellings like condos and apartments without any land for gardening, many of the traditional ways have been forgotten. I’m sure the retired grandmothers and grandfathers who live in the city have the knowledge and time to grow a vegetable garden, but what about the younger generation? Moreover, the rapid lifestyle of the average worker means that few have time to spend gardening, even if they have the time to do so. Many young Bangkokians spend their days pushing computer keyboards and nights working late before heading grabbing a bit to eat at the nearest food court or street vendor. They rarely have time for a home cooked meal, let alone grow their own vegetables.

While I am keen on urban farming in general and think that now is the time for people everywhere to embrace the concept. I truly wonder if the average Bangkokian teenager, twenty- or thirty-something would want to be part of the urban farming movement. Most Bangkokians are a bit on the lazy side, try to keep out of the sun and are not looking to get their hands dirty. Bangkokians are notorious for rushing to the malls and movie theaters on weekends to enjoy the shopping and air conditioning. Doesn’t exactly sound like the types who would have fun pulling weeds and turning compost.

So, again I ponder the question : Is urban farming sustainable in Bangkok?

5 responses to “Is urban farming sustainable in Bangkok?

  1. YES ! Not on the first look and certainly not for the average citizen. But food prices have risen in double digits since the flood in Nov 2011. With increasing oil cost this trend will continue.
    If you still in bangkok lets catch up….. would like to exchange views and ideas.
    Daniel
    Send sms to 0835480151

  2. It is a very valuable question, I am wondering the same than you actually. I think as you mentioned, Bangkokians are more notorious to rush into the malls and bar/pub, street restaurant after work. They usually don’t cook at home (for the youngest generation 20-30 years). What I think funny, is now you can see all young Bangkokians addicted to this new game on iPhone/Ipad call Hayday, which consist of growing and taking care of a virtual farm. Wouldn’t be better to do it in real and participate in sustainable development for Bangkok?

    • I agree completely. Today we are a zombie society with our faces glued to a screen, either TV, computer or mobile. There is no replacement for being outside and getting your hands dirty and virtual food cannot nourish your body.

  3. Hey, Me and my friends are trying to promote urban farming in Bangkok. Are you still up for it? We are looking for people to join this movement!

    • Sorry I have been away from this blog for awhile. I know there are many groups engaging in urban community gardens and rooftop gardens all over Bangkok. Many of them are right under our noses or about our heads and we don’t even realize it. :)

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