Danielle Chan, co-founder of Citiponics, grew up working for her mother’s farm in Malaysia, delivering produce to Singapore. After visiting a rooftop farm in New York City, she was inspired to create something similar in Singapore. “I got into a discussion with one of my family friends and we decided to work on this project together. But the thing is, we really didn’t want to continue with traditional farming,” Chan explained. “We wanted to look for a more sustainable way of farming with the growing city population, and less arable land. We wanted to see where we were able to grow food in a more creative manner.”
Chan looked around her urban environment for under-utilized spaces. “In Singapore, there’s a multi-story carpark structure that’s available in every neighborhood, and around almost every mall,” described Chan. “We decided to see what we could create, a technology that allows us to farm produce safely, productively, and be around the neighborhood area in the community.”
A modular, hydroponic, urban farm
In 2018, Citiponics received a permit to start their first carpark rooftop farm. Using a custom-designed, modular hydroponic system, Citiponics can grow up to 25 different kinds of leafy vegetables and herbs without pesticides. According to Chan, the 1,800 square meter (0.5 acre) farm can grow up to 4 tons of food per month using the Citiponics system. The system consumes about 1% of water used in conventional farming, and 10% of water used in other hydroponic systems.
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