The Singaporean government has begun leasing out rooftop farms since 2020 as part of its initiatives to boost domestic food production. Currently, more than 90 percent of the country’s food is imported. These rooftop farms have now appeared all across the Southeast Asian city state, numbering at least a dozen. The majority of the nation’s domestically grown food is produced in high-tech facilities that receive significant government subsidies. Official records indicate that, as of 2020, it had 238 permitted farms. “Food security is an existential issue for Singapore. As a globally connected small city-state with limited resources, Singapore is vulnerable to external shocks and supply disruptions. This is why it is important that we continuously take steps to secure our essential resources,” a Singapore Food Agency (SFA) spokesperson says.

Urban farmer Eyleen Goh manages a farm from the top deck of a parking garage. Workers were seen picking, trimming, and packing choy sum, a leafy green vegetable used in Chinese dishes. Another worker was repotting seedlings at the opposite end of the building. “We are harvesting every day. Depending on the vegetables we are growing, it can range from 100kg to 200kg to 400kg per day,” says Goh. But Singapore has some of the most expensive real estate in the world, so rooftop farmers are also looking for alternative sources of income. One farmer claims that by charging visitors a monthly fee to harvest vegetables at his urban farm, he has been able to make a profit. According to him, the concept is especially well-liked by local families since “it is a community kind of approach, rather than a commercial approach.”