The sprouting farms: You are what you grow

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In 2017, the Singaporean government unveiled the Farm Transformation Map, a highly technology-driven initiative that intends to change its current, near-total dependence on imported food. The plan focuses on the prospect of high-productivity farming—in particular, integrated vertical, indoor, and intensive urban farming—as a possible solution to geopolitical uncertainty, intense urbanisation, and environmental degradation. What to farm (or not) and how to farm has long mediated social, cultural, political, and environmental relations. Following the stories of a few small- to medium-scale urban farms, including rooftop gardens, community farms, and organic farms, in this future-oriented city polis, this article explores the rise of urban farming through the politics of localism and the notion of care. How has localism, in some contexts, been reduced to a narrow sense of geographic location? What is being cared for in and through farming in urban locales? How might this type of farming transform and shape bio-cultural, social-technological relations within humans, and between humans and non-humans? More importantly, this article explores how urban agriculture might forge a kind of thick localism rooted in situated care as it carries out social missions, experimenting with and subverting the dominant imaginary of industrial farming. Copyright © 2021 by the author.
Original languageEnglish
Article number27
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


Wang, J. (2021). The sprouting farms: You are what you grow. Humanities, 10(1). Retrieved from


  • Urban agriculture
  • Environmental humanities
  • Care
  • Localism
  • More-than-human urbanism
  • Singapore


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