Pushing my trolley around the supermarkets’ empty shelves a few months ago – I couldn’t help but replay the scene from World War Z where Brad Pitt stocks up for doomsday. The pandemic has revealed our food system’s vulnerabilities – from the food shortage caused by panic buying, to the over-dependency on imports as food source, and lessons to learn from both history and science-fiction.
The silver lining is that food security is very much on the agenda, the shock is real and we have witnessed the first wave of effects. Availability, access and use all need to be catered for before we could call ourselves food secure. We need to diversify our food sources to ensure a steady supply of food. We also need to look at access points to make sure that healthy and safe food are affordable and accessible. Wet markets are part of our social infrastructure that needs to be considered alongside urban planning.
A risk-prepared city like Singapore has set the target of producing 30% of its own food consumption by 2030. Despite being smaller, they are producing 10% of their own vegetables while Hong Kong is at 2% – there’s much to be done, and now’s the time to prepare.