There is currently no shortage of food in the world – one third of what we produce already goes to waste – but the methods of mass production and transport across the globe are increasingly inefficient and environmentally unsustainable.
It is this understanding that has seen a boom in urban farms in recent years with facilities emerging in communities predominantly across the developed world with the aspiration of minimizing or practically eradicating food mileage and its impact on energy consumption and the quality of the produce.
Urban farming comes in myriad formats depending on climate, crops and urban density ranging from major vertical farms through to repurposed community gardens and everything in between with many city rooftops now playing their part in the critical process of food production.
It is a trend driven not just by a long term necessity but a change in attitude about how we are choosing to live with more and more people wanting to live in vibrant, denser high quality multi-use environments with a desire to balance work and leisure and to be able to access the best facilities in a healthy and sustainable way.
Underpinning this trend is the evolving nature of the retail sector and more specifically the transformation of traditional malls, from places to shop to hubs of the community with multiple uses that better reflect not just the modern urban lifestyles of their customers but also their values.
The next generation of shopping malls can no longer merely rely on the quality of their tenant mix, instead they need to create an experience for the customer that is as emotional as it is physical, an experience that the customer understands and can believe in.
Gastronomy in all its forms has now become a central plank of this evolving shopping centre offer, occupying anything from 15-40 per cent of floor space depending on the format and location with customers demanding a fresh and authentic eating experience beyond the traditional fast food outlet and coffee shop.