Community gardening in HDB heartlands has taken off. I have several in my constituency. Khoo Teck Puat Hospital has a large roof top garden manned by volunteers in the neighbourhood.
Second, it is largely run by the young. I met them and was struck by their passion and dedication.
They belong to Comcrop, an urban farming social enterprise. What they have created is like a mini supermarket with a variety of vegetables, fruits and herbs. And it is run by volunteers.
Every week, students from Victoria Junior College (VJC) and Singapore Polytechnic (SP) as well as the elderly from Tampines-Changkat Constituency come together to farm at the rooftop farm. They harvest, germinate, transplant and manage the crops.
To reinforce this sense of community, Comcrop passes on its farming skills to the local community so that more of such urban farms can be built across Singapore. Already, Comcrop’s youth volunteers from SP have assisted students from VJC in their aquaponics farm. Produce from this farm will serve the needy in the Katong area.
VJC is in turn working with St Andrews Autism Centre on how to develop an aquaponics farm for the students there. There is a quiet movement involving the elderly and special needs. For example, planting is done by senior citizens, many of whom were former farmers in the kampong days, and individuals with special needs. Germination of seeds is done in partnership with Women’s Home to support single mothers subjected to family violence.
Through these efforts, Comcrop propagates not only its crops, but also social cohesion and collaboration.
The Comcrop team had a dream – a farm in the heart of the city that gives back to society. I’m glad their dream is coming true. I wish for more such farms throughout Singapore.
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