Everything You Need To Know About Urban Farming in Singapore

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On 12 May 2020, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) announced that nine multi-storey car parks will make space for urban farming activities. As part of Singapore’s strategy to source 30% of the country’s produce locally by 2030, this launch is a pleasant addition to the HDB Green Towns Programme to ‘green’ public housing estates.

What is urban farming?

Urban farming is exactly as its name suggests. It is the growing of fruits, vegetables and other fresh produce within the city. These urban farms can occupy places like rooftops, parks and even under viaducts. 

In HDB's latest announcement, nine HDB-managed rooftops will be converted into urban farms. These farming spaces will be available for public tender, providing an extra option for commercial farmers in land-scarce Singapore.   

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt supply chains, this brings us one step closer towards becoming a more food-secure nation.

Urban farming locations in Singapore

The 9 rooftops are spread across Choa Chu Kang, Tampines, Sembawang, Jurong West and more. 

Choa Chu Kang

1,934 sq m

Block 513A Choa Chu Kang St 51

Tampines

2,526 sq m

Block 723A Tampines St 72

Hougang

1,808 sq m

Block 946A Hougang St 92

Ang Mo Kio 

3,171 sq m

Block 352A Ang Mo Kio St 32

Toa Payoh 

2,317 sq m

Block 260 Kim Keat Ave 

Sembawang (Admiralty Dr)

2,551 sq m

Block 354 Admiralty Dr 

Sembawang (Sembawang Vista)

1,831 sq m

Block 316A Sembawang Vista

Jurong West (St 25)

2,974 sq m

Block 276 Jurong West St 25

Jurong West (Ave 3)

3,311 sq m

Block 273 Jurong West Ave 3

Urban farming vs community gardens 

Although urban farming technically just means growing crops in an urban area, it's worthy to note that the above urban farming sites are meant for commercial purposes only. They are for businesses, not residents.

Residents who enjoy gardening can either grow indoor plants at home, or look to the community gardens in Singapore. If there isn't already one in your housing estate, you can approach your resident's committee or neighbourhood committee to start one. 

You will need to first form a gardening group before contacting NParks to help you select a suitable community garden space. 

What vegetables and herbs can I plant in Singapore?

Alongside baking bread and making Dalgona coffee, this circuit breaker period has encouraged many to nurture their ‘green thumbs’.

If you are itching to start growing herbs and vegetables at home, you'll be happy to know that seeds are easily found at supermarkets like FairPrice and Cold Storage, or purchased from specialty shops such as Far East Flora and The Garden Store, alongside plant pots, soil, and fertilizer. 

Outdoor plants

Even in our hot tropical climate, certain varieties are able to thrive when taken care of and watered adequately. Crops that you can plant include: 

  • Nai bai (baby bok choy)
  • Kai lan (Chinese kale)
  • Cai xin (Chinese cabbage)
  • Kang kung
  • Aloe Vera
  • Mustard Greens
  • Rocket (Arugula)
  • Chilli Peppers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Garlic

Indoor plants 

Don’t have access to an outdoor plot of soil yet? Here are a few vegetables and herbs that you can regrow from scraps indoors:

  • Basil
  • Lettuce
  • Spring onions 
  • Coriander 
  • Leek
  • Celery
  • Avocado

You don't necessarily have to grow these from seeds too. You can submerge the root ends of your plant in a jar or bowl of water, and place them in direct sunlight. After a few days, roots will begin to grow.

Be sure to change the water daily. Some plants like spring onions and leek can be harvested within a week from growing in water, whereas your avocado seed will need to be transferred into a pot once sprouted. Milk jugs and cartons can be recycled into planters for this! 

Where to buy locally grown produce in Singapore

Lazy to DIY but still want to support urban farming in Singapore? Good news, there are plenty of local farming initiatives for you to check out. 

Food security is a core mission of the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) which was formed last year. In particular, this circuit breaker period has revealed Singapore’s vulnerability to fluctuations in food supply, and we hope that the self-reliant mindset and habits will continue to grow and ensure the nation’s resilient and prosperous future.

This story was written by Eugenia Rosaline Shlaen.

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