Let community gardens take root islandwide

Let community gardens take root islandwide
(From left) Imran Aljunied; SMU President Professor Arnoud De Meyer; Mayor for Central Singapore District Denise Phua; and urban farmer Donald Tan, planting a nutmeg sapling at the GROW initiative at the Singapore Management University campus on 6 January 2015.

The Singapore Management University urban farming initiative (right) will put land that would otherwise sit idle to good use ("Urban farming takes root at SMU"; last Wednesday).

When sufficiently well established, the site could provide shelter and act as a natural corridor for indigenous birds and some animals.

At the foot of my block in Punggol, residents care for a community garden that has many varieties of vegetables and flowers.

This is one way to expand SMU's urban farming idea islandwide.

Perhaps a portion of the land in neighbourhood parks, such as Bishan Park and Bedok Reservoir Park, could be set aside for the planting of vegetables and tropical fruit trees. Residents can volunteer to tend to these.

The rooftops of buildings like multi-storey carparks, malls and residential buildings can also be converted into vegetable gardens. The greenery will reduce heat during the day and cut down on the air-conditioning needed to cool the buildings.

Residents can also use their balconies and corridors to plant herbs and vegetables in pots. They can use planter boxes arranged such that the common corridors are not obstructed and the building structure is not changed.

Community centres can introduce gardening classes to equip people with the skills and motivation to grow vegetables and fruits.

If more Singaporeans grow their own produce, the country might not be as hard hit when imported food prices soar ("Some Malaysian greens cost 60 per cent more at wet markets"; Jan 6).


This article was first published on January 14, 2015.
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