Citizen Farm, a sustainable and socially-driven urban farm in the center of Singapore’s Queenstown (Jalan Penjara) district opened in June of 2017 with the vision of bringing the community together through urban agriculture.
“The urban farm provides that backdrop for creating that bridge between the consumer and the food,” says Darren Ho, who heads the farm. “As opposed to just going to the wet market, they now have a farm within a town for them to visit and to touch and feel. We want to create that community farming experience and at the same time become a production hub for freshly grown produce.”
Located on an 8,000 square meter plot of land, Citizen Farm practices a closed-loop urban farming model. This system integrates different indoor and outdoor farming systems to cultivate sustainably-grown, pesticide-free quality produce with minimal waste. The closed-loop model takes any agricultural waste generated from one farming system and recycles it for use in another system. The farm uses an aquaponics system to grow leafy greens; an indoor substrate-based system to grow microgreens; an outdoor soil-based garden to grow edible flowers and herbs; and organic waste to grow mushrooms.
The farm also looks at the expertise of farmers in other countries with well-developed agricultural systems, such as Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia by visiting them at their farms to learn new methods and adapt them to local conditions.
Ho says, “I’m a firm believer in the cross-pollination of ideas between people. Different farmers using the same land and the same resources will do things very differently. No one is right or wrong, it’s just which methods are better preferred. You form your own philosophy as a farmer.”
To help people better understand its work and agricultural systems, Citizen Farm hosts community engagement events such as farm tours and educational workshops for schools, corporations and other interest groups. It also regularly offers volunteer opportunities for those interested to work on its farm.