A few years ago, growing food for personal consumption is an uncommon idea in Singapore. With hawker centres and restaurants conveniently located in Singapore, it is unsurprising that locals opt for ready-to-eat meals. However, that philosophy changed as more individuals and households started to recognise the benefits of urban farming, such as improved community bonding, accessible clean vegetables and improved physical and mental state.
The three-month long SUSS Agri-preneur Incubation Programme (AIP) brought students who were interested in the agriculture scene together! Throughout the programme, students gained hands-on experience by growing plants in high-tech planters at the SUSS Fish Tank.
Tan Mei Ying, participant of the SUSS Agri-preneur Incubation Programme (AIP), presents her project.
Students were able to experiment with the different growth settings, such as manipulating light and water schedules to optimise the growth of their own plants. To ensure that students fully understand the thought-process of farming, mentors provided theory lessons in addition to practical sessions. With the mentor’s directive, tending to crops was less daunting, especially for first-timers. At the end of the day, students took home the crops they tended to for their personal use.
Mr Thomas Tan, Director, Nutrious Farms, explains how the smart switch works.
The process was not smooth-sailing for some. One of the participating teams took a hit when their seedlings were unintentionally drowned and unable to be transferred to the next stage – the Hydroponics Tower. The team then reworked on their seedlings with greater caution and paid extra attention not to place seedlings deep into the Cocopeat/soil. In the spirit of working together, other teams voluntarily shared their seedlings with the affected team and they were able to progress together as a class and grow their seedlings onto the Hydroponics Tower.
These vertical towers allow students to experiment with the different conditions of hydroponics farming.
At the end of the programme, students gained a better understanding of the challenges that farmers in Singapore face and reflected on the opportunities in this space.
Melissa Ang, SUSS Digital Media Degree student and a participant of the programme, shared her experience, “My biggest takeaway is how the AIP has planted a passion inside me. With this newly acquired knowledge, I hope to be an entrepreneur in this field and cultivate an agriculture interest amongst others.”