Inclusive Garden Newsletter

  • Oct 08 2021
  • KS

Our Inclusive Garden is a gift from the generous hearts that wish no one to be excluded to enjoy the tranquility of being among the GREEN

Kampung Senang started its first naturally grown urban farm using environmental-friendly farming methods in Tampines in 1999 by co-founder James Low, supported by Lu Lin and volunteers. After two decades of harvesting various produce, Kampung Senang was hoping to take the farm to another level … an inclusive garden that leaves no one out from accessing the farm and garden.

The idea of building an inclusive garden was budding but it became evidently necessary when President Halimah Yacob visited the farm on 14 November 2018 and only those able and mobile could accompany the President into the farm to plant a Chiku tree. With the President Challenge Fund, the idea of having an Inclusive Garden was finally molded into an executable plan.

However, we were faced with the reality of the high cost of construction materials and manpower to convert the existing urban farm into an inclusive garden for edible greens in Tampines and a smaller scale one in Aljunied. When we were looking for ways to make it possible, our benefactor Mr. Tan Tee Tee met Mdm Joyce Lye while he was having lunch at ECO Harmony Café at our Aljunied main office. After hearing our dilemma, his team of friends two weeks later to take the measurement and dismantle the aging structure, speared headed the construction of the structure for Inclusive Garden. Nothing could be said to express our gratitude when he informed us his undertaking of the full cost of the structure and the manpower requirement would be covered by his staff members and volunteers that he had rallied to complete the project. Mr. Tan with his group of 20 or more volunteers worked regularly and was fully committed to seeing the structure completed.

On top of that, Mr. Tan continued his generosity to fund the stainless-steel structure to raise the planting drums at waist height for ergonomic reasons. These drums help to cater to our aging farm staff and volunteers reducing squatting and backaches.

Meanwhile, Mr. Danny Tay who also loved gardening and was equipped with knowledge in construction was being introduced to Kampung Senang by another volunteer. He immediately offered his help and came on board to build the garden. Being a hobbyist in gardening and having the skill in construction, he effectively solved the needs of Farmer Lim and gardening volunteers with the implementation of practical solutions within the garden. Everyone soon knew Danny as he came regularly for repairs and installations. Many of the walkways were personally paved with materials sponsored by him, another benefactor that had helped to rebuild the garden.

The amount of work required was far too vast and much to describe, many Kampung Senang benefactors and volunteers (new and regular) came to our aids; regularly weeding, digging, carrying, and doing many laborious works most volunteers had not done before. After a half-day work, many were drenched in sweat and smell with weary faces being in the sun and heat for hours. Yet without fail, they turned up, again and again, continuing their work on the garden.

The labour of many generous benefactors and self-giving volunteers are often seen in the regular supplies of healthy green for our centres, we even have spare to raise funds by offering them to visitors and passers-by at our Saturday Green Market.

At the time of writing this article, a lot of works have been completed, and yet there is still more to be done. We look forward to conducting wellness sessions for all at the garden, including those with mobility restrictions, young and old, weak and strong can now look forward to learning in the garden and bring home with them beautiful experiences of potting and growing their own edibles.

New construction often started with the destruction of the existing structure that embedded past years’ dreams and hard work; such process was hard to be witnessed by those who contributed to its growth and success. Seeing the new setup and how it can now comfortably accommodate almost everyone at a farm tour, through a painful process the idea of an inclusive garden of edible greens has come to fruition.

Our benefactors, Mr. Tan Kee Kee with his group of volunteers and Mr. Danny Tay