Many benefits to be reaped with rental garden plots

The new initiative by the National Parks Board (NParks) to lease out space in its parks for people to grow their own plants is fresh and exciting (NParks to offer garden plots for rent as interest grows; Nov 4).

This can not only give gardening enthusiasts a space to flex their green fingers, but also provide a wide range of health benefits to the gardeners.

A study by gardening company Bakker Spalding revealed that 88 per cent of gardeners found increased mental well-being a key benefit of gardening.

Another study found that daily gardening could even reduce the risk of dementia by 36 per cent.

The gardening plots can give residents a platform to meet and interact with other like-minded people.

This provides socialisation opportunities and can potentially strengthen the community spirit.

For those who choose to grow their own food, doing so without the use of pesticides or other chemicals can result in organically grown produce and a reduction in the carbon footprint that imported food generates.

A study by gardening company Bakker Spalding revealed that 88 per cent of gardeners found increased mental well-being a key benefit of gardening. Another study found that daily gardening could even reduce the risk of dementia by 36 per cent.

While it is difficult for Singapore to expand the number of rental plots in parks due to land scarcity, perhaps NParks can lend its support to civic organisations to transform unused rooftop spaces into more gardening plots.

Also, it could be beneficial for NParks to support schools which are willing to set aside some gardening space for their students.

Just by providing the basics, such an initiative by NParks can give students a chance to work with others to create and maintain their own garden space, and learn values like teamwork outside the classroom.

With a wider reach, these gardening plots could very well be the seeds planted in a new generation of gardening enthusiasts, to truly achieve the City in a Garden vision.

Charis Low Chern Yin (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 07, 2017, with the headline 'Many benefits to be reaped with rental garden plots'. Print Edition | Subscribe