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Essential to build community around farming

I thank Ms Arriola Micaela Josephine for her letter (Do more to promote locally grown food; April 22).

She has identified a few good ways we can support local farmers.

In building the farming industry, farmers benefit not only from boosting the conventional supply chain, but also from improving branding efforts and appreciation for their trade and stories.

It was with these goals that the Kranji Countryside Association started the Kranji Countryside Farmers' Market in 2014. It continues to be an anticipated quarterly affair where local farmers get to sell directly and interact meaningfully with their buyers and supporters.

It is held in Kranji so that consumers have the opportunity to make a trip out to the countryside to experience the peri-urban environment that most of Singapore's food is grown in.

Singapore is a small city state with around 200 farms, down from over 20,000 in the 1960s.

In the effort to promote local produce, we should also position local agriculture as an essential industry, an integral part of our shared history and heritage, and most importantly, an unalienable part of our city state's future.

If we prioritise food security, then we must build the industry holistically, which includes building a community around farming and young leaders who will take the profession to the next level.

Children must have access to our farmers and their farms to learn how food is grown, so they grow up with an appreciation of both nature and technology.

That is how they will become more conscious and responsible consumers when they grow up.

Kenny Eng
President
Kranji Countryside Association

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 29, 2018, with the headline 'Essential to build community around farming'. Print Edition | Subscribe