DBS banks on urban farming and launches own community farm

Meals with freshly picked produce will be served at the hub's in-house cafeteria.
Meals with freshly picked produce will be served at the hub's in-house cafeteria.PHOTO: EDIBLE GARDEN CITY
To launch the DBS Food Forest, DBS partnered Edible Garden City.
To launch the DBS Food Forest, DBS partnered Edible Garden City.PHOTO: EDIBLE GARDEN CITY

SINGAPORE - DBS plans to transform one of its buildings into a community farm, and give its employees a chance to try urban farming, it said on Wednesday (June 17).

Touted to be Singapore's first community farm on the premises of a bank, the DBS Food Forest will feature more than 50 varieties of edible plants and herbs that Singaporeans consume every day.

The 46 sq m community farm, outside the DBS Asia Hub building in Changi Business Hub, will be completed in late 2020.

Employees can enjoy vegetables such as sweet potato leaves and herbs like lemongrass for lunch. Meals with freshly picked produce will be served at the hub's in-house cafeteria.

To launch the DBS Food Forest, DBS partnered Edible Garden City, which has developed 240 food gardens over the past seven years. The social enterprise - which specialises in urban farming - is also supported by DBS Foundation.

The community garden, besides giving employees a taste of farm-to-table dining, also comes with eco-friendly features. Waste generated by the in-house cafeteria will be used as fertiliser for the Food Forest. To save water, a waste-efficient drip irrigation system will be installed.

Vice-president for sustainable operations at DBS Loh Lay Kwan said she finds gardening to be very therapeutic, "with everything going on in the world today".

"With the Food Forest, I will be able to literally put food on the table by doing something I enjoy, and I find that to be really meaningful," she added.

The Food Forest will be tended to by the bank's employees who can try their hand at weeding, maintaining, and harvesting produce under the guidance of experts from Edible Garden City.

 
 

The Covid-19 pandemic has sparked concerns over food security, and interest in urban farming bloomed during the circuit breaker.

A $30 million grant was launched in April by the Singapore Food Agency and the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources to increase the productivity of local farms.

Chief executive of Edible Garden City Samuell Ang said: "While they are increasingly common in housing estates and shopping malls, it's not often you find one in a commercial space.

"We hope that more businesses and developers will be inspired by DBS' efforts, and that in the near future we can see similar farms blossoming across commercial properties and business parks."