Needy Sembawang residents enjoy harvest from town's community gardens

Volunteers sorting and packing vegetables from the community garden at Penaga Place for distributing to low-income residents on March 28, 2021.
Volunteers sorting and packing vegetables from the community garden at Penaga Place for distributing to low-income residents on March 28, 2021.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - A second batch of vegetables was harvested and given to needy residents living in Sembawang GRC under its Gardens Give Back programme on Sunday (March 28).

The programme, which was first launched on Feb 28, sees residents take turns to harvest produce from 23 community gardens across Sembawang and give them to needy families.

Sunday's harvest took place at Sembawang Central Residents' Network Community Garden, the only one of the 23 gardens to be located in a private housing estate.

About 20 residents, mostly businessmen, take turns to tend to the garden.

Among them is 67-year-old Soh Wee Seng, who said he visits the garden every evening.

He said in Mandarin: "I used to live in a kampung in Nee Soon and back then we would grow vegetables too.

"Now that I am free in the evenings, it is a nice way to pass the time, and having this garden around makes people happy. Many children do not know where vegetables come from, so it's nice for them to see and learn."

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung, who is the MP for Sembawang Central, joined in Sunday's harvest, which yielded about 60kg of vegetables.

He said that the resident gardeners, who mostly used to live in kampungs, started the garden under former minister and MP for the area Khaw Boon Wan.

"And since I came over here (as the MP) I thought it's a good idea if we can distribute some of their harvest to lower-income families," he said.

He added: "As Sembawang continues to develop, we're going to see more concrete and steel coming out from the town. At the same time, that kampung spirit ought to continue, and today is a very good manifestation of that."


Mr Ong Ye Kung harvesting vegetables with volunteers in the community garden at Penaga Place on March 28, 2021. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Following the harvest, residents made their way to two rental blocks to distribute fresh vegetables, eggs, bread and other groceries to about 30 families there.

One recipient, Madam Noorhafizah Udin, said the initiative will help provide nutritious meals for her household of eight, which includes six children aged eight to 15.

"Usually, I only cook long beans and kailan, but we were given a few other types like kangkong, so it's something new on the menu for them today," said the 32-year-old management trainee.


Mdm Noor Hafizah Udin's family receiving the vegetables from the harvest on March 28, 2021. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM