Saying goodbye to a family farm after 60 years

Oh Chin Huat Hydroponics Farm had over 200 greenhouses growing more than 15 types of vegetables and herbs. The farm closed its doors on June 30, 2020.
Oh Chin Huat Hydroponics Farm had over 200 greenhouses growing more than 15 types of vegetables and herbs. The farm closed its doors on June 30, 2020. PHOTO: SCREENSHOT FROM VIDEO

In the final days of family-run Oh Chin Huat Hydroponics Farms, there was lots to do. 

From wrapping up the last harvests to dismantling large structures and equipment, it was a race against time to prepare the 2.4ha farm - known as Oh Farms for short - for its closure on June 30 last year.

We Were Farmers is a two-part documentary on the last days of the farm, put together by local production house birdmandog and told from the perspective of award-winning photographer and fourth-generation farmer Ore Huiying.

"We work so closely together, naturally there will be increased conflict," said Ms Ore, 39, who grew up on the farm in Yishun. For the past 12 years, she has been documenting life on the farm through photographs.

Her aunties and uncles had been working 12-hour shifts every day, she said.

"Now that the farm is closing down, it's actually helping the situation between family members because now everybody has a common goal, just like when the farm first started."

Her family decided to shut down the legacy farm located along Bah Soon Pah Road, as relocation costs were too much to bear. 

They had over 200 greenhouses growing more than 15 types of vegetables and herbs, including chye sim, wild rocket and butterhead lettuce. 

"To me the farm is a happy place," said Ms Ore. "It holds a lot of special memories… I think it's also a big part of my identity as well." 

Ms Ore currently works as a freelance photographer for publications including The New York Times, Bloomberg and National Geographic. 

The documentary is commissioned by Singapore Press Holdings in partnership with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) under IMDA's Public Service Content Fund, to support Singapore's media industry during the Covid-19 pandemic.


Saying goodbye to a family farm after 60 years | We Were Farmers | Ep 1

After more than 60 years, it’s time to say goodbye to Oh Chin Huat Farm. Photographer and farmer Ore Huiying tells the story of her family’s final days on the farm. 


The end of an era | We Were Farmers | Ep 2

Everyone is tense and tired. Photographer Ore Huiying documents the final days of her family getting Oh Chin Huat Farm ready for closure, after 60 years.