NParks launches two new initiatives to encourage gardening with edibles under the Edible Horticulture Masterplan
21 Mar 2021
- Free seeds of new varieties for gardeners to grow and participate in Community Garden Edibles Competition October 2021
- NParks to explore working with social enterprises to set up community urban farming in heartlands
- 102 submissions received in new open category for unusual edibles
The National Parks Board (NParks) today launched two new initiatives to encourage gardening with edibles under the Edible Horticulture Masterplan. To extend the benefits of gardening to more groups, NParks will explore working with social enterprises to set up community urban farms in the heartlands. We are also distributing a new tranche of free seeds of edible plants to participants of the next Community Garden Edibles Competition to be held in October 2021. The awards ceremony for the Community Garden Edibles Competition March 2021 is held this weekend in conjunction with Gardeners’ Day Out, held both online and on-site at HortPark. Gardeners' Day Out will feature new tutorial videos, a live workshop, and on-site tours.
Progress of the Edible Horticulture Masterplan
The new initiatives come under the Edible Horticulture Masterplan, which was launched in 2017 to promote growing of edibles through providing more spaces for gardening, raising horticulture skills through training, introducing new species of plants and technology, and expanding the gardening community through outreach programmes. The Edible Horticulture Masterplan is part of Singapore’s vision of growing our City in Nature, where the community plays a key role in the ownership and stewardship for nature which will bring forth benefits of health and well-being.
To continue making gardening accessible and to increase the options for those interested in edible gardening, NParks has been promoting a greater variety of plants and horticultural technology. The NParks Pasir Panjang Nursery has established a collection of both native and cultivated fruit trees as well as edible plant species in the last few years. Since then, NParks has introduced more than 50 novel and unique edible plant cultivars cultivated in the nursery such as Golden Papaya and Society Garlic to community gardens through the Community in Bloom gardens (CIB) programme and to the public through sales at HortPark’s monthly Gardeners’ Day Out event and through gardening retail outlet Rake Spade at HortPark. Gardeners’ Day Out has resumed as a hybrid event with an online programme following a break due the pandemic.
As part of the goal to provide more spaces for gardening, the allotment gardening scheme has grown from 80 plots in a pilot at HortPark in 2016 to more than 1,700 allotment plots in twenty parks across the island which are fully subscribed. Registration for more than 230 plots across four parks opens today.
NParks has also been collaborating with other community organisations to set up allotment gardens and published a guide for setting up an allotment garden in October 2020. This includes working with the Housing and Development Board (HDB) to incorporate allotment gardens in town planning, and with town councils to set up allotment gardens in their neighbourhoods. The first allotment garden set up by a town council was launched in Jurong Spring in January 2020.
Under the Edibles Horticulture Masterplan, NParks also launched the Gardening with Edibles programme last year. We have committed and started distributing a total of 460,000 seed packets of edible plants, complemented with a slew of free online resources and workshops catering to different skill levels. These include tutorial videos, live question and answer sessions, and gardening masterclasses where attendees will also each receive edible seed packets of varieties relevant to their masterclass topics. The 1,000 attendees of today’s masterclass on ‘Rooted Vegetables’ will receive a packet of radish seeds.
These content are available on the NParksSG YouTube channel, NParksBuzz Facebook and Instagram platforms. Since the refresh of NParks’ digital channels in June 2020 NParks has produced more than 40 videos on gardening, four Facebook Live sessions, and eight masterclasses, reaching an audience of more than 600,000 across our digital channels.
More community gardening spaces and related programming
To encourage the setting up of community urban farms for edibles gardening in the heartlands, NParks is exploring working with social enterprises in the community urban farming sector. The aim is to create more spaces for recreational gardening, engage the community through gardening-related activities, and provide micro-employment and volunteering opportunities to residents.
New tranche of seeds of edible plants for distribution
To promote participation in the next Community Garden Edibles Competition in October 2021, NParks is distributing 3,000 seed packets of edible plant varieties eligible for submission to the competition. Registration of interest for the competition in October opens 20 March 2021 at go.gov.sg/cgec-registration.
The packets contain seeds for one type of fruit or vegetable. The plant seeds include species new to the Gardening with Edibles programme such as Cauliflower, Radish and Pumpkin.
Community Garden Edibles Competition 2021
The Community Garden Edibles Competition March 2021 awards ceremony takes place this weekend. Organised by NParks, this is a platform for enthusiastic gardeners to exchange gardening knowledge and through competition, raise the level of horticulture skills in the community. Since its inception in 2015, the Competition receives on average of over 400 entries submitted by both novice and experienced gardeners as well as from community gardening groups. This is evidence of the strong interest in gardening with edibles among the gardening community.
In recognition of the rising standards and knowledge of the local horticulture community, a new open category was introduced in March 2021 edition of the Competition, where participants may submit an edible plant that is unusual. 102 submissions were received for this category.
This edition of the competition, organised in conjunction with Gardeners’ Day Out also features a workshop by Rake Spade and a masterclass on growing edibles hosted by NParks’ horticulture expert. As part of Gardeners’ Day Out, there will be free gardening programmes such as nature crafts for kids, culinary demo using edibles and talks. These programmes will be made available online for free on the NParks YouTube channel.
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