Speech by Minister Desmond Lee at the Launch of the Singapore Garden Festival Horticultural Show
Oct 9, 2021
Today, I am glad to launch the second edition of our Singapore Garden Festival Horticultural Show, or SGF Hort Show. In 2019, we held our first edition of the SGF Hort Show at Jurong Lake Gardens. It was very well received, and gave Singaporeans the opportunity to enjoy horticultural displays, show plants, and a pop-up marketplace.
This year, we have had to make changes to adapt to the current COVID-19 situation. However, we still have an exciting line-up of events for the SGF Hort Show. Do join in our virtual talks, workshops, and activities from home. You can pick up gardening and floral display tips from our local experts, and learn more about plants. We are also holding competitions for horticultural plants, orchids, edible plants, balcony gardens, and more. Let me take the opportunity to congratulate our competition participants and winners for their impressive displays. And to the participants of the competitions which are still ongoing, good luck!
The winning submissions can be viewed on-site at the Singapore Botanic Gardens from 9 to 17 October, and Jurong Lake Gardens from 23 to 31 October. Safe management measures will be in place to prevent crowding. You can view the winning submissions online too! If you would like to view the on-site displays in person, do use NParks’ online registration system to book your visit timeslot before coming down.
We are also holding this year’s Hort Show in conjunction with the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ Heritage Festival 2021, which will feature virtual activities as well. You can learn about the Botanic Gardens’ history through a virtual tour, and even tune in to a jazz concert.
Supporting our Gardening Movement
Gardening and horticulture play an important part in Singapore’s greening journey, and our transformation into a City in Nature.
Through gardening and horticulture, we can beautify our streets, estates, and homes, and enjoy nature’s benefits for our health and well-being. In fact, NParks and the NUHS Mind Science Centre recently conducted a study on the effects of gardening on mental resilience. They found that regularly gardening for at least one hour a week is correlated with better mental well-being!
We can also grow edible plants, which we can enjoy in our meals. In doing so, we can become more aware of the value of food and the hard work that our local farmers put in every day. We launched the Gardening with Edibles initiative last year, which provided seed packets for households to grow edible plants, with the support of founding partners DBS Bank and Tote Board. NParks has already distributed 460,000 seed packets for leafy greens and fruited vegetables, and we are very encouraged by this overwhelming demand!
We will launch another round of seed distribution, starting tomorrow – and we will give out another 400,000 seed packets! I encourage everyone to take this chance to join in our national gardening movement. If you would like to sign up to receive a seed packet, you can visit NParks’ website to indicate your interest through NParks’ online form from tomorrow onwards. I would like to thank Garden City Fund and our new partner SingPost, for supporting this effort.
We are also partnering Shopee to launch a Singapore Garden Festival eMarketplace for this year’s Hort Show. The SGF eMarketplace will allow you to purchase plants and horticultural products from the comfort of your home, throughout the Hort Show!
I hope you will take advantage of these opportunities to take up gardening at home, or to expand your garden.
Beyond home gardening, we also support gardening in estates and communities. We have over 1,700 community gardens and 2,000 allotment garden plots island-wide. In fact, we recently launched applications for new allotment garden plots over the past few weeks, and I am glad that these have been well received. For interested gardeners who would like to lease a plot, do look out for more launches coming up!
We also want to support urban farms run by social enterprises, with a community focus. Such community urban farms not only grow edible plants, but also allow our community to bond through gardening activities and programmes. They can also provide part-time employment opportunities for residents in the area, especially seniors and persons with special needs who prefer to work near their homes. Like the Gardening with Edibles initiative, these community urban farms will complement our “30 by 30” goal to produce 30% of our nutritional needs in Singapore by 2030, to strengthen food security and social resilience.
We want to support social enterprises to set up and operate such farms. We will therefore launch a new Social Enterprise Community Urban Farm Grant, as part of the Gardening with Edibles initiative. The grant will have two components: the Infrastructure Support Grant will help social enterprises set up new community urban farms at pre-identified plots, by co-funding the site development costs. And the Programming Support Grant will provide funding for social enterprises to run hands-on edible gardening workshops for the community.
We will open applications for the grant soon, and we welcome social enterprises to apply. We look forward to partnering you to make our gardening movement even more vibrant & inclusive, and to also strengthen our bonds within the community!
Taking part in gardening and horticulture is one tangible way in which we can make Singapore greener & more sustainable. These are key goals of the Singapore Green Plan 2030, our national sustainability movement.
So I invite you to check out the SGF Hort Show activities, apply for a Gardening with Edibles seed packet to grow your own home garden, and join us in our sustainability journey today. Thank you.