Our very own Raleighian, Allan Lim, started Singapore’s first commercial rooftop vegetable farm in 2012 as a small community farm. Hear from Allan, an avid walker, on his local volunteering journey with Raleigh Singapore!
ComCrop is now the biggest rooftop farm in Southeast Asia, producing more than 150kg of leafy greens monthly from marginalised land.
Q. How did you first get involved with Raleigh Singapore?
A: I first got involved with Raleigh when my wife Dixie wanted to participate in Let’s Take A Walk. I thought of cooking her some eggs and serving her team some hot Milo when they are passing by a rest stop at Tanah Merah!
Since I already knew Bridgette and some other Raleigh members, I reached out to see if this was a good idea. I fried 300 eggs and made many cups of hot coffee, tea and Milo, as well as dispensed plasters and gave muscle rubs to many tired walkers in the middle of the night in a makeshift rest stop under a bus stop.
Q. Any memorable moments and precious lessons from your Raleigh experiences?
A: It’s the people in Raleigh who inspire me. Raleighians are like the Avengers – highly skilled and capable, with the heart to serve the community. I have called for help a few times within the Raleigh Singapore community during the Circuit Breaker period, as I was supporting the frontline of Covid outbreaks involving migrant workers. Each call was met with support for possible actions, offers of help and great advice, as the Raleigh members all gave selflessly, while being conscious of the pandemic’s risk and dangers.
During the lockdown, we also partnered Project Chulia Street, a long-standing partner of Raleigh Singapore, which supports migrant workers. We raised funds to purchase drinks from hawkers during the pandemic and sent them to the migrant worker dormitories.
I have learnt a lot from volunteering with Raleigh Singapore. Although I have not been on any expeditions, I am honoured to be recognised as a member!
Q. Tell us more about your pursuits in urban farming and how we can be a part of this. A: Large scale production vegetable farms on marginalised land is a viable solution towards providing food security for a small land-scarce city like Singapore. ComCrop started small but has since grown and is now focused on producing local greens for our community. Feeding our community with nutritious and affordable food will continue to be our mission.
It will definitely help if there is wide acceptance for local produce in Singapore. We need more people to know that there are plenty of vegetables, eggs, fish, prawns and even frogs that are grown and reared locally. It may not be the best in the world but it is the best that Singapore is producing with our limited natural resources. Let’s embrace the efforts for our local produce and be proud of what we grow!