Can we grow eggplants?
Sowing seeds of love
Urban farming is just one of numerous activities offered for the elderly by THKMC (Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities). These activities are specially designed to help seniors get together and interact with the volunteers as they learn new things.
“The volunteers have brought great joy and comfort to us, especially during this pandemic,” shares Mdm Lim, a senior beneficiary. “We appreciate their efforts and their time teaching us how to farm, and how to use our phones.”
“I come from a farming background so I’m pretty much aware of the usual farming methods,” Abhijit shares. “But in urban farming, you grow in a small space with a higher crop density.
“You need to have LED lights of a particular intensity, you need to have different kinds of fertiliser ratios for different kinds of plants.” The geeks would know: Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are three main components in growing any plant.
At best science can bewilder, so it comes as a surprise to Abhijit when even at their age, the elderly are still very much curious to learn about the processes in farming their own plants. However, things don’t just stop at theory.
“The next part is getting hands on,” Abhijit says. “These plants you see behind me? They were actually prepared by the elderly during the workshop.” Bathed in LED are tiny brown pots of lettuce, adorning the walls.
“The elderly come as a group for a few weeks back to back, to see how their plants are growing. Sometimes, it’s also a competition, like, my plant is growing better than yours.”
Earnest pupils of their craft, the elderly would normally ask questions over doubts, fret over yellowing leaves, and “some even treat it as their duty to visit the centre and water the plants frequently.”
“It’s about people coming together.”
“I can play games anytime, but this is about spending quality time,” Abhijit shares. “Some of the elderly may be here just to farm, but some could also be lonely at home; or that they don’t have someone to talk to; or they don’t normally interact with the young.”
His passion for urban farming may stand him in good stead with the elderly, but this is about something bigger: “You can start urban farming by just watching YouTube videos, but volunteering has a different purpose. It’s about people coming together, and urban farming’s the way we break the ice.” When we give back, our passions ripen.
See how THKMC is making a difference at https://www.thkmc.org.sg
Meet a group to share your passion for good at www.sg
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