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DBS brings community farming to Changi Business Park

IN addition to its banking services, DBS Asia Hub at Changi Business Park will soon also house a community farm with some 50 varieties of edible plants and herbs.

The  farm, dubbed the DBS Food Forest, will be completed at the end of this year. Conceptualised in partnership with social enterprise Edible Garden City, it will feature vegetables such as sweet potato leaves and watercress, herbs such as galangal and lemongrass, as well as a variety of tropical fruits.

“Having a supply of produce close by also reduces the number of trips that suppliers need to make to deliver ingredients to DBS premises. This not only helps reduce transport costs, but also contributes towards the lowering of carbon emissions,” South-east Asia’s largest lender said in a media statement on Wednesday.

The farm will be tended by DBS staff, who will help in weeding, maintenance and harvesting. The bank plans to work with the premises’ in-house cafeteria to use farm produce in preparing meals for its employees. 

“By bringing food production right to the workplace, we hope to get our employees interested enough in urban farming to be involved in one of the more than 1,500 community gardens across our housing estates, or to even try their hand at growing small batches of crops in their own home,” said DBS’s Singapore country head Shee Tse Koon.

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In keeping with DBS’s vision for zero food waste, the farm will include an on-site composting system that converts organic waste from the cafeteria into organic fertiliser, which will in turn be used for the next harvest. This completes the cycle from crop to compost.

In the starting up phase, compost derived from coffee grounds collected at last year’s Singapore FinTech Festival will be used to fertilise the soil. 

The farm will also include carbon and resource-conserving features. For instance, waste wood chips and shavings will be compacted into “bricks” to line footpaths. A water-efficient drip irrigation system with an automatic timer will also be used to keep plants hydrated, while preventing unnecessary watering and wastage.

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