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Founded by Scott and Justine Farmer in 2018, The Farmers is a Singaporean social enterprise promoting sustainability, cultural reconnection and local ecology through urban agriculture. Their urban farm is located right in their front garden, and has encouraged their community to grow their own herbs and food, and reconnect with others and nature.
This venture started with an aim to bridge the disconnect that many city-dwellers have between where food is grown and produced, and where it is consumed. After quitting their jobs and embarking on a nine-month travelling adventure, the couple became inspired by small family-run gardens that were a common-sight abroad. Upon returning to Singapore, they decided to set up their own urban farm to grow fresh produce.
While Scott returned to a new job after starting the project, Justine has since dedicated herself to The Farmers. Since 2018, The Farmers has blossomed into a sustainable business that sells fresh herbs, tea and fruits at neighbouring farmer’s markets and offers monthly cooking workshops. Depending on their seasonal harvest, the sprouting start-up also drops off homemade nasi ulam (herb salad rice) to nearby offices during lunchtime.
At the core of The Farmers is the Malay philosophy of Balik Kampung. The phrase, which is commonly used to describe the journey taken by migrant workers who travel back to their village during festivals and holidays, is central to The Farmers’s commitment to reconnect with culture, history, heritage and the community. Therefore, the urban farm seeks to create a local food system that involves neighbours, humanising the production process.
In their “A Seat At The Farmers’ Table” workshops, participants can connect with their inner gardener, discovering local herbs, teas and fruit such as soursop and butterfly pea in Justine and Scott’s garden and even making a meal out of it. On top of picking and cooking fresh ingredients, participants also get a complete tour of the garden and sustainable farming tips.
The couple’s front and backyard has also become the new hotspot around the block. Ten months into their project, neighbours often stop by to chat and exchange tips with the couple and other residents. An elderly neighbour even gifted the couple with seedlings and a balonglong fruit.
“Before that, we didn’t even know what [balonglong was]. I grew up here, but I didn’t know a lot of my neighbours. Now, I’ve spoken to more [of them]…than I did in over twenty years,” enthused Justine in a recent interview.
For Justine and Scott, The Farmers is more than just a business. It has become their new purpose-driven brainchild to spread local action on sustainability, cultivate a community spirit, and advocate for simpler lifestyles.
Lead image courtesy of The Tender Gardener.