Champion of farming in Singapore
Singapore does have a countryside, and it has a Gentle Warrior watching its back. Ivy Singh-Lim, , who describes herself as a ‘farmpreneur’, has for the last decade championed the interests of the small but committed band of farmers in Kranji.
Bollywood Veggies, the farm that she and her husband, former corporate leader Lim Ho Seng, have run in Kranji since 2001 attracts tourists and locals alike. Visitors can wander around the farm, eat in the Poison Ivy bistro which uses produce from the farm and others in the area, take part in cooking classes, or learn about the history of food and how it has influenced human civilisation at the Food Museum.
While doing any of these, they are very likely to come across Ivy, often with Ho Seng nearby. The couple and their dogs live in a large house next to the farm. No chemical pesticides or fertilisers are used on the farm as Ivy believes in the planet-friendly, kampung way of growing food.
The exuberant and energetic Ivy calls herself ‘the Gentle Warrior’ because she believes in fighting for what she believes in. And when she puts her mind and her mouth to a cause, she can become a significant force.
Before food security and sustainability became her chief concern, Ivy was very much the driving force of Netball Singapore. She was president of the association from 1992 to 2006, and she is widely credited with bringing new life to the sport. New premises were secured, participation in regional and international championships was stepped up, and in 2000 the semi-professional Netball Super League was created. In 2001 netball was played for the first time at the SEA Games, and Singapore won the silver medal.
Ivy stepped down from Netball Singapore in 2006 to focus on Bollywood Veggies, as well as on leading the Kranji Countryside Association (KCA), The association aims to promote local agriculture and food production, eco-tourism, education, recreation and conservation, and introduced the concept of ‘agritainment’ to Singapore with farms opening up to the public.
In November 2011 the association launched the Kranji Heritage Trail. Supported by the National Heritage Board and NTUC Fairprice Foundation, the trail features 14 historical and agricultural landmarks in the area.
Ivy strongly believes that the countryside ‘should be a place with a soul’, with challenged Singaporeans able to find employment and empowerment on the farms. The Bollywood Veggies team includes two people with physical disabilities.
"What has happened to the good old leisure pastimes of reading, fishing and gardening? Has our city become so "modernised" that we forget to teach our children the importance — and appreciation — of a day out in the open, or a book?"