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Woodlands Active Garden(Team Nila volunteers at the Woodlands Sport Centre Active Farm. Photo Credit: Team Nila)

 

By Danielle Han 

 

It is a bountiful year for Active Farms across ActiveSG sport centres, with Woodlands Sport Centre’s Active Farm recognised as one of the top 10 Gardens of the Year in NPark’s Community in Bloom Awards (Educational Institutions and Organisations Category). Rounding off a great harvest, Toa Payoh Sport Centre and Clementi Swimming Complex’s Active Farms received commendable mentions in the Gold Category, while Kallang Basin Swimming Complex was featured in the Silver Category.

First seeded as an idea to optimise green spaces within ActiveSG facilities while creating opportunities for community bonding, Active Farming has blossomed into a staple in Team Nila’s volunteering roster. Most Active Farms are maintained almost solely by Team Nila volunteers who take turns with tasks such as watering crops, feeding the animals (yes, some have fish, and Toa Payoh’s Farm even has chickens) and pulling weeds!

While it may not look like a high impact physical activity, Active Farming sessions can involve repeated bending and squatting movements, heavy lifting, and prolonged standing, almost like an outdoor multiplanar workout. Senior volunteers, in particular, enjoy Active Farming as a way to keep active, maintain their physical fitness, and enjoy the outdoors.

“Volunteering in the Active Farms allows me to be close to nature. It makes me happy to watch the plants grow, and helps me stay active,” shared Angela, a silver volunteer who helps out at several Active Farms including Woodlands, Toa Payoh, and Bishan.

Elaborating on the benefits of farming, Angela shared that movements such as squatting, bending and digging helps her maintain muscle mass, and being outdoors helps her get natural Vitamin D without relying on pills.

Flourishing under Team Nila’s green fingers, Active Farms now provide additional platforms to give back to the local community. Woodlands’ Active Farm, for example, regularly harvests fresh vegetables and herbs for beneficiaries in the locale such as Metta Home, the local mosque. They also support grassroots collaborations like Store@Woodlands, a community store initiative led by Sembawang GRC MP Ms Mariam Jaafar with their fresh harvests.

Active Farms also host learning journeys with grassroots organisations and schools, educating participants about sustainable farming and the basics of growing vegetables.

“Being the pioneer sport centre in Active Farming, Team Nila volunteers have dedicated their time and heart work towards the Woodlands Sport Centre Active Farm over the years. Thanks to their effort, we have been able to leverage the Active Farm to establish close partnerships with grassroots, schools and non-profit organisations for deeper community outreach,” said Senior Centre Manager Kevin Tan.

“It is not just a farm. It is also an education hub, and a platform to promote social and mental wellness for all ages. Receiving the Community in Bloom Awards demonstrates this, and is a result of strength through teamwork!”

Those interested in joining Team Nila as an Active Farmer may register as a Team Nila volunteer here.

Community in Bloom Awards 2021 (Educational Institutions and Organisations)
Sport Singapore Recipients

  • Garden of the Year Award – Woodlands Sport Centre Active Farm
  • Outstanding Community Engagement Award – Woodlands Sport Centre Active Farm
  • Platinum Award – Woodlands Sport Centre Active Farm
  • Gold Award – Toa Payoh Sport Centre Active Farm
  • Gold Award – Clementi Swimming Complex Active Farm
  • Silver Award – Kallang Basin Swimming Complex Active Farm

Full results available here.

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