They better so Singapore doesn’t lose her soul, says Bollywood Veggies founder Ivy Singh-Lim.
Ask Ms Ivy Singh-Lim why she started a farm, and the 67-year-old does not mince her words. None of that push for healthy living; it was a way of sharing her privilege.
Together with husband Lim Ho Seng, she ditched migration plans and started Bollywood Veggies in 2000.
In 2011, the farm won a case against the Building & Construction Authority, which alleged that it did not adhere to inspection notices. Ms Singh-Lim kissed the ground and shaved her head outside the State Courts. She has also announced an interest to start a female political group called the Gentlewarrior’s Party.
Her flamboyant, no-holds barred persona has gained her a following in the media and local farm community. Over the years, Bollywood Veggies – located at the secluded Neo Tiew Road – has become a quiet haven in Singapore for those looking to slow down, destress and connect with nature.
Here’s what we learnt from a quick catch-up:
Credit: Suasti Lye Photography
She’s not a fan of the term ‘organic’
Ivy: ‘Organic’ is a seven letter word imported by Western society to make people pay more for their food. This word existed for millennia in the region as kampung (Malay for ‘village’). We just need to remember that we have always had the capability to grow food without harmful additives and start to do it again, pricing it fairly for a larger segment of the population to have access to.
Farming contributes to the soul of Singapore (and the rich can help)
Ivy: Knowing where your food comes from is one of the most basic connections humans should have with our environment. The countryside is therefore the soul of Singapore because it gives people the chance to connect back to the very thing that nourishes them. It’s also important for rich people to love the land and the community, and to do something with their privilege instead. I always believe that a country only has hope if its rich love it.
Public flats are perfect for sowing a love of nature
Ivy: Housing and Development Board estates are full of underutilised and prim and proper space, such as void decks and empty fields. Dig ponds and grow edible plants and trees. Teach neighbourhood children to be warriors and bring back to kampung spirit. Before we even talk about vertical farming, use the space on the ground effectively!
“Knowing where your food comes from is one of the most basic connections humans should have with our environment. The countryside is therefore the soul of Singapore because it gives people the chance to connect back to the very thing that nourishes them.”
Founder of Bollywood Veggies Ivy Singh-Lim
Local farms are doing blooming business
Ivy: Many people wish to support local farmers. The agriculture industry is growing but it is innovating and transforming itself from primary production. However, farms also need to provide other services to be able to sustain themselves, hence they are increasingly opening up to agri-tourism, agritainment and promoting heritage and education.
Don’t expect to buy vegetables at Bollywood Veggies
Ivy: Many people wish to buy my vegetables but as I do not sell or sell at an exorbitant price only, I direct them to other local farms. My farm produce is mostly used by my bistro kitchen and we have little excess for sale.
Those interested to try unique dishes like Moringa Tempura, Bollywood Wings and Warrior’s Chicken curry should pay Poison Ivy Bistro a visit.
Lucky guests may be able catch Ms Singh-Lim in the very environment she loves best (P.S. Stop her for a chat!)
Poison Ivy Bistro
100 Neo Tiew Road
+65 6898 5001
Closed on Monday & Tuesday, except on Public Holidays
Wednesday – Friday: 9.30am to 6.30pm
Saturday & Sunday: 8am to 6.30pm