Green fingers, here's some good news.
The National Parks Board (NParks) will be distributing 400,000 packets of edible plant seeds this year.
400,000 packets of edible plant seeds
This time round, NParks will be distributing seeds for the following 10 edible leafy greens:
- Kang Kong
- Xiao Bai Cai
- Cai Xin
- Kai Lan
- Green Bayam
- Green and Red/Purple Bayam
- Nai Bai Cai
- Kow Peck Chye
- Chinese Mustard
- Huang Jing Bai Cai
This distribution is part of NParks' Gardening with Edibles programme, which was launched last year in 2020 and saw some 460,000 edible seed packets distributed.
Each registered person is eligible to one seed packet which contains one type of edible plant.
Similar to the previous rounds of seed distribution, the packet comes with a plant care sheet in four different languages.
How to register for the free seeds?
Members of public can either register online on the NParks' website, or via calling 6499 1099.
Registrations open at 10am on Oct. 10 and will close at 11:59pm on Oct. 31.
Those who registered successfully will get their seed packet via mail.
Social Enterprise Community Urban Farm Grant
NParks will also be launching a new grant called the Social Enterprise Community Urban Farm (SECUF) Grant to support urban farms with a community focus, Minister for National Development Desmond Lee announced in his speech at the launch of Singapore Garden Festival Horticultural Show on Oct. 9.
These farms can create more spaces for recreational gardening and can provide part-time job opportunities to seniors or persons with special needs living in the vicinity.
The grant has two components and they are only available to social enterprises that are members of the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise, NParks' press release stated.
1. Programming Support grant
Up to S$50,000 of funding goes to provide subsidies to conduct hands-one edible gardening workshops and outreaches.
Registration for this fund will open on Nov. 15, 2021.
2. Infrastructure Support grant
Up to S$500,000 of the funding will go to supporting up to 25 per cent of the infrastructure and set-up costs involved in the establishment of SECUFs at pre-identified sites.
According to NParks, tenders of the pre-identified sites will be released progressively starting from the first quarter of 2022, and the grant will be effective until 2025 and subject to the availability of funds.
Gardening boosts mental resilience
Gardening has a positive impact on mental health, and this is evident during the pandemic last year.
NParks conducted a study between May 2021 and July 2021 with some 5,700 participants who garden weekly.
The data were compared against the data collected via a separate study that asked the same set of questions, conducted by National University Health System's Mind Science Centre and the Community Care Buddy, but to demographically-representative respondents in the general community.
NParks found that the mental resilience of the participants who garden was higher than those in the general community, and the trend was also consistent across different age groups.
The results suggest that people who garden regularly are able to better regulate their emotions, maintain good relations, and cope with stress during the pandemic. They also have greater confidence and positive thinking.
In particular, those who spend more than one hour on gardening each week scored better for mental resilience, as compared to those who spend less than an hour on gardening.
NParks said that the study is a work in progress and will be published later in 2021.
Other gardening-related stories to get you inspired:
Top photo courtesy of NParks