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Building a rooftop farm at East Campus with Community Lab and the Heartland Farmers

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Building a rooftop farm at East Campus with Community Lab and the Heartland Farmers

It is Saturday, 2pm. A group of volunteers is getting ready to brace the sun and carry on with the work at the East Campus’ rooftop. They have been meeting weekly for the last seven weeks to build a hydroponics set up at the roof. Today, the expectation is high: the group planned to complete building the system so that they can start planting.

The Rooftop Farm project is part of the Tech Saturday (TS) programme organised by the Community Lab at UWCSEA East. Here, volunteers from the UWCSEA community and across Singapore come together to use technology to address sustainability issues. Each project season lasts for 8-10 weeks.

In this season, we explored the issue of food sustainability in collaboration with the Heartland Farmers. By building a rooftop farm at UWCSEA East, we learned to appreciate the challenges involved in bringing food to our plates.

Heartland Farmers is an organisation that sprung up from a simple need to enjoy nature in urban areas where space for gardening is limited. They are interested in increasing the availability of local produce, and to reduce food waste, by designing and building commercial scale rooftop farms based on hydroponic/aquaponic technologies and also by creating micro-kits for personal home-based hydroponic growing.

This season, our volunteers picked up hands-on skills such as using the power tools to do woodworking and modifying waste bins for the hydroponics systems as they built the hydroponics farm on the roof. Check out their weekly updates here.

Overall, this project has taught us much about working together as a community to accomplish something out of the ordinary on a very limited budget. At the same time the point of the project being to grow produce for the community to enjoy, the catchphrase “Let’s grow together!” has taken on a double meaning. 

At UWCSEA East we hope to be able to continue growing produce, the system and the community, and turn this project into an exemplary example of the potential that can be reached when a community comes together.

Join us for the next season, when we will start planting on the rooftop farm!

20 Jun 2017
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