Interview with Derrick Ng
We interviewed Derrick Ng for the tip on Grow Your Own Food, here’s the full interview:
Describe yourself and what you do.
I’m 31 years old and married with a kid and currently residing at Tampines. I’m an entrepreneur and enjoy doing thing with nature. I’m easy going with an extrovert personality and like meeting people.
At present, I’m running a F&B and farm business. I’m an urban farmer with the management skills to run a farm and produce quality, pesticide-free leafy vegetables without compromising our environment. The resources are all about reduce, recycle and reuse to sustain my business.
Why are you interested to grow your own food? Is there influence from your family?
It all started because of my son. In the past, he will come down with the common flu and cough. His body immunity is weak. Every month, he will visit our family doctor more than 2 to 3 times. After the consultation, the doctor will always prescribe us with either common cold or flu medicine with the occasional antibiotics. Soon after, I began to invest in organic food but the price is not sustainable. So, I decided to take the matter into my own hands and started to grow my own veggies along the corridor. To my surprise, his health improved and he enjoys taking veggies that is grown from me.
At the same time, the cost of sustaining my F&B business is rising. I began to use my produce to sustain my fish soup stall to curb the hike in operation cost. To my surprise, my customers actually tasted the veggies and keep coming back and share with me that my veggies tasted sweet and crunchy. I then begin to think how I’m able to reach out to more people to buy and eat my veggies that are organically grown in soil.
I must say that it is the power of the community who has given me the strength and courage to set up a vegetable farm in Singapore.
At this junction, my family plays an important role in my life. I resigned from a high paying salary and decide to pursuit something meaningful in my life and, contribute my service to more people. My wife, Eunis, is the one who has always stand by me. She’s the one who never fail me and keep supporting me without condition.
How did you start growing food? Who taught you? What are some challenges?
Nobody taught me. I learn thru experience and interaction with many growers or hobbyist who are plying the same trade. However, the skill is not structured and only learned thru experience and the right method to administer the growing process. Simultaneously, I surf the net for information and the theory behind managing commercial farms.
The challenge is sustaining the operation cost of managing the farm while keeping the price economical. With the tightening of labour and cost of doing business in Singapore is not cheap, it is always in my mind how to use innovative ideas to improve my productivity yield. Secondly, how to retain talent and especially the younger generation.
What do you grow at home? What do you grow in the community garden?
I specialise in growing mostly the common leafy vegetables that the consumers want. For example, Chye Sim, Pek Chye and Chinese Cabbage etc. Currently, I have task my volunteers to grow rock melon in our community garden.
What do you use the food grown for? For own use or sell to the community?
I grow the food for my family and friends. The balance will be supplied to the community and then to my fish soup stall. I have expanded my operation of growing my veggies at Neo Tiew. I believe in no time, I can have the sufficient produce and constantly supply pesticide-free veggies to my supporters.
Find out more about Derrick and his vegetable garden and farm at Generation Green.
Interview and Images credit: Derrick Ng