The four-storey JTC industrial building at 15 Woodlands Loop is filled with small factories in the food trade. You will find manufacturers producing everything from dim sum to satay. What is less obvious is that there is another type of producer hidden away at the top of the building – ComCrop, a rooftop farm that grows vegetables using hydroponics.
ComCrop: Turning Rooftops into Productive Spaces
ComCrop began as a community farm in 2011. However, it soon turned into a commercial venture in 2013, seeking out under-utilised rooftop spaces and turning them into a productive resource.
On a visit to ComCrop, conducted as part of a media tour for Go Green SG, we got to see how this rooftop urban farm is making use of technology to grow vegetables.
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The vegetables at ComCorp are grown across five greenhouses and 30,000 square feet of greenhouse space on the rooftop of 15 Woodlands Loop.
Technology at Work
The journey of a vegetable starts in the Seeding Room when it is first potted into a tray filled with moss that ComCrop imports from Europe. This process is automated with the use of a piece of machinery.
The use of technology and machinery is a theme that comes up again and again as we tour the rooftop farm.
ComCrop grows lettuce, kale, basil, mint and rosemary for sale. These are all done in the controlled environment of the greenhouses.
These greenhouses are not the traditional sort that are designed to keep heat in. Instead, they are designed to keep pests out and provide the best environment for the vegetables to grow.
Mini weather stations inside the greenhouses take measurements of the temperature, sunlight and windspeed. These are used to then determine if there is a need to deploy a shade over the greenhouse, or to turn on fans to providing the optimal level of cooling.
At the Fertigation Room, computers control the levels of fertilizer and water that is being supplied to the gully systems where the plants are growing.
All this automation allow ComCrop to produce a yield of 20 tons of vegetables per month.
From Rooftop Farm to Market
However, the last part of the process is where greater human intervention is needed.
The vegetables are harvested by hand before being sent to the Packing Room.
There, they are inspected and packed before being shipped out to local supermarkets like FairPrice, ShengSiong and Redmart. The vegetables are packed with their roots so that they can last longer.
A visit to the ComCrop rooftop farm is an eye-opening experience. It highlights how an environmentally sustainable “production line” of food can be created – something that also adds to Singapore’s food security. And by producing the vegetables closer to where it is consumed, it is also greener by helping to save food miles.
ComCrop is organising farm tours as part of Go Green SG in July 2023. Find out more about their tours and what else is on as part of the Go Green SG initiative.
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