From left: Mr Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam, The Kingdom of the Netherlands, Grace Lim, Co-Founder and CEO of UFPSG, Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment and H.E. Margriet Vonno, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Singapore were at the soft opening of UFPSG’s GroGrace on 3rd of August. Copyright: Urban Farming Partners Singapore

SINGAPORE – 3 August 2022 – Urban Farming Partners (UFP) soft opened their first operational indoor farm – GroGrace today. Located in an industrial park in Penjuru, Jurong, the 650 sqm facility is soft opened by Guest of Honour, Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, as well as Esteemed Guests H.E. Margriet Vonno, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Singapore, and Mr Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam, The Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Acting as Urban Farming Partners Singapore’s (UFPSG) first vertical indoor farm and R&D centre, GroGrace signals to the local government, as well as domestic and international investors, the impactful potential of urban, indoor farming technologies to reduce Singapore’s dependence on imported produce. The GroGrace Facility is unique in the world because it is the only indoor farm where multiple layers of dry hydroponics systems are used. It is also the first vertical indoor facility farm that utilises a growing space with an aspect ratio exceeding 40% which greatly benefits air circulation and uniformity of climate. This prevents stresses to the plants and provides the flexibility to grow taller crops like leeks.

Originating from public-private partnership and part of the programme ‘Partners for International Business’, the UFPSG partnership includes the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, a government agency with access to a global network of embassies, such as the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Singapore, and private partners Priva, Orange Climate, Signify, Dry Hydroponics, KE GrowAir, Kenlog, KuiperCompagnons, and Walraven. Together with the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) and local company Bambull, UFPSG aims to promote urban farming in Singapore.

This collaboration between Singapore and the Netherlands is born out of both countries being fuelled by a need for survival and self-sustenance, rather than developing innovative technologies for vanity’s sake. Additionally, the collaboration between Singaporean and Dutch entrepreneurs embodies the continued spirit of a healthy exchange of knowledge between nations for mutual benefit, especially regarding the globalised issue of food security.

UFPSG’s mission is to be a total solutions, turn-key provider for indoor urban farms, integrating proven and patented Dutch technologies that are more sustainable alternatives to traditional horticulture. UFPSG’s vision is to build cities’ food resilience by enabling high quality vegetables from sustainable growing technologies.

GroGrace is UFPSG’s fruit of labour, with funding support by the SFA under the Agriculture Productivity Fund (APF) enabling the urban farming initiative to take the next steps toward strengthening Singapore’s food supply chain and paving the way to food security.

The 650 sqm facility consists of four 180 sqm growing floors, the top three of which will be used to grow leafy greens and herbs, while the bottom floor will be used for ongoing R&D for the growth of other kinds of produce. The current setup is expected to yield 33 tonnes of produce annually. Additionally, a key function of the GroGrace facility is to serve as a training centre for future upscaled Urban Farming Partners facilities utilising patented Dutch horticultural technologies.

GroGrace’s vertical design is scalable, and can be easily assembled, making it a great solution for a highly urbanised country like Singapore. The implementation of such facilities throughout Singapore can significantly contribute to Singapore’s ‘30 by 30′ goal to build the capability and capacity to produce 30% of our nutritional needs locally and sustainably by 2030.

Mr Darren Ho (left), head grower of UFPSG explaining to Dr Amy Khor the growth process of UFPSG’s crops. Copyright: Urban Farming Partners Singapore

At the opening ceremony, H.E. Margriet Vonno, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Singapore commented on the display of the Netherlands’ relationship with Singapore, as well as the Netherlands’ motivations for international collaboration in general.

“UFP is a showcase example of our excellent relationship with Singapore, and the embodiment of the Netherlands international positioning strategy which quotes: “Solving global challenges together.”, said H.E. Margriet Vonno, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Singapore.

Mr Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam, expressed his excitement at the possibilities that Dutch horticulture technologies can bring forth to Singapore.

“Pressing issues such as climate change, geopolitics and the Covid-19 pandemic have shown the importance of robust local food systems. Vertical farming is a game changing initiative in this regard. With the presence of high-level research, companies and universities, the Rotterdam region is one of the most important clusters for modernized farming concepts and horticulture in the world. However, we cannot tackle the diverse issues of food security individually. We are glad to share our knowledge in urban farming with a similarly land scarce region, and welcome the exchange of ideas to promote food sustainability. The GoGrace facility is an important step in the right direction”.

Co-Founder and CEO of UFPSG, Grace Lim, shared her personal connection to the issues of sustainability and food security,

“My keen interest in sustainable farming has prompted me to grow vegetables in my own garden 6 years ago. Ever since, I have been driven to establish the first facility in Singapore utilising 100% Dutch horticulture technologies, as I believe in the Dutch’s vision of feeding the world by turning growing cities into thriving farms. GroGrace makes it evident that vertical urban farming is feasible and scalable in Singapore and the region. I am certain that this facility, as well as this collaborative exchange of ideas with our Dutch partners, will serve as the springboard for further innovation in Singaporean agritech, as well as Singapore’s progression towards a more self-sustaining nation.

GroGrace is the first indoor farm to deploy 100% patented Dutch Horticulture technologies in the region. Copyright: Urban Farming Partners Singapore

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