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The History of Bollywood Veggies
Ivy and Martha Stewart
Both Bollywood and the region have grown in popularity in recent years, and in 2009 it was named the best LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) Region by an American research company. Over the years, the farm has seen everyone from Presidents to paupers, celebrities to celibates pay a visit -- attracting and welcoming all walks of life.
With Singapore's food production dropping dramatically since the 1960s to the present day, investing in places like the Kranji Countryside can help reverse this dangerous trend and help improve local food security. Places like Bollywood also exist to encourage Singaporeans to get back to nature, support local farmers and communities, think about sustainability, and enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
The Bollywood Veggies story started in 2000, shortly after Ivy Singh and her husband Lim Ho Seng shelved their plans to move to Perth. With the death of one of Ivy's best friend's husband, the couple pondered the direction their lives would take in their retirement years. Unwilling to waste away on a golf course, and cherishing their local friendships, the duo considered wider options.
When they chanced upon a newspaper story about farming in Singapore, they jumped to investigate further. Exploring the Kranji countryside, they talked with the few remaining farmers and explored what land was available. The idea of starting a farm was conceived then, and in spite of logistical and bureaucratic hurdles, Ivy and Ho Seng pressed on to establish the farm. They successfully tendered for a lease on 10 acres of land. With the help of then Minister of State for National Development Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, they pushed for changes in government agencies and regulations to realise the vision of life on a functioning farm in Singapore.
Continuing to invest in the land and the establishment, a new bistro named Poison Ivy was established, as well as a residence for the couple and a food museum. The name Bollywood Veggies was chosen because of Ivy's heritage, and also to reflect the enthusiasm and personality of the farm. The couple has made it a point to hire many special and challenged people, especially local Singaporeans, to help operate the farm and bistro, creating new employment opportunities for the underserved. The farm is run as sustainably as possible with no pesticides or fertilizers used on site, effectively making it an organic, planet-friendly operation.
Outside of the farm, Ivy has also pressed on further, helping to establish a new Kranji Countryside Association to represent local farmers and improve transport around the region. She was elected President and continues to represent the farmers to this day.