The secret rooftop garden — it exists. Over a large expanse of land — 10,000 sq ft, actually — on the seventh floor of one of Singapore’s most popular malls, an urban farming wonderland is hidden in plain sight. You won’t ever see it as it’s not open to the public. Under the hot sun and with taller buildings in the vicinity looking on, urban farmers from Edible Garden City toil to bring to life 16 varieties of plants and herbs, with the intention of fulfilling the vision of Spa Esprit Group CEO Cynthia Chua, who dreams of putting a made-in-Singapore line of toiletries in the bathrooms of SQ planes. And by made-in-Singapore, she means that the products are made from plants grown and harvested right here. She may still be some way away from that dream, but the wheels have been set in motion. For starters, she has just launched two products in her new Farm to Beauty line: A calendula cream to soothe inflamed skin stuffed full of the essence of calendula blossoms grown on the Raffles City rooftop garden (along with other ingredients, some imported), and an aloe vera gel to calm post-waxing skin, featuring extract from the aloe vera plants flourishing on her rooftop farm.
This farm-to-beauty push is a level-up, if you like, from the farm-to-table idea at Cynthia’s Open Farm Community restaurant. It’s an even bolder vision which requires farmers, herbalists and chemists to work their magic together. For now, one harvest of the calendula crop allows the brand to make 1,600 bottles of calendula cream. It’s not a huge quantity, but as Cynthia says, “I’m not stressed about how much I can produce. That growing is possible is already exciting for me.” Meanwhile, the beauty and F&B visionary is already eyeing her next possible product: “Tembusu shower gel! I heard about this heritage Tembusu tree that only flowers three times a year, and apparently the smell is amazing. I’m looking for that product we can really call our own. Can you imagine? Tembusu shower gel?” We can’t wait.
Farm to Beauty products are available at Strip and Browhaus at Raffles City Shopping Centre. Teas made with herbs and flowers grown on the farm are also available.