Last Updated: March 3, 2021
There is a saying during ‘Circuit Breaker’, that in those isolating times you’d either become a baker or a gardener. If you took the latter route, chances are you would come across Super Farmers’ fun urban farming kits.
Indeed, I am a cliché and, true to form, became a gardener over the two months of lockdown. Towering monsteras and finicky begonias have become my new babies. Plus, growing my own kang kong was surprisingly rewarding and helped keep me sane, no matter how measly the harvest.
After all, gardening is a form of self-care, and with what a treacherous year 2020 was, self-care is more important than ever. While one would associate baths, face masks, and massages with self-care, food rarely comes up as a worthy tool.
That’s where Cynthea Lam of Super Farmers comes in. Super Farmers is all about how food can be more than mere sustenance but for healing instead. We caught up with Cynthea as she tells us about her journey with self-care, food, and hopes for 2021.
Nicole Lam: Most people know about Super Farmers through the fun Urban Farming kits you have. Could you give us a comprehensive image of what Super Farmers is all about?
Cynthea Lam: Super Farmers is a wellness company. We teach people how to live and eat well through education and provide products about emotional management. Our aim is always to make everything simple so that people are not intimidated by the idea of living well. Living well doesn’t cost much and should never have to, which is why our tagline is “Wellness Made Simple”.
We have combined emotional and nutritional wellness into one because one cannot flourish without the other. Our mental health contributes to our physical health and vice versa. This entire framework results from my journey healing from a 30-year episode of chronic eczema and a 6-year bout of severe insomnia.
What is a common misconception people make about the relationship between food and wellness?
One misconception people have is that ‘healthy food’ has to have no salt, no oil, no fat, no sugar, and no carbs. With rules like that, I can assure you, there’ll be no more joy in life.
I’ve also noticed that people love referring to statistics when it comes to their bodies. However, our bodies are so uniquely-built, no two people are the same. So, we should never think that we are just part of some kind of number. My approach is always to listen inwards—to me, that’s our greatest gift.
Also, people love blaming food for the state of their health, which I strongly disagree. Your physical health might be an indicator of deeper emotional issues that haven’t been adequately addressed yet.
That is to say; wellness isn’t just about food. Wellness is an intrinsic mix of nutritional understanding and emotional management. That’s what Super Farmers is about; we want people to be the best versions of themselves, physically and emotionally. Our products and services are designed to support that journey for everyone.
How has your journey with food and Super Farmers influenced the way you eat in your daily life?
I used to eat with so much guilt. I would blot fries in between two pieces of paper and avoided fried chicken wings like the plague, even though it brought me so much joy. I now eat with ease I’ve never felt before.
Just to be clear, when I say to eat without guilt, it doesn’t mean to over-indulge mindlessly just to experience the joy of eating. It is about understanding the reason why I felt guilty about eating these foods in the first place. I worked on tackling the source of those emotions first. Once we gain an insight into these issues, we can stop the unhealthy habits of over-indulging or depriving ourselves.
The amount of paradigm shifts I have experienced throughout this journey truly has changed the way I feel about food. It has impacted my health so significantly that my 30-year episode of eczema has finally healed, and my six-year severe bout of insomnia has stopped as well. My last doctor visit was in January of 2018.
Super Farmers has a couple of nature-led self-care programmes. What does self-care mean to you, and could you share your routine with us?
Self-care, to me, isn’t about going to the spa, massages, yoga, or reading a book. Self-care is much deeper than that. Self-care is about giving myself time to go inward, and having someone to help facilitate that is so important.
I spend a few hours each week with my therapist, regardless of how busy I am. This is when I can offload and understand how to solve some of life’s seemingly insurmountable issues. Of course, it doesn’t mean giving the job of solving my problems to someone else because that is ultimately our responsibility. Instead, it is about having a safe space to discuss issues and then discovering solutions for them.
Take our signature self-care programme, Apoteacary™. Here, our clients can experience some quiet away from their busy lives through our programme. In this programme, they learn how to manage certain bodily conditions using herbs with high therapeutic benefits. Most clients don’t want to leave after that!
The Urban Farming movement has really taken off with the Circuit Breaker as one of the main catalysts. What do you think draws people to gardening and urban farming?
We used to hug, shake hands, huddle in groups, but now, everyone is apart, contactless and virtual. Our most intrinsic connection is lost. When we get a chance to grow plants, it’s sort of like rekindling that connection again.
It’s inherent in us to want to nurture something—indeed, it’s our human instinct. As urbanites living in Singapore, we crave that connection with each other and nature. The ability to grow something in our tiny urban space is both enriching and rewarding.
What do you hope for in the wellness industry in 2021?
My hope is for organisations in Singapore to acknowledge that their employees’ wellness is of utmost importance. Everyone is stretched, overworked, and stressed—2021 is the year to address that.
As for Super Farmers, we will continue to provide a safe space for people to have a quiet moment with healing teas through our Apoteacary™ programme. We also hope to bring this programme to companies so that they can reap the benefits of this workshop as well.
406 Joo Chiat Place, #01-23, Singapore 428084
406 Joo Chiat Place, #01-23, Singapore 428084