Huiying & Cuifen of Foodscape core team went to check out the edible garden at Open Farm Community, and of course we had to try the delicious food served at the restaurant too!
But first, the edible garden. It’s been quite some months since we visited the place, and the food garden has taken shape. Edible plants are being grown and landscaped into the area surrounding the restaurant. There’s a mandala garden at one corner, and terraces in another… A handwritten note on the wall proclaims >40 types of herbs, and >12 types of vegetables can be found in the garden.
Amongst the green, are mysterious-looking clay sculptures designed by a local ceramist and fired at Thow Kwang, one of Singapore’s historic dragon kilns. The sculptures were designed by the ceramist, Steven Low, as part of his exploration of seed metamorphosis, as life emerges from within. Love how the garden blends 2 locals – local food, local art, and even local history into a single space!
And then garden to kitchen. Right at the doorway, there was a hand-written board proclaiming what’s harvested from the garden. There’s cat whiskers! and also basil, thyme, rosemary… We got to try 4 different dishes, and what can we say… they are good!!! Will go there again, just to sample the food again.
We learnt that some of the restaurant staff are into learning more about local food farming too. It’s interesting to hear that they have local farm visits every 2 weeks, just so that the chefs really get it, get it!
After introducing our work, Cui Fen shared about her interest in learning about others’ gardens. Hang Chong gave input on why learning about food security locally is important, giving lots of anecdotes.
Some highlights of the conversation:
Reiterating that the offline component is integral to our work, much as we are trying to build an online community for knowledge sharing. Farming isn’t only about one thing; we want to understand individuals’ motivations–everyone has their own interests, and understanding these interests, and creating a sustained knowledge community around these interests, helps us work towards a common goal.
Why is our work different from other online communities like Facebook groups on gardens? Responses: there is a diversity of questions and interests (e.g. what heirloom plants do we still have? everyone has a different interest in food. an online collaborative platform helps us share information about this)
LG pitched in, talking about her interest in gardens, and some work she has recently started doing, wanting to document the deep knowledge that a 70+-year-old gardener, Uncle Tan, has
Lots of sharing from Terence, Kian Wee, Geok Kuan and others that evening, which was very heartening!
Possibilities that have opened up
Huiying shared about Edible Gardens’ interest in working with community gardeners to plant and sell or barter harvests, with a moderately good response
Sharing excess produce for cookout at migrant worker dormitories with Geylang Adventures
Working with LG’s team to support archival of oral and video recordings about plant knowledge