Singapore's Food System: Security x Waste
Wish to hear about Singapore's food security, food insecurity and food waste? How big are these issues? Join us as we discuss our food system, its gaps and opportunities.
In this session organised by Green Drinks and Foodscape Collective, learn about what is truly happening on the ground from these panellists:
- Huiying Ng, Foodscape Collective (Moderator)
- Manda Foo, Co-author of Food Matters, Founder of Bollywood Adventures
- Bjorn Low, Edible Garden City
- Daniel Yap - Yihong Minimart
- Daniel Tay, SG Food Rescue
- Abhishek Bajaj, a social worker at a charity working with the low income community
- Max Yeo, Eco-Wiz
Ask them any burning questions relating to the perspective of the food grower, rescuer, recycler and social worker. We want this to be an interactive, open discussion with the audience, so ask away!
Admission is Free. A big thanks to The Hive Lavender for making this possible!
About the panellists
Huiying Ng (Moderator)
Huiying Ng explores links between urban agriculture, open/welcoming spaces for new imaginations of urban life, and community resilience. She is involved in urban social change research in Southeast Asian cities, and recently completed the first (research and conceptualization) phase of a longer research project on agroecological learning networks in Southeast Asia, across a two year period as a Masters research candidate at the Department of Geography, National University of Singapore.
As a founding member of the Foodscape Collective, her next two years will be focused on strengthening the foundations of the collective’s work on enabling food system re-imaginations and transformations. She also conducts experimental work with TANAH, a nature-food duo, and is guided by ideas of ecological and activist citizenship, autonomy and human motivation, working towards creating the social environments necessary to support these. She has presented a mixture of individual and collective work on commons and food in the Netherlands, Canada, and the Substation and NTU Centre for Contemporary Art in Singapore. Some of her work is available at cargocollective.com/huiyingng.
Manda Foo is the founder of Bollywood Adventures and the co-author of Food Matters. She has 10 years of experience working in the local agriculture and environment sectors, and was the former executive secretary of Kranji Countryside Association, where she led the staging of an award winning international agriculture conference. She holds a Masters in Public Policy and a bachelors in journalism and international relations.
Bjorn grew-up in a traditional Singaporean Chinese family of entrepreneurs, then studied business, trying to conform to high excellence expectations coming from a society where success goes together with business. Armed with a Bachelor in commerce from Curtin University and a Master of business administration from Southern Cross University and after 7 years as a digital marketer for a WPP digital company, he moved to London, to pursue his career. England has been an actual discovery for him: he enjoyed the great presence of nature, experienced the impact of seasons and realized the human power of gardening, all concepts that were inaccessible in Singapore. Meanwhile, life in London had a great influence on raising his awareness on environmental issues like climate change, failure in food systems and importance of farming since the media’s influence on these topics were growing regarding the 2012 Olympics in the city.
This journey lead Bjorn to start questioning himself about his path and realizing he wanted to pursue a more natural and sustainable lifestyle, then ending to conform to a Singaporean mould he never felt he fit into. Despite social and family pressure, he decided to quit and spent 2 years travelling around the world through the Organic Farms international volunteer network. He came back with the conviction that farming had a strong social and environmental power and with the determination he wanted to do something with it. As a start, he got diploma in Biodynamic agriculture in Britain from Emerson College, keeping in mind the dream of running his own farm with his wife, certainly in Wales since he knew it was quite impossible to do so in Singapore. Nevertheless, he could not help feeling an urgent need and even a responsibility to share what he had learnt with his fellow citizens, to bring the benefits of agriculture back home.
Aware of the level of the challenge he was wanting to undertake, Bjorn decided to give himself only two years, giving up his family dream for a while, to offer his idea a chance to emerge. He created Edible Garden City in 2012, and jumped on the opportunity offered by the farm-to-table movement to start working with chefs inspired by the movement. Day after day, by making the case instead of advocating, Bjorn opens every door by using his entrepreneurial and marketing skills and finding the right leverages to reassure people and government in a city-state with a culture that has inclined to another solution and where business and productivity are the master words. After only five years, he is recognized as a key player in the urban farming local but also international scene, and ambitions to tackle the global food system failure. Bjorn has been regularly featured in international media outlets including BBC, CNBC, Channel NewsAsia, China Daily, CCTV, India Today, Monocle, Harper Bazaar and is a regular speaker at international sustainability conferences which includes the international urban farming conference in Seoul, and UNFCC conference in Taiwan. For his efforts as a Social entrepreneur, Bjorn was elected as an Ashoka Fellow in 2018.
Daniel Yap is a food wholesaler and a retailer, and the owner of Yihong Minimart. The youngest in a family of four children, he quit school when he was 15 and began working odd jobs including garung guni activities, construction work, and cashier duties. After completing National Service, he worked in other jobs before saving enough to start his own minimart in 2006. As a vegetarian, he felt saddened to see so much raw fruit and vegetables go to waste, and used to dispose of leftover or ugly vegetables till he realised how to divert it to those who need it more. Upon meeting freegans Colin Lau and Daniel Tay - a lifechanging moment for him, he arranged for them to regularly take his leftover vegetables and also volunteered his help, as well as the use of his truck.
In 2017, Daniel Tay spent just $8 on food for the whole year. He did this to make a point: That there is so much food waste in Singapore that it is perfectly possible to thrive off it. In 2018, he co-founded SG Food Rescue, a ground up initiative that brings together people passionate about reducing food waste.
Once weekly, the community of volunteers rescues 1-2 tonnes of unsellable but perfectly edible food from being thrown away and distributes it to soup kitchens, charity organisations that feed the needy, and communities that can consume it. To date, SG Food Rescue volunteers have saved more than 70 tonnes of vegetables and fruits.
When he’s not organising food rescue missions, Daniel speaks about food waste to schools, government agencies, and corporates. He hopes that everyone can grow more aware about this problem and want to do something about it.
Abhishek Bajaj works as a Community Worker with a charity that serves communities living in Public Rental Scheme housing. His work focuses on creating self-organising communities that takes ownership of its resources and issues in rental flats of Ang Mo Kio.
Prior to Beyond, Abhishek served as a Designer at ThinkPlace Singapore, a strategic design consultancy. Abhishek graduated with a degree in Engineering Systems and Design from Singapore University of Technology and Design.
He has studied and designed for social issues around vulnerable populations such as the urban poor in Singapore, malnourished in Nepal, refugees in South Asia.
Max Yeo is taking care of sales activities in Eco-Wiz. He is a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering specialised in gasification and has designed pilot plant for PE/PP gasification as his final year thesis. He has 8 years of sales experience in construction & HVAC industry.
About the organisers
Founded in November 2007, Green Drinks (Singapore) is a registered non-profit environment-focused society that connects the community, including businesses, activists, academia and government, for knowledge sharing and collaboration opportunities.
Singapore is one of more than 590 cities with a Green Drinks presence. Started in 1989 in London, the Green Drinks movement is a self-organising network that is meant to be simple and unstructured. The global site can be found at www.greendrinks.org.
Foodscape is a collective that connects people from across our local foodscape, empower individuals with skills and knowledge, and support projects / initiatives that make for a fairer, more compassionate food system that is good for our environment and communities.
- The event description was updated. Diff#385121 2018-11-05 10:30:44