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Farm Stories: Derrick Ng of Generation Green and Wang Yuan Fish Soup

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Last week, I went with my beloved friend Bhavani Prakash to visit Derrick Ng at his spray-free farm space in Neo Tiew. He’s an inspiring, enterprising young man with a vegetable farming business and a fish soup stall, and has an impressive corridor farm at home. He’s determined to improve Singapore’s food security, and has a strong desire to bring healthier, pesticide-free food to Singaporeans. He is one of a collective group of people who have adopted farm plots on this property.

Derrick explained to us that he uses a closed loop system to ensure no waste is created in the process of growing vegetables and fish. The vegetables that don’t make to it the market or his fish soup stall, Wang Yuan Fish Soup, end up as compost. The fish he farms is for the purpose of making fish emulsion, an effective fertiliser for plants.

After showing us around his three greenhouses, he was kind enough to give us some freshly harvested Purple Chye Sim to take home. I cooked it that evening in a soup, and it was very delicious. During our time with Derrick, he dispensed lots of growing tips related to vegetables and fruit trees. He also shared that he favours permaculture as a farming practice, and he uses resources that are readily available to him, and makes the best of what he has.

I can’t emphasise enough, the importance of knowing your farmer, where possible, because there’s an assurance that the food you’re consuming is safe. Also, it’s been said that eating locally and seasonally is healthier for us because we follow the rhythms of nature.

Here are photos of Derrick’s farming plots, and an interview where he shares details of his journey so far.

Urban rooftop farms in Singapore

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My gardening and environmentalist friends, Bjorn Low and Allan Lim, have been working on their new rooftop farming spaces in recent months. Bjorn and his team at Edible Gardens were recently given a temporary space at People’s Park Complex, which they have named Nong (agriculture), a pop up farm concept that is certainly one to keep an eye on, while Allan Lim, one of the founders of The Living! Project, and his team managed to secure a space at *SCAPE. What I find exciting is that both are rooftop farms in the city; the former in the heart of Chinatown, and the latter in the heart of Orchard Road.

Nong is located on the 6th storey of People’s Park Complex, and Edible Gardens has collaborated with online retailer, Naiise, to create a shop selling stationary, home decor pieces, and gardening wares. Haystakt, an online maker marketplace has also moved in, and gardening and farming installations by Greenology, Sky Greens and Homegrw also have a presence. Other than its greenery, Nong features a strong design, as well as handmade theme. But the space is only half the joy; there will be workshops held on weekends, check their Facebook events page for more details. The upcoming session of Green Drinks will also be held there on the evening of 27 February – the focus being urban farming in Singapore. Come on down, I have organised this session!! The most straightforward way to get there is via the lift located near KFC.

Me in my city garden

Here are some photos of me in my garden, in Singapore. These were taken last month by little red ants creative studio for promotional use in a brochure by the National Environment Agency. I recently received them and feel pleased enough to show them off. Not much of my plants can be seen, but the highlight would certainly the bantam chickens. They were rather afraid of the cameras but dropped almost all of their defences once they saw me holding half an ear of sweet corn. Through these pictures, I also realise that I have a bit of a hostile gardening face. The photographer kept telling me to smile, and now I know why. I think I need a "Go away, I'm gardening" t-shirt...

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Where you can grow your own food in Singapore

With Singapore's space constraints, green-fingered apartment dwellers and landed property owners aren't always able to carve out enough space to grow all the herbs, flowers and food that they desire. As people become more conscious about Singapore's food security, the healing nature of plants, and the connection between food and health, an increasing number are making a choice to move away from food which has been chemically fertilised, and the interest in growing one's own food is on the rise. My friend and urban farmer, Bjorn Low from Edible Gardens adopts a plot of land at Green Valley Farms, a 2.5 hectare area in Sembawang that has also been adopted by some members of the public. I went to visit Bjorn's plot...

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