Grow Your Own Food
By Save Food Cut Waste
Derrick Ng looks like your average Singaporean, except that he is also an urban farmer with the skills to run a farm and produce quality, pesticide-free leafy vegetables, and an entrepreneur running a F&B and farm business.
He grows vegetables at home and at his community garden, and specialises in growing mostly the common leafy vegetables such as Chye Sim, Pek Chye and Chinese Cabbage. The vegetables are for his family and friends, and the balance will be supplied to the community and to his fish soup stall. He has also expanded his operation of growing vegetables at his Neo Tiew farm and will be able to increase production in the future.
Derrick is self-taught in growing his own food. He learns through experience and interaction with many growers or hobbyists who are plying the same trade, and also surfs the Internet for information and the theory behind managing commercial farms.
Derrick explains why he started growing his own food:
It all started because of my son. In the past, he will come down with the common flu and cough. His body immunity is weak. Every month, he will visit our family doctor more than 2 to 3 times. After the consultation, the doctor will always prescribe us with either common cold or flu medicine with the occasional antibiotics. Soon after, I began to invest in organic food but the price is not sustainable. So, I decided to take the matter into my own hands and started to grow my own veggies along the corridor. To my surprise, his health improved and he enjoys taking veggies that is grown from me.
At the same time, the cost of sustaining my F&B business is rising. I began to use my produce to sustain my fish soup stall to curb the hike in operation cost. To my surprise, my customers actually tasted the veggies and keep coming back and share with me that my veggies tasted sweet and crunchy. I then begin to think how I’m able to reach out to more people to buy and eat my veggies that are organically grown in soil.
Grow your own food in Singapore to better appreciate your food and waste less. This would also help to reduce the food wastage during transportation and storage, the resources spent, and carbon emissions generated from importing food.
Growing Your Food at Home or in the Community
If you have space at home along your corridor, balcony or yard, why not start growing some vegetables, herbs or fruits? If you can use what you grow for cooking, we think you would appreciate your food better and think twice before wasting your food (ahem…unless your cooking is really bad).
If you’re a newbie in gardening, the National Parks Board (NParks) has compiled some gardening tips and resources to help residents who are interested to start gardening at home.
You can also check out Green Culture Singapore, an active gardening discussion forum, where you can find out more info and seek advice on how to grow edible plants, including leafy and fruit vegetables, herbs and fruits.
Did you know that there are over 400 community gardens in Singapore? Since 2005, NParks has been running the Community In Bloom (CIB) programme to foster a gardening culture in Singapore and facilitate residents, schools or companies in setting up and sustaining community gardens.
Some of the CIB gardens grow fruit trees, vegetables, herbs and spices, and the residents get to enjoy the harvest. NParks has an online map of the over 400 CIB gardens where you can find a community garden near your estate and help out in the gardening.
Start today to grow your own food at home or in the community to better appreciate your food and waste less. This would also help to reduce the food wastage during transportation and storage, the resources spent, and carbon emissions generated from importing food.
Images credit: Derrick Ng – Grow Your Own Food, Derrick Ng; Growing Leafy Vegetables, Derrick Ng; Screenshot of Video 403 – Examples of award winning gardens, NParks
Interview credit: Derrick Ng
More Tips for Individuals and Households
- Grow and Buy
- Cook and Eat
- Give and Recycle