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A presentation made to Green Drinks in September 2010 about being a locavore in Singapore - eating foods grown and produced within a geographic radius of 300kms.

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  • quick intro of myself. Was a marketer then brand consultant, focusing mainly on packaged goods for almost 15 years. Then last year, I finally got sick of it and quit my job to follow my foodie passion. currently in culinary school, opening takeaway food shop at the end of October.
  • while here we still talk a lot about organic, that apple has lost its sheen. organic has become industrial organic, pesticide residues have been found on organic foods, and isn’t it just a bit silly to fly an organic tomato half way round the world so that you can eat it out of season?
  • http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/13/oxfords-word-of-the-year-and-runners-up/?hptaking advantage of seasonally available foodstuffs that can be bought and prepared without the need for extra preservatives
  • so brought the birth of locavorism. Word was coined in 2005 in San Franciscodefined as people who eat food that comes from within a certain radius, often growing their ownbut local also means supporting the local economy – so included in that is eating foods that are produced locally, using ingredients that are responsibly sourced
  • why?it’s about knowing who is making your foodNote that this doesn’t always mean growing it locally. grist.org
  • Everyone likes statistics. Except me. I’m really not a statisticskindagal. statistics mainly from the New paper and to be quite honest, statistics are hard to get in Singapore on this kind of issue. What we can say is that we don’t get a lot of our food locallySo where does it come from?November Tan is doing a research project on the impact of Singapore’s vegetable consumption on the ecology of the Cameron Highlandsshow the interrelationship between Singapore’s vegetable consumption and Malaysia’s production by looking at sustainable farming practices and the vegetable trading systemOur consumption is having an impact on other countries – we’re outsourcing our environmental impact.so what about the rest of the food we eat?3000 farm families in CHsoil loss 125 kg/ha/yrlifespan of hydroelectric dam shortened by 1/3 due to excessive siltationdeforestation (which had led to the gov’t fixing farmland to 6,000 ha) – so now farms in Kelantan just outside Pahangbut that leaves an awful lot that comes from somewhere else.
  • Complicated, isn’t it. I got this chart from Shift, and it’s not actually important to see the detail. What is important is that what you see is confusion. and complexity. This global food system gives us How fresh do you think your organic California lettuce is once it’s gone through this system?There’s a big debate in the US press at the moment about locavorism. The gist of it is that an academic wrote in the NYT that locavorism doesn’t help the environment because it’s more efficient to grow a tomato in California and ship it than to grow a tomato in a greenhouse in NY. they don’t understand that it’s about more than that – that is simiplifying a complex issue.but to keep it simple – should someone in NY be eating a tomato in January? Probably not.NZ is very good at this calculation when it comes to NZ lamb – they’ve compared the footprint vs. UK lamb, both purchased in the UK – in terms of carbon footprint, the NZ lamb is better. But how does that help biodiversity in the UK? What about food security? How does the cost of NZ lamb in the UK look when the price of a barrel of oil is $200
  • Which brings me to my point. but why...Where does local food come from?
First of all, though, local food comes from local food systems, which exist as an alternative to industrial food systems. The local systems replace the scale and volume common in industrial systems with control and relationships; when you buy local food, not only do you know where it came from, you're often buying it from the person or people who grew the food, a locavore plus.So, "local" can refer to a fairly specific area -- whether it's 100 miles or 150 miles -- but one farm may define the area as anywhere within a day's drive, since that's where they can easily and efficiently move their products. But local is more than just miles.The ecology of local food
The concept is also defined in terms of ecology, where food production is considered from the perspective of a basic ecological unit defined by its climate, soil, watershed, species and local agrisystems; everything together is defined as as "ecoregion" or "foodshed.”treehugger
  • .... especially if that farmer is you. You’ll never understand how rewarding having your own garden is until you pick your first tomato.I think that environmental types are sceptics by nature. Everyone has their different ‘food value’ system. If you know what is important to you and you are buying locally, you can talk to the people growing your food and find out if they are a fit.The ‘organic’ farms in Singapore aren’t actually organic because they use genetically modified seeds. Is that important to you, or would you buy organic because of the pesticides?I have read a few articles recently about organic foods being tested, and having pesticide residues. If that’s important to you, maybe you should think about whether you want to buy food from the industrialised system. If you know your farmers, you can ask them questions like ‘do you use genetically modified seeds?’
  • I’ll use vinegar as an example, although HFCS is another really good example of why you should be reading labels and buying food from people you trust.The oil in some vinegars is actually a petroleum byproduct, synthetic ethyl alcohol, aka ethanol. Here's a quick primer on how white vinegar is made. Vinegar is the result of a process called fermentation, where a concert of yeast and bacteria turn sugar into acetic acid. The yeast starts by converting sugars into alcohol, or more specifically ethyl alcohol. The bacteria then ferment the ethanol into acetic acid, the key ingredient in vinegar.Ethanol is crucial to the process and it can come from natural sources such as fermented juice, cider, wine, or beer. But ethanol can also be made synthetically from natural gas and petroleum....concerns people like you rightly have about the safety of putting a petroleum-based product into food.While the FDA doesn’t think using synthetic ethanol in vinegar or any other food substance is a good idea, the regulations currently in place under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and the Alcohol Administration Act do not restrict its use. At least the FDA does have this policy against misleading labeling:Synthetic ethyl alcohol may be used as a food ingredient or in the manufacturing of vinegar or other chemicals for food use, within limitations ... Any labeling reference to synthetic alcohol as "grain alcohol" or "neutral grain spirits" is considered false and misleading.What this means is that if the ingredient label on your vinegar says "grain alcohol," or "neutral grain spirits," or "wine," you'll know the vinegar was made with things like corn, apples, or grapes. Of course, it's unclear how strenuously the FDA enforces that policy. But it is on the books and should help protect us from purchasing vinegar made with synthetic spirits.So do look for grain alcohol or neutral grain spirits in the ingredients. And avoid anything that says synthetic alcohol. I have yet to see synthetic alcohol on a label. If you see it, that would be a vinegar to avoid. Still concerned about your vinegar even though synthetic alcohol isn't on the label? Call that particular vinegar company and ask them straight up.
  • There are a couple of people in the room tonight who are producing food for those in the know. It would be really great if you got to know them and supported their small businesses. why give Unilever, Nestle or Sara Lee all your money when you can keep it in Singapore Adrian is an egg farmer, and Dennis and Leon are coffee roasters. When you taste their products, you realise that the industrialised stuff is just not good. I’ll talk a bit more about how I found them and what their stories are in a bit.
  • is growing food in China the food security that we want? Shouldn’t we want more control than that? why are we so keen to outsource our food production when we can grow a lot on the top of our buildings, and mitigate our airconditioning costs at the same time?
  • I’ll have to admit that I’m much more along the lines of the ‘feel good’ locavorism versus the argument that it’s better for the environment. I’ll leave that to Chris and the experts. 1500 mile debateless fuel to get your food here packaging packaging packaging - plastic!!!growing food in China – think about the fuel that goes into flying it hereBy definition, local food can't go far, so you're likely to procure it via smaller markets, like farmer's markets, grocery co-operatives, community-supported agriculture co-ops. Therein lies a big part of local food's environmental appeal: local food reduces or eliminates the costs, both monetary and planetary, of transportation, processing, packaging, and advertising.A tremendous amount of fossil fuel is used to transport foods long distances. Combustion of these fuels releases carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter and other pollutants into the atmosphere, contributing to global climate change, acid rain, smog and air pollution. Even the refrigeration required to keep your fruits, vegetables, dairy products and meats from spoiling burns up energy.Further, food processors also use a large amount of paper and plastic packaging to keep food fresh (or at least looking fresh) for a longer period of time. This packaging eventually becomes waste that is difficult, if not impossible, to reuse or recycle. These are all reasons to support local food, but certainly not the only ones.treehugger http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/03/green-basics-eat-local-food.php?page=3The energy inputs of local food
Additionally, though carbon emissions from transportation of local food are often greatly reduced through the low number of food miles, transportation is only part of the food's overall environmental footprint; how the food has been produced, and the energy inputs involved need also be considered. For example, a study by Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand found that, "New Zealand agriculture tends to apply less fertilizers (which require large amounts of energy to produce and cause significant CO2 emissions) and animals are able to graze year round outside eating grass instead large quantities of brought-in feed such as concentrates. In the case of dairy and sheep meat production NZ is by far more energy efficient even including the transport cost than the UK.”tomatoes grown in greenhousesPeople argue that locavorism isn’t actually better for the environment, but our food system is not something that can be boilled down to one single issue.... except my personal reason for being a locavore...
  • well, my number one reason isn’t the environment, but it definitely has its environmental benefitsIt just feels like the right thing to do. I like looking at my shopping basket versus the person behind me in the queue and seeing that I buy 90% fresh food.I think that the way we think about food is broken. It’s not just the food system and flying food around the world.We are getting sicker, more cancer, more allergies, more immune system diseases and we don’t seem to be linking that to what we eat (or what we put on our bodies)fresh food is healthier, more vitamins & minerals – eat foods with less than 5 ingredients on the listAmericans spend 8% of their income on food and 30% on their cars. and they wonder why they are unhealthy I wonder what that percentage is in Singapore – if it’s different, it’s probably because Singaporeans eat out more often.
  • then I was in Vancouver a couple of years ago and read these two books – and PING! a light went on and suddenly I couldn’t stop reading books about the global food system.realised that things were going to have to change in the world governments and people around the world are much more advance (or regressive?) than we are here in Singapore- GBP50million devoted to it in UK “the local food fund’ from the national lotterystarted with me, just wanted to get an idea of what I was eatingsparked curiosity-so about 6 months ago, I started Locavore
  • then I was in Vancouver a couple of years ago and read these two books – and PING! a light went on and suddenly I couldn’t stop reading books about the global food system.realised that things were going to have to change in the world governments and people around the world are much more advance (or regressive?) than we are here in Singapore- GBP50million devoted to it in UK “the local food fund’ from the national lotterystarted with me, just wanted to get an idea of what I was eatingsparked curiosity-so about 6 months ago, I started Locavore
  • then I was in Vancouver a couple of years ago and read these two books – and PING! a light went on and suddenly I couldn’t stop reading books about the global food system.realised that things were going to have to change in the world governments and people around the world are much more advance (or regressive?) than we are here in Singapore- GBP50million devoted to it in UK “the local food fund’ from the national lotterystarted with me, just wanted to get an idea of what I was eatingsparked curiosity-so about 6 months ago, I started Locavore
  • Well the first thing I always here is that you can’t do that in Singapore!The journey has been hard, so you’ll want a bit of background on why on earth I’m going through this.300kms, will move in as research progresses
  • So I came back, and yes, went to the wet market.
  • and I thought a lot about the global food system, and especially how it impacts us in Singapore.
  • There’s a movement in England called Transition Towns, where they are trying to revive their local food systems, and they have charted things out. They have a handbook for helping cities go local, and there’s a brilliant chart that helps you to just think things through – what is possible? I’m just throwing some numbers out there as a goal – there’s still a lot of research to be done on how much is really possible.So let’s see what this would mean, one by one, using my research so far as a guide to how habits would need to change. What I would like to see is just a lot more transparency about provenance, and a lot more people asking questions about their food.
  • pumpkin, beans, sweet potatos, melon, broccoli, brinjal, tomatoes, and a whole lot of herbs
  • since I’ve started eating more fresh foods again and composting, have about ¼ of the waste as before
  • but what if you don’t have the space for a garden, or for a chicken farm like Olivia?Want to grow some of your own food but don't have a yard?WindowfarmsTM are vertical, hydroponic, modular, low-energy, high-yield edible window gardens built using low-impact or recycled local materials.
  • In this category, I’m putting two things – urban farms and artisanal food production.
  • Brooklyn, New York -- a test farm utilizing green roofing materials for growing vegetables. In its second growing season, the farm has become a center of community, with a weekly market, a popular volunteer program, and farm talks on subjects like composting, artisanal food businesses, and chicken-raising. It has also already inspired similar projects.
  • Sandracombine the natural advantages of chocolate with the goodness of different ingredients for a therapeutic effect.launched by the owners of Lush spaBelgian chocolate, but made and packed in Singapore with preservative-free extracts and ingredients$14.50
  • There’s more to Singapore’s farmland than Lim Chu Kang.
  • so 40% of the eggs consumed in Singapore are actually raised in Singapore.But all eggs are not created equal, as evidenced by the eggs I cracked to go into a cake I was making last week.. 
  • Adrian Chong Product Description: Our fresh Barn Laid eggs are laid by healthy hens which roam freely in our spacious barns. They have clean nests and perches, have the freedom to dust, bathe, stretch and socialise, and have constant access to fresh water and feed.  This is a far cry from the cramped and inhumane conditions in which battery (caged) eggs are laid.  We firmly believe that a happier hen leads to a healthier and tastier egg. The stocking density of our hens is 5.74 birds/sq metre, far exceeding the RSPCA (Australia) standard of 9birds/sq metre. Our hens' feed mainly consists of maize, hi-protein soya bean, sesame, spent grain from barley and wheat and other wheat products. Vitamins, minerals, enzymes, organic acids, amino acids are also added for the health of the hens. We vary the proportions of the ingredients according to the age of our hens to ensure they receive the optimal amount of nutrition at every stage of its laying cycle.  Our hens are also hormone and antibiotics free.  Company information: The Freedom Range Company was founded by Adrian Chong who decided to change the way farming is approached in the Far East; from one which seeks to produce the largest amount at the lowest possible cost, to a more natural way of farming which places animal welfare and quality of produce first.  We also endeavour to bring these products to consumers at a reasonable price therefore proving that value and quality can go hand in hand with ethically aware produce.  The freedom in our name follows the RSPCA's philosophy of Five Freedoms:Freedom from fear and distressFreedom from pain & injuryFreedom from hunger and thirstFreedom from discomfortFreedom to express normal behaviour We hope you enjoy our eggs and look forward to hearing from you soon
  • SeletarFarmway
  • Johor has some very fertile land, and there’s some interesting stuff going on, as we noticed in our road trip to Kluang last month.The biggest thing that comes from this area for me is chicken. But I haven’t actually had a chance to visit the chicken farms yet, so I’ll talk about the other stuff.
  • Zenxin Organic farm – 100 acres
  • UK Goat farm
  • Kahang Organic Rice Eco Farm don’t have hightourism standards
  • Within 300kms is easy. Peninsular Malaysia and Northern Sumatra, as well as the Riau Islands. This means highland vegetables, tea and meat production
  • and honey, which is a very tasty local product.
  • Amazing FarmThygraceGentingPasarThis is where you should just watch in your supermarket for labels of provenance.
  • Easy. Again, this is a part of your supermarket shop. Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines... keep it local
  • And then think about buying stuff from around the world. for me, this is things like wine, eating restaurant meals where you can’t control where it comes from, things like the oats that I put into my muesli, cashews from India, spices. If you want strawberries, buy them by all means, just don’t make it an every day habit.
  • although you’d be surprised by what you can grow on your balcony. 7 ice cubes every other day.and so that’s where I am at the moment, and looking towards the future. my vision is to help people to think more about the food they eat – what’s in it and where it comes from.
  • a shameless plug for my new business, which will bring two of my personal values to the CBD (FES) – helping people to eat healthy foods and be a little gentler to the planet.black pepper chicken wrap, lemon chicken wrap, pumpkin laksa wrap, curried vegetable wrapcomposting in the kitchen, responsibly sourced packaging, compostable where possible, reusable lunch bagschicken is the only meat, and keeping it segregated but until I open, I want to leave you with a few top tips
  • I want to leave you with a few top tips for eating local.how do you do it?ask questions – where is this from? how do you make those fishballs? read the labels – where is this made, what are the ingredients and where might they come from?shop the perimeter of the supermarket, where things are more likely to be freshavoid processed foods where you caneat fresh foodsshop in places where they label provenance – ShengSiong, NTUC Fairprice
  • Green drinks 300910 for slide share

    1. 1. Being a locavore in Singapore<br />What, how, why and the journey so far.<br />Green Drinks, September 30, 2010<br />
    2. 2.
    3. 3.
    4. 4.
    5. 5. Why has local food become hot?<br />Taking the baton from organic food as a poster child for sustainable agriculture, local food integrates production, processing, distribution and consumption on a small scale, creating sustainable local economies and a strong connection between farm and table.<br />grist.org<br />
    6. 6. How local is Singapore?<br />40% of our eggs are Singapore-raised<br />7% of our leafy greens<br />4% of fish<br />19,000 tonnes of vegetables were produced in Singapore's 53 vegetable farms.<br /><ul><li>Overall,Singapore imports 95% of its vegetables, approximately 50% from Malaysia, and most of those from Cameron Highlands</li></li></ul><li>How fresh do you think your organic California lettuce is once it’s gone through this system?<br />
    7. 7. Which brings me to my point<br />
    8. 8. Why would you want to be a locavore?<br />
    9. 9. Why would you want to be a locavore?<br />1. Eating food from people & companies you know and trust<br />
    10. 10. Eating oil in your vinegar?<br />
    11. 11. Why would you want to be a locavore?<br />2. You’ll be supporting the local economy and small businesses<br />
    12. 12. Why would you want to be a locavore?<br />3. The government is thinking about food security. What better way to be secure?<br />
    13. 13. Why would you want to be a locavore?<br />4. Fossil fuels. Are they the future? What happens to cheap global food when the price of oil goes up?<br />
    14. 14. Why would you want to be a locavore?<br />5. Food is the building block of your body and your health. Would you rather pay a farmer or a hospital?<br />
    15. 15. The tipping point was when I read two books<br />
    16. 16. and then a few more<br />
    17. 17. and then a few more after that<br />
    18. 18. Well, you can’t do that in Singapore!<br />
    19. 19. You can shop at the wet market<br />
    20. 20. but the majority of our food comes from here<br />
    21. 21. So what would locavorism really look like in Singapore?<br />
    22. 22. Further afield 15%<br />Within SE Asia 15%<br />Within 300kms<br />25%<br />Rural Hinterland (within 150kms) 15%<br />Peri-Urban Land in Singapore 12.5%<br />Urban Traded 15%<br />Urban Domestic 2.5%<br />
    23. 23. Urban Domestic 2.5%<br />
    24. 24. The garden, full of pumpkin, beans, sweet potatoes, melon, brinjal, tomatoes and lots of herbs<br />
    25. 25. First harvest<br />
    26. 26. Even potatoes that have gone to seed in the fridge don’t go to waste<br />
    27. 27. because they are now growing in a sack on the balcony<br />
    28. 28. with more fresh foods and composting, there is about ¼ of the waste as before<br />
    29. 29. If you don’t have any land, you can still have your own farm with windowfarms.org<br />
    30. 30. Urban Traded 15%<br />Urban Domestic 2.5%<br />
    31. 31. something a Singaporean entrepreneur should really think about<br />
    32. 32. Urban traded food would include Singaporean artisanal producers such as Papa Palheta<br />
    33. 33. and Spa Chocolates<br />
    34. 34. Peri-Urban Land in Singapore 12.5%<br />Urban Traded 15%<br />Urban Domestic 2.5%<br />
    35. 35. all eggs are not created equal, as evidenced by the eggs I put into a cake last week.<br />
    36. 36. Freedom Range egg chickens are free from cruelty and cages<br />
    37. 37. One of the first farms I visited is in Seletar<br />
    38. 38. But of course, more people are going up to Lim Chu Kang to see the farms there<br />
    39. 39. Rural Hinterland (within 150kms) 15%<br />Peri-Urban Land in Singapore 12.5%<br />Urban Traded 15%<br />Urban Domestic 2.5%<br />
    40. 40. On a recent road trip to Kluang in Johor, we visited Zenxin Organic farm<br />
    41. 41. And at UK Goat Farm, we saw the cattle grazing<br />
    42. 42. Chickens were roaming free at Kahang Organic Rice Farm<br />
    43. 43. Within 300kms<br />25%<br />Rural Hinterland (within 150kms) 15%<br />Peri-Urban Land in Singapore 12.5%<br />Urban Traded 15%<br />Urban Domestic 2.5%<br />
    44. 44. Honey is a very tasty local product – there are lots of good producers in Malaysia<br />
    45. 45. Cameron Highlands producers export about 50% of their produce to Singapore<br />
    46. 46. and work with restaurants like Spruce to ensure very fresh vegetables on the menu<br />
    47. 47. Within SE Asia 15%<br />Within 300kms<br />25%<br />Rural Hinterland (within 150kms) 15%<br />Peri-Urban Land in Singapore 12.5%<br />Urban Traded 15%<br />Urban Domestic 2.5%<br />
    48. 48. Further afield 15%<br />Within SE Asia 15%<br />Within 300kms<br />25%<br />Rural Hinterland (within 150kms) 15%<br />Peri-Urban Land in Singapore 12.5%<br />Urban Traded 15%<br />Urban Domestic 2.5%<br />
    49. 49. Why fly strawberries from California? I’m growing them on the balcony (ice cubes keep them cool)<br />
    50. 50. www.dapao-takeaway.com<br />and the next step is the launch of my takeaway food shop at Far East Square on November 1st!<br />
    51. 51. Top tips for eating local<br />Buy a basil plant.  <br />Shop at a supermarket that labels the produce by origin (ShengSiong is great at this)<br />Ask your regular food stall cook where his ingredients are coming from<br />Sign up for Green Circle’s weekly email to familiarise yourself with what’s happening weatherwise on the farms in Kranjiwww.greencircle.com.sg<br />Shop the perimeter of the supermarket instead of the middle - you’re more likely to find fresh foods that are locally produced<br />Stop buying anything that is labelled “air flown”<br />If you absolutely must buy bottled water (but do you really?), buy Ice Mountain or NEWater.<br />Pick up a locally grown vegetable at the supermarket that you’ve never tried before and find a recipe to cook it (chokos, grown in M’sia, was the first one I tried - it’s great in salads)<br />Read labels to find out where things are made<br />Ask questions. Lots of questions.<br />
    52. 52. www.locavore.sg<br />www.facebook.com/locavore.singapore<br />

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