Healthy eating is all the hype now with organic food, healthier choice and lower calories options. Right here in Singapore, we are constantly faced with recommendations to watch our diet but at the same time, we are also faced with tasty food options popping up, like the new creations of salted-egg-yolk-anything, and we can't really say no to the truffle oil drizzled fries either. The farm-to-table concept is one popular option to healthy eating, but it is often believed to be tough to adopt if you live in Singapore. Or is it? You don't need a plot of land to bring food from the farm to your table, and this article will share some tips on making that farm-to-table dream come true.
Tip #1: You don't need green fingers
If you are like me, you'd believe that you have black thumbs and any plant that comes under your care will meet its demise. But here's a piece of good news — you do not need green fingers. There are plenty of herbs, plants, fruits and vegetables that flourish in our weather, and they are easy to care for. Edible plants like basil, mint, and oregano are herbs that just need daily watering and does not require big spaces.
Tip #2: Start from one
Again, if you're like me, it's likely that you'd get ambitious and try to grow basil, mint and oregano from seed, all at the same time, and if you're a beginner that's a recipe for disaster.
First of all, it is much easier to grow herbs from stem cuttings, so either visit a garden or ask a neighbour who already has these herbs and allows you to cut some of it.
Secondly, it is discouraging if your first venture into urban farming fails spectacularly (if all 3 plants don't grow), further proving your point that you indeed have black thumbs. So start from one. I will recommend the mint plant because it prospers and grows easily, and it has the tenacity to bounce back from a bad condition (like if you forgot to water it).
Tip #3: Harvest
It is extremely satisfying to be ingesting something that you have grown yourself, and that is the kind of encouragement that can ensure that you keep up the habit of farming. Harvest that mint plant when it's ready, and steep it as a wake-me-up morning tea, or you can even crush it together with your morning juice for a little zest.
Tip #4: Explore your options
After the first successful harvest, you are now free to level up and explore other options. Plants like cherry tomatoes and chilli can take a longer time to mature, but imagine the satisfaction you get from plucking tomatoes from your own corridor garden and adding it to your salad. If you fail the first time, don't be daunted, remember the first 2 tips and begin anew. You never know what surprises your garden will bring.
These are not surefire ways to get that pineapple tree to grow in your backyard, but a reminder that farm-to-table is not impossible in Singapore. More than possible, it is also a great way to know where your food comes from. Besides, caring for your plants and spending time tending to them are good ways to slow down a little, and a good time to heal.
Written by Ange Chua
Edited by Cynthea Lam
Ange Chua is an aspiring bird-watcher trying to fix her black thumbs. When she's not writing, you'd find her drinking tea out of teacups or reading in bed with her dog. She thinks her spirit animal is an alpaca.