Sunday, 22 July 2012

Singapore Garden Festival 2012

I checked out the Garden Festival over the weekend at Suntec to get ideas for growing food in the city and to see what other sustainable things would be there. Whilst it wasn't one of the themes of the show, there were a few themes that I picked up on:
- Growing food
- Green walls and roofs
- Green organisations.


Growing food

A couple of the gardens contained ideas for growing food. The first one I came across was Designer Veera Sekaran's Living Green Balcony (must have been named ofer me! ;) ) There was a nifty idea for growing lots of chillies, herbs and spices in a small area. It contained a number of long, thin containers in a moveable frame with an irrigation system built in.

Chillies growing in the Living Green Balcony vertical planter

Irrigation tubes built into the top of the planter. 

The next garden I came across was the "My Home Garden" in the Horticulture and Community section. This garden was a recreation of an apartment but was full of plants and displays, like the train track which was in a real mini jungle! Outside the kitchen was a mini kitchen garden with herbs and vegeatables.

The kitchen garden in My Home Garden.

The final food themed garden was the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore's (AVA) Garden of Edibles and Ceral Grains. The garden contained examples of plants that could be grown in a community garden, like cassava, sweet potato and soy beans. I picked up one of their lealets which tells you how to grow the crops and also where to get seeds from. The companies listed are Ban Lee Huat, Faithful Provider Agricultural Products and Seeds, Far East Flora, Known-You Seeds Distribution (SEA) and World Farm Co.

A couple of the market stalls sold vegetable seeds - I bought some for my (soon to be started) balcony garden - Far East Flora and Kiat Lee Landscape & Building.

I also bought some potting compost but the packet is all in Chinese so I have no idea what is in it. Not good if it is 100% peat! Here's why. The really annoying thing was that I walked past the GreenBack Compost stand afterwards. Their compost is made from garden waste from Singapore and has a Green Label. I know where I'll be going next time!

One final stand that I saw was the Watercircle Hydroponics promoting hydroponics for vegetable growing.

Vegetables growing in a hydroponics system

Hydropoic tomatoes

Green Walls and Roofs

The Living Green Balcony demonstrated the small scale application of green walls, but the Skyrise Greenery stand took it to a whole new level!

Skyrise Greenery is a collaboration between the Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology (CUGE) and National Parks. It promotes the use of roof gardens, green walls and roofs through an incentive scheme, awards and conferences. There are many benefits of greening buildings in this way, such as reducing temperatures both inside and outside the building, increasing urban biodiversity, reducing air pollution and reducing rainwater run-off. One of the leaflets I picked up from the stand - A concise guide to Rooftop Greening - even suggests using the roof space to grow vegetables. Yay!
More infomation about Skyrise Greenery!

There were a few stands of companies who sell systems for green walls and roofs. Here's a list (sorry if I missed you off!), some of whom have GreenLabels for their products:
- Uniseal Creative Solutions
- Greenology
- Greentech Materials
- Prince's Landscape & Construction

Green Organisations

There were a few organisations there that promote a more sustainable way of doing things. Apart from those mentioned above, there was also:
Kranji Countryside Association who promote Singapore's own farms.
The Green Volunteers who are a group who get involved in hands-on projects such as mangrove clean-ups, gardening and nature guide training.
The Nature Society (Singapore) is dedicated to preserving biodiversity.

The Nature Society's stand was popular
It all amounted to quite a busy afternoon!


Sunday, 8 July 2012

Never Ending Eco List - #6 to #10

Next update from my  #neverendingecolist.

#6 Turn off shower when soaping up - Doing

Back in the UK, I knew that  I should really turn off the water whilst washing but I used the warmth of the running water to keep me warm in our chilly bathroom. I don't need to do this here as it's nice and warm, so I can save 12 litres of water for every minute I spend soaping up! Putting that in context, humans need to consume 2 litres of water a day (although a lot of that is already in your food), so that's wasting a lot of useful water!

#7 Find source of recycled tissues - in progress.

I sneeze. A lot. So when my box of tissues ran out at work I had a look in a couple of local convenience stores. All I could find were five-packs of boxes of tissues (wrapped in plastic) and none were recycled.

I'm still working on finding a shop that sells boxes of recycled tissues. I have a bit of time though. Whilst I may sneeze a lot - I still have four unopened boxes under my desk to get through!

#8 Make regular donations to WWF - Fail

If you don't know already, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) (not to be confused with the renamed wrestling foundation) is one of the world’s largest and most experienced independent conservation organisations.

Established on 29 April 1961, it was the product of a deep concern held by a few eminent gentlemen who were worried by what they saw happening in our world at that time. Since then, WWF has grown up to be one of the largest environmental organisation in the world.
They started their Singapore office in March 2006 to engage individuals and organisations towards making a positive change in their lives and business operations.
Through their awareness campaigns and outreach activities, they aim to educate individuals from all walks of life on how a simple action can add up to make a big difference to our environment and safeguard the world’s biodiversity. They also work with businesses both locally and within the Asia Pacific region to help them identify sustainable business practices, as well as on how they can reduce their ecological foot print on the planet.

Across the Asia Pacific region, WWF has a strong presence and history with conservation programmes in over 22 countries.
I did try to set up a regular payment but they need to text a code to my mobile. Which is fine, except I haven't given my bank the number yet. Fail! But will absolutely send my bank my contact details so I can donate online.

#9 Buy refill versions of toiletries and cleaning items - Doing

The availability of refill packs here is much greater than in the UK. So far we've, bought refill packs for Mama Washing Up Liquid, Kirei Kirei hand soap and Yuri hand soap.  In fact, refills are so prevalent that I bought a refill pack of washing liquid for clothes when we first arrived here as there weren't any bottles, just refills! Luckily it had a screwtop so the lack of bottle to pour it into wasn't a problem.

#10 Sign this! Save the Arctic - Done

Although the Arctic is literally half the world away from Singapore, it helps keep our planet cool. You think it's hot in Singapore, wait until climate change really kicks in!