Singapore: Local produce is fresher and lasts longer

Now, more than ever, it is easy to eat sustainably in Singapore. The choice of eggs, vegetables, and seafood produced here has widened, and so has the range of sustainably produced groceries such as instant noodles and milk alternatives.

As Singapore moves towards 30 by 30, with the aim of producing 30 percent of the republic's nutritional needs locally and sustainably by 2030, a network of services is also taking shape to help the island's agri-businesses improve yield and get their products to consumers.

Vegetable farms are producing more than kale and spinach. Supermarkets carry a range of Asian leafy greens such as kailan and xiao bai cai grown here hydroponically or in soil. Consumers are also cottoning on to how locally grown greens are fresher and last longer than imports, the farming businesses say.

Sustenir, which has some 50,000 sq ft of farming area in Singapore, says its farms are located no more than 60 minutes from the city center, to shorten the food supply chain, so customers get their greens from farm to doorstep in a jiffy.

Artisan Green, set up in 2018, and which focused on growing baby spinach, recently launched a line of herbs, including lemon basil, dill, and coriander, adding to the variety available for customers.

Edible Garden City, which runs more than 50 urban food gardens around Singapore, was given a grant by the DBS Foundation in 2017 to ramp up productivity and expand its product range.

Ms Sarah Rodriguez, head of marketing, says customers are receptive to locally grown vegetables, a change in mindset from before, when imports were considered superior. People who subscribe to its Citizen Box get a range of soil-grown vegetables, including leafy greens such as mani chye and other produce such as lady's fingers and brinjals.

"But it is not just about agritech farming," she adds. "Let's also look at how traditional farming can link us back to our heritage."

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