An Architecture of the Mind

by Foodscape Collective

Foodscape Collective is an ecosystem of networks amongst individuals, organizations and enterprises. Our mission is to co-create a fair and circular food system for all - and by all, we include all species and all beings on this planet - hence our practices tend towards regenerative practices that honours biodiversity and see human being's participation as one of the elements in co-creating a balanced ecosystem for sustainability.

Our vision is that of an agrihood. Agrihood combines the two words: agriculture + neighbourhood. The simple idea of an agrihood is to design living/ working/ playing spaces around a farm, a farm that produces food for the residents of the neighbourhood. This farm will also serve a site of stacked functions for the gathering of the community - living classrooms, elderly knowledge-sharing space, community harvesting and potluck events, farmers' market and so on. In closing the gap and proximity between producers and consumers, making visible and inclusive the process of food-growing, and serving as a space for community engagement and connection, the farm that employs regenerative practices and cultures, does not only grow food for the physical body, but also nourishment for mental, emotional, spiritual and planetary well-being.

With this vision in mind, we propose an expansion of imagination in how we relate to our landscape and built spaces - first, by reframing our minds and rethinking how we have become accustomed to thinking.

Following this thought provocation as a starting point, how might we draw out lines of inquiries, considering questions that are key to shaping dialogue around urban agriculture and food security in the context of Singapore?

Biodiverse Edible Garden at Jurong Central Park

This is a place-making initiative in partnership with the National Parks Board (NParks) for transforming an under-utilised green lawn in a public park space into a garden space for food, biodiversity and people.

While initially started by the network of Foodscape Collective who lives in different parts of Singapore, with Mr. Tang, an experienced natural farmer, leading the planting process, the number of participants has grown to include several local residents from around the neighbourhood.

As the garden grows, the culture of the community also begins to take shape as we hold space for the dynamic of the group to emerge.

With priority given to growing not just edible food but also the community and biodiversity of the place, the edible garden continues to explore ways to value-add to the use of the space as curious park users stop to find out more about what is growing here. Envisioned programmes in the new future includes holding workshops for gardening and composting, neighbourhood potluck, seed saving and exchange, harvest sharing etc. One initiative that came out of the circuit breaker was the making of a garden meditation audio guide, as a way to invite visitors to find peace and solace in the garden, and also to observe the plants, animals, insects and surroundings of the garden.

Find out more by joining their Garden Sharing Session here.

Rooftop Garden at soft/WALL/studs

The intentional incorporation of rewilding -urban gardens is new in the tropical settings, though not new to urban ecologies. During the period of circuit breaker in Singapore, a halt in maintenance caused native grasses to take root and flourish, allowing a diverse ecosystem to take hold in many green spaces in the island - city, and for surprising encounters to take place. Through the sowing of seeds of local native plants, how might the native greening of a rooftop space in Singapore reflect an orientation of efforts towards constructing typologies of green architecture that consider diverse sets of human - non-human interactions, with the provision of food as an element to be considered? Foodscape Collective invites independent artist space soft/WALL/studs to participate in expanding "An Architecture of the Mind" with the ongoing garden project in their art space. In alignment to the common vision of supporting biodiversity in our landscape, this garden intentionally incorporate what is usually considered "weeds" (ie. plants in the wrong place) to rewild this urban rooftop garden, offering entry points to learn more about the native plants in our landscape. Statement from soft/WALL/studs: Shifting grounds call for timely earthly attention. With garden as practice, we might allow the work of sustaining the living body we know best to lead a methodological resolve towards hybrid kinships with other living bodies: through sense, touch and cultivation, towards allyship, care, and repose. To grow a garden, we might learn to synchronise our rhythms with the living biota of a soil community--both human and non-human. The garden forms a physical setting for artistic and creative tangents within soft/WALL/studs to entangle with capacities and desires without. The garden involves collaborators outside of soft/WALL/studs. This garden considers the immediate surroundings, and urban ecology in how we may put out ideas for designing for multi- species living, in the tropical anthropocene. We gather weeds - edible treasures from the surroundings, rich with their own stories and cultural traditions - and seed them on the rooftop.

More about this project here.

Find out more about Foodscape Collective here