The Sting of Sustainability


The Sting of Sustainability

A classic case of Want vs. Need


On a very sweaty Sunday in August (the 19th if you must know), Open Farm Community (OFC) hosted its first Farmers & Healers market. There was vegan cheese, artisan tea blends, stylish potted plants, and a variety of ticketed workshops including Tibetan Bowl Singing and Yoga.


Before we get to photos of the OFC gardens, let’s begin with a universal thought everyone (not just the broke post-graduate) has had: “Wow, everything is so expensive!” The food and items on sale weren’t crazy expensive by any means, and I could have treated myself to gourmet finger food and a few early Christmas presents. But the more crystals and candles I saw, the more I felt like I was entering Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop universe.


Also, just to be clear, the Farmers & Healers Market wasn’t advertised as a sustainable/zero-waste event. I attended it because their vendor list and “gathering of energy, mindfulness and good vibes” ethos seemed to parallel what I’m interested in: clean ingredients and sustainable practices.


I wanted a lot of the things at the market and I had to keep reminding myself that they weren’t necessary for my #zerowastejourney


Green products are almost always more expensive and while these price hikes are painful, they exist to compensate the amount of time, care, and money that went into the manufacturing of a product.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the market or any of the things sold, and I just want to encourage anyone to not feel like they NEED to immediately convert to all organic/fairtrade/vegan products in order to be part of the sustainable movement. If you have the spending power then by all means support small businesses and invest in the things which will help you achieve a sustainable lifestyle. The only must is to not guilt-trip others for choosing more affordable options. Shaming people is insensitive and the fastest way to put people off.


And if you’re like me and are tempted to buy things in order to achieve a Pinterest-perfect lifestyle, opt for experiences instead. Example: I visited this market, admired all the pretty things on sale, got to talk to local business owners, and practiced my photography, all free of charge!


A bit more about OFC: “Open Farm Community (OFC) is Spa Esprit Group’s initiative in spearheading local farming, connecting the community to nature, and celebrating local spirit. Sitting on a 35,000 sq ft of green-land, OFC unites local farmers, creative chefs and an innovative spirit in a first-of-its-kind dining concept in Singapore”


The main restaurant is located at the back (I didn’t enter but a quick peek showed that it was very charming and very packed). The workshops were held under a tented area near the edible gardens.


Hand-painted typographic signs and gardens just go so well together. For more examples click here.

Sculptures scattered throughout the edible landscape

Sculptures scattered throughout the edible landscape


Bottom line: use what you already have instead of buying whatever is fashionable, lead by example, and do what you can within your power to be kinder to the earth and its inhabitants.