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We are how we eat: A discussion on Food, Sustainability and History

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Join Neo Xiaoyun, Christopher Leow and Firdaus Sani in conversation, moderated by Melissa Low

About this Event

A rich food culture lies at the heart of Singapore’s identity, and agri-food technology is now on the rise in a push to grow local and eat local. But what are the traditional histories that remain sidelined in our "food paradise" and how might we reimagine the narratives of food in Singapore?

In collaboration with Singapore Heritage Festival 2021 (https://www.sgheritagefest.gov.sg/), Ethos Books is proud to present this online panel, featuring Christopher Leow (Urban farmer), Firdaus Sani (Orang Laut), Neo Xiao Yun (Ground Up Initiative) and moderated by Melissa Low (NUS Energy Studies Institute). This panel examines our relationships with food in a climate crisis world and a "resource-scarce" nation. What are the possibilities for sustainable food production in Singapore and what can we learn from the traditional histories of the food that we grow, cook and eat?

The event will be live on Ethos Books' Facebook page. We’d love to have you with us! If you have any enquiries, feel free to write to us at letters@ethosbooks.com.sg

About the Speakers

Christopher Leow has traversed from "Farm to Table", traveling and working as Cafe owner, Ramen Consultant, and was a key member in setting up the urban Farm at Edible Garden City. His mission is to further improve the different components of the food system. Christopher is highly involved in the local agriculture scene, both commercially, where he lectures in the Urban Agricultural Technology Diplomas, as well as working on community farming projects - such as leading a rooftop community garden in Serangoon North. He is currently a founding member of Bootle's Market- a Grocer, Farm & Kitchen concept.

Firdaus Sani is a fourth-generation Orang Laut, whose ancestry can be traced to the Riau islands. His maternal grandparents used to live on one of Singapore’s Southern islands, Pulau Semakau till 1977 before they had to leave their home for the mainland. In 2020, Firdaus started Orang Laut Singapore (http://oranglaut.sg), a page dedicated to retelling the stories of Semakau through his family’s eyes before it was turned into a landfill. With experience working at an environmental non-profit organisation as a Marketing & Communications Manager, Firdaus has a keen interest in conservation issues in Singapore and hopes to take on more sustainable approaches with Orang Laut.

Neo Xiao Yun is a policy officer concerned with advancing constructive international relations to secure Singapore's strategic aviation interests. When she is not firing email submissions, she's wielding her chungkol at Ground-Up Initiative (GUI), a non-profit community, with a mission to connect people with Nature, Self & Others through nature-placemaking and volunteering activities. She also marries her love for education and the great outdoors as a facilitator of ecological learning journeys with The Untamed Paths. Xiaoyun graduated magna cum laude from Yale-NUS College in 2019 with a major in Environmental Studies. She authored the title essay in the anthology Eating Chilli Crab in the Anthropocene: Environmental Perspectives on Life in Singapore. In all that she does, Xiaoyun strives to be a part of purpose-driven businesses and groups that can make a lasting, positive impact on our environment and social fabric.

About the Moderator

Melissa Low is a Research Fellow at the Energy Studies Institute, NUS. She has participated in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP) for over a decade and is an active sustainability thought leader, authoring, publishing and presenting at various forums. She is the Designated Contact Point for NUS’s accreditation to the UNFCCC and serves on the nine-member Steering Committee of the Research and Independent Non-Governmental Organisation (RINGO) Constituency under the UNFCCC. Melissa provides policy analyses and conducts workshops for various stakeholders to improve understanding of the implications of the Paris Agreement and countries’ progress in meeting their climate pledges. Her current research focus is on transparency of climate action and reporting in Southeast Asia. Melissa holds an LLM in Climate Change Law and Policy (with distinction) from the University of Strathclyde, MSc in Environmental Management and BSocSci (Hons) in Geography from NUS. For her Master’s thesis on past and contemporary proposals on equity and differentiation in shaping the 2015 climate agreement, Melissa was awarded the Shell Best Dissertation Award 2013. She is currently pursuing a PhD part-time at the NUS Department of Geography.

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