Sunday, March 7, 2010

When is organic food truly organic? (4)

In reality,
it may not be easy to fulfill all the 6 definitive criteria.

Simply, some of the criteria are
- unmeasurable,
- arbitrary (if measurable) or
- non-achievable (given the unfavourable condition/background in certain region.)

Organic produce from different regions
are hence very variable in quality
depending on
the farming practice,
certification stringency,
public's receptive-ness etc...

This fact however
should not contradict the need for organic agriculture.
Because we do whatever best achievable.
If we give up on organic agriculutre
just because we cannot perfect the organic agricultural system,
we will never have organic food.

When I led local organic tours in Singapore,
often I told the participants
that the farms we visited were not truly organic,
by strict definition.
However, we should still support them,
because of their organic spirit and
their good will to produce safer food with less chemicals.
Without them, we will never get anything close to organic.

This leads to one last criterion to define organic food
-- Gratitude.

This is getting a little bit far fetch to some of us.
But gratitude is indeed needed to ensure that
organic spirit will sustain and persist.

Our ancestors used to live in an organic world.

But this organic world slowly degenerates,
as mankind become less and less contented/grateful.

We want luxuries (e.g. "abundance" of meat)
which could not be provided by Mother Earth.

When Mother Earth can't catch up
with our ever-expanding demand,
we do silly and unnatural interventions
to 'fix the problem" from the surface,
by poisoning small animals,
     hormonising the live stocks,
     genetically modifying cash crops
and eventually intoxicating our ownselves,
-- under the excuse of saving world hunger...

As we can see now,
the lack of gratitude is the fundamental cause
that get non-organic agriculture started.

To revive the organic world
once our ancestors lived in,
we need gratitude.

Hence, Gratitude is the ultimate ingredient of true organic living.

With Gratitude :)
Kee Yew

I recently set up an Organic Living Meetup Group.
and sincerely invite you to join in the force to support the organic industry
for the betterment of Mother Earth, if you are residing in Singapore =)

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}


  1. I believe your ORganic Living Meetup Group will be great, because Living Green and Eat Green is getting popular globally :D

    I just gather some info on Eco-Friendly Eateries in England for sharing on their menu, concept, success factor, beautiful and impactful website, powerful message for those interested.

    In fact, some of those eateries model we have it here, just that they are keep very low profile and lack in strengthening, conveying the message across ...

    One thing, I find that when we talk about organic eatery - it is always Organic Brown Rice Set, it loses the interest, as customer can get Organic Brown Rice Set in any organic eatery, why go to other organic eatery?

    Nori Sushi, Juices, Shepherd's Pie is on most Organic Eateries menu ... there isn't any strong thingy that differentiate them and special signature food or something else that have to go there for.

    Cheers crystal :D

  2. Understand :)

    Organic Brown Rice set is the foundation of health, without which, there is no basis for the joy of eating. Hence, there is a reason for emphasis.

    I have long noticed that food in Singapore is quite lack of creativity.

    With my prejudice, I tend to blame it on the high entry barrier (& high rental/imported raw material/overhead cost) to start up and sustain a quality F&B biz in Singapore. Owner tho' may be creative at first may eventually need to put costing ahead of culinary excellence and creativity.

    Along these years, when I meet up with vegetarian F&B owner, I tend give advice that in order to surpass the meat F&B, there is a need to have specific themes for their F&B outlets.
    For example, to make their veg cafe a Japanese Veg cafe, not just a veg cafe. Also it's important to add in some personality into their cafe/food. E.g. if the owner is a dog lover, can try to put up pictures of puppies in the cafe, name the foods with doggy-related names etc..

    Some owners thought my suggestion was far fetch, fancy or unrealistic. Some think my suggestions were good, but eventually still had to put the idea aside to save cost...

    In other words I believe, with lower cost of running a veg F&B, there is will more space for creativity and hence trigger a positive feedback cycle on creative healthy veg in Singapore.

    Hence, sometimes I dream of some charitable support / government incentives that will reduce the running cost of veg F&B and get the cycle started :P

  3. Glad to read your reply. I think you are on the right path, have very good ideas and suggestions too :D

    Frankly speaking your suggestions are not unrealistic or far fetch, it even does not need tons of efforts (costs) and only with some careful move to get it started, that's and it will then grow ...

    They might think we don't know about business or not into it. But, it is FEAR, certain boundaries, mindset and too much emphasis on the result that is stopping the owners progressing ... Under the current pressure, they spend time worrying rather than finding ways out, it is a test of the owner's character too.

    The logic is very simple. In business, there will be some successful one and some fail. The competition in the non-vegetarian eateries is even MUCH tougher than veg eateries, even though many meat-eaters around (there are also TONS of meat-eater's eateries fighting to survive) ... But that situation make them tough, more creative and able to stay afloat.

    Veg-eateries whereas has many advantages for e.g like you who advocate healthy eating etc who is quietly and indirectly supporting them. They can have a Tasting Menu for group, where we go to taste the food, give feedback, take photo (if the photo turn out well, they can have it), a chance for them to create dishes, a chance for other to sample dishes not available on normal basis. Like, 8 Treasures Restaurant invited us for World Vegetarian Day event, it can be buzzing if we make it into one. There are just so many ways.

    This situation never happen in meat-eater's eateries (afterall, who (meat-eater) want to help meat-eater eateries earn $). Because of this, meat-eater eateries pay lots of attention in handling feedbacks and find other workarounds. Whereas in this area, the veg eateries are very reluctant and a bit inflexible.

    Many years back, I also has your dream :D One organisation is starting to do it (Loving Hut) but the menu portion is lacking and some little things are stopping the big progress (from a outsider viewpoint).

    Glad to find like-mind people like you. Thank you very much for sharing.

    Cheers :D

  4. Hi Crystal,

    You have your points too. The vigrous competition among the non-veg did make them tougher n more creative.

    But it would be ideal if veg F&B do not compete among themselves just to become 'better'. As I always believe in collaboration (win-win) rather than competition (win-lose) to improve our standards.

    Along these years, I have been trying out different various methods to instil a collaborative culture among the Veg community.
    Local organic tour, Organic Living Meetups are two tiny steps.. now am hoping to organise a yearly Veg Convention in Singapore to foster a strong collaborative bonds among veg organisations if "yuan" arrives one day :)

    Back to veg F7B story,
    to excel in culinary excellence, veg outlets also need to be self-motivated and constantly bear in mind that being excellent in veg culinary is important to lure non-veg to take veg. By having this compassionate self-motivation mindset, one will also over come the fear to reach the extra mile =)

    On another hand, it's vital that the veg community continue to give constructive feedback and good will despite the higher prices.

    Thank you, Crystal for being vocal about veg standard in Singapore... please continue to raise the bar!! :D

    Kee Yew

  5. You are RIGHT! Stop Competing Start Excelling ...

    Talking in Buddhist Term, if the intention is good and not for self, there will be lots of helping forces (which we can't see - could be bodisavatta or deva who also have the same compassionate frequency ), they will send their help via various different forms, means and ways :D Once, the intention is wrong, no one can help - KARMA.

    May your dream come true. You did a right move in starting the Meet-up Group. Today, I just test out something. I heard of LivinGreens long ago, but never keen to go there, thinking it is difficult to find lah, the same old type of cuisine lah etc.
    Today, I went there because I want to write a review - and their dish WOW me and I title my review in HWG as Never try, you never Know ... LivinGreens can make one FALL IN LOVE with their Orangic Vegan Cuisine ...

    So, your meet-up group can be a good channel to introduce people to Organic Food/LifeStyle ... Great Job :D

    Cheers :D

  6. yes, the intention is critical.

    If intention is right, it will pull thru' no matter what. tho' may be a bit tough..

    Now u know the Umphh of Livin'Green!! hahaha...
    Livin'Green has always been my top 3 most favourite cafe! hahaha..

    Please continue to write more reviews :D
    I look forward to write my first veg review on 20 Mar after visiting VegSenz.. kekekek...

  7. I may join on 20 Mar, so see you there. If it is on 27 Mar Earth Day, then I might have something more to write about.

    Still trying to find the beauty in VegSenz.

    Anyway, "For You" Magazine Reader Cardholder entitle to discounts there ...and some other organic eateries, that make going organic cheaper.

  8. Cool :D

    Really? Let me find out more on discounts :D

    Kee Yew

  9. Yup, it is listed in the For You Information (Buddhist Mag).

    Only Nutri-Hub (organic cafe), rest are some vegetarian & non-vegetarian listed in Buddhist Fellowship Membership privilege -

    How nice, if there is only 1 card that can be used in 80% of the organic eateries/shops ... or more membership got discounts at organic eateries/shops.

    Cheers :D

  10. Thanks for your suggestions!

    May be I can get Cielo Sereno to do something about it =)

    Kee Yew


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