Download Learning Group's Guide to Underground Mushroom Gardens
Information about [Underground Mushroom Gardens], Singapore 2006: Suraya Saidon, director of PCF Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng (hereafter PCF), wanted to make a mini-farm as an educational component of the school. The school is located at Indus Road #79, a public housing development. She mooted the idea of having a mini-farm at the development, to the Executive Committee of PCF, in February and March 2005.
The mini-farm is located at HDB state land (HDB is short for Housing Development Board). It is in between housing and a road. It is defined as Future Reclamation - land that is not planned for anything specific, but can be used when there is a need. Negotiation of these areas can be approved only if they do not interfere with preconceived plans for the area.
In November 2005, after having sanctioned the proposal for using the HDB state land at the local town council, the kindergarten could use a 20m2 piece of land. The mini-farm became part of the education at PCF in January 2006. In March Learning Site met with the kindergarten in relation to the Singapore Biennale 2006 and learned about the mini-farm. Learning Site got involved in the discussion about access to and use of land, city farming, commercial agriculture (around 3% of products are farmed in Singapore, the rest is imported), producing knowledge, education, and made a proposal to construct [Underground Mushroom Gardens] under the mini-farm. Learning Site did not receive official support for constructing [Underground Mushroom Gardens]. Instead it was built up as a model in the experiment room of PCF. This became an exchange between PCF, Temasek Polytechnic and Learning Site that considered ways of learning and use of knowledge. The exchange influenced the way [Underground Mushroom Gardens] came about and functioned at from 1/9/06 - 12/11/06. Both PCF and the Biotechnology Department at Temasek Polytechnic use hands-on education in their work with plants and mushrooms, but their frameworks differ. Dr. Atomic Leow carried out research about mushroom farming at the Biotechnology Department at Temasek Polytechnic.
The initial intention was that the [Underground Mushroom Gardens] would expand, be added to, redefined, and continued in different ways after the end of the Biennale. It ended with recycling the cardboard from the model, compost from producing mushrooms, and half a year exchange with the education department National University of Singapore (NTU).