Hello folks! In this issue of Let’s TOC, we speak to Valarie Soh from GreenSpade, a local start-up that aims to bring you a little closer to nature.
Planting the seeds of their business in 2016, GreenSpade sprouted under the nurturing care of a small group of dynamic and nature-loving young people. As advocates of green living in this urban jungle, these entrepreneurs aspire to promote sustainable food waste initiatives, urban gardening practices, and farming activities in Singapore.
Believing in providing fellow plant enthusiasts with high quality gardening products, Valarie and her team at GreenSpade also recognise the need to keep prices affordable for the community.
Valarie shared, “We wish to bring nature a step closer to (the) urbanised Singapore to make urban living sustainable, clean, and green.” And so they did. They pride themselves on having most of their essential products manufactured locally to encourage self-sufficiency as a nation, in line with Singapore’s “30 by 30” vision (on producing 30 percent of our nutritional needs locally by 2030 in a bid to reduce dependence on food imports).
Go Green, Go Digital
Living in the information age, Valarie and her team saw an opportunity in leveraging the digital potential of their business model – integrating both digital and green initiatives into a single platform.
“We wanted GreenSpade to provide an online platform that offers a slew of organic fertilisers, soil and gardening products. GreenSpade also provides landscaping installation and maintenance services, such as tree transplanting and irrigation.”
Valarie added, “Our aim was to make GreenSpade a one-stop, easy-access platform for all green living supporters and nature lovers. Through this, we hope to make gardening easy and a joy to everyone.”
It's All About the People Too
The entrepreneurs’ meandering journey certainly hasn’t been easy, and when asked what pushed them on, the team credited it to the people they have encountered along the trek.
“The most fulfilling aspect of running GreenSpade is definitely meeting and talking to people. From very experienced gardeners to people who are learning about gardening, we have forged connections and built an inclusive, enriching community for all.”
The community, made up of people from all walks of life with varying levels of gardening expertise, has been providing support to one another for their growth in this journey. The team aspires to build a tight-knit gardening community in the next five years – “where interactions can be made and experiences can be shared”.
Valarie also gave thanks to her dream team. Not long ago, when foreign workers were quarantined due to a surge in infections linked to their dormitories, GreenSpade faced the challenge of ensuring timely delivery of their products to their customers. Led by one of the founders, a few musclemen of the team were actively involved in delivering all orders, sometimes carrying up to 30kg each time! She reiterated the importance of adaptability in the ever-changing environment, as well as brand pivoting — just like how businesses are embracing a digitised presence in this pandemic.
For the Budding Botanists
Taking Singapore’s space constraints into consideration, the team was all for companion planting for the budding botanists out there.
Valarie remarked, “We are firm believers of companion gardening, where you plant a variety of plants for a multitude of benefits such as pollination, pest control, and space maximisation.”
For those who wish to cultivate their green fingers, she added that herbs like basil and mint are a good place to start. As for gardening enthusiasts who are looking to spruce up the challenge, they suggested growing tomatoes, pumpkins and eggplants for a gratifying experience.
Valarie also made sure to give a special mention to kale for its high versatility. Her excitement shone through as she remarked, “You can bake, steam, fry, juice or (even) eat them raw!”. Well, you’ve heard the expert so you may want to keep a lookout for the launch of Kalebration Kale Mix Seed over at GreenSpade!
Adopting green living may seem intimidating for some of us when we associate it with a total change in lifestyle. The key to a lasting lifestyle change, however, is through a gradual progression of small steps to get you committed to changing your microhabits.
“One seemingly effortless way is to be mindful of the impact your action may have on the environment!”, advised Valarie. “If you are ready for the next step, (then) pick up your spade and grow some staples in your garden. You will be surprised to see how much waste and carbon footprints you can avoid by growing parts of your meals.”
We would like to thank Valarie for taking time out to share with us GreenSpade’s initiatives and efforts we can make to go green. Let’s get down to creating an urban sanctuary that we can all relax in, one step at a time!