We have positions open for research interns with a background in either a social science or science degree, AND a strong interest and motivation to question, pursue, and find new approaches with an interdisciplinary approach. As a team, we blend theory and practice to address global and local questions around climate, ecology, environment, and social injustice, especially as it relates to asking how ecological degradation occurs, and what methods we have as interconnected societies to create the necessary social environments for socio-ecological renewal.
As an intern, you will assist the Soil Regeneration Project with its 2-year Collaborative Research Project with the National Parks Board, be part of shaping its community-led action research methodology, and help to build a set of key resources for use by the wider networks that the Soil Regeneration Project is part of.
Action research is a well-established and continually shaping methodology first emerging through the contradictions of development work and anthropology. Research undertaken in one place, led by “experts”, to create value not in the area being researched but in the home of the funding country, was criticised. Action research evolved out of that to specify an iterative cycle of theory and praxis: reflection, action, reflection and action.
The Soil Regeneration Project is our attempt at piloting a form of community-led action research work: one that specifies research that builds bottom-up and horizontal forms of organising, undertaken and led by communities working for their own benefit. This grounds theory and praxis in the vocabulary and practices of people, not institutions.
What would you learn with us?
Your duties may include, and are not limited to:
1. Reading and synthesising materials shared by the team
3. Content creation for social media posts based on existing resources (Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn)
4. Independent research and presentation of findings to the team or in an organised session
5. Potentially drafting and writing about their readings for a publication platform
More information about this will be shared during an interview.
Time and period of commitment: Part-time Intern
Minimum 1 month, 2-3 months preferable
Approximately 10 hours a week, flexible working arrangement.
Mostly remote work and team meetings once a week or as needed.
We have a small stipend to offer for this role.
Next start date: November / December
You are motivated to see how action research can be used in working with diverse communities to create tools and languages that allow communities to be heard on their own terms
You want to translate the latest work, methods, and knowledge being generated in scientific and practitioner communities working with soil, for growers and gardeners based in Singapore and the region
You want to find and work with a small group of individuals to create a space for engaged, reflective praxis, that has a material and energetic impact on knowledge co-creation
About the Soil Regeneration Project:
The Soil Regeneration Project is shaping a community-led action research methodology, that focuses on bringing state-of-the-art understandings of urban transformation and agrarian change, with practical and critical action, to join theory and practice. It is part of the Foodscape Collective network and broader communities of individuals thinking about and working with land, media, community, and digital infrastructure to shape inclusive and circular food systems in Singapore and beyond. The Soil Regeneration Project team works flexibly to link individual roles in the team with ongoing work in partner organizations, with the opportunity to connect approaches and outputs across our platforms.
This role has a rolling application deadline. Statements of interest can be sent, together with a resume, to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org with the Subject heading “Soil Regeneration Project: Research Intern”
The Soil Regeneration Project/Spores team is seeking a passionate curriculum writer and designer (CD) to join our team.
At the Soil Regeneration Project (https://soilregenerationproject.com/), we believe in the centrality of soil in biological as well as social systems and are dedicated to bringing this to light in academic, social and economic spaces. Within educational spaces, we aim to highlight the position of soil in climate change, ecology and sustainability conversations. One of the ways we are working towards shifting the current narrative towards the importance of soil is through our Soil Curriculum, a series of 10 lessons we have designed that consists of engaging activities and self reflective debrief discussions to reorient ourselves in relation to soil.
We are in the fortunate position of piloting these 10 lessons with partners so that we may collect feedback and work towards refining the curriculum. To enable this, we are looking for a curriculum designer to join our team who will drive and advise us through this process by collating feedback from the pilot runs, rewriting lesson plans and other curricula related documents to present to educational institutions and the Ministry of Education.
An individual who has experience and is familiar with curriculum development in the Ministry of Education;
Trained in curriculum design with experience in writing curricula for MoE accredited schools and/or other educational institutions in Singapore;
An innovative changemaker keen to be a part of how educational systems can evolve;
Passionate about education and ecology;
Keen to work in an inclusive and collaborative working environment with a diverse team.
Estimated time commitment of 4 hours/week with possible increase to 6 hours per week for a few weeks following each run of the curriculum pilots (a total of 3 runs) as we process and incorporate the feedback into the curriculum. This will be broken down into a modular 3-session programme. The timeline is as follows:
First run: November and December 2021, preparation begins August 2021
Second run: January to May 2022
Third run: June to December 2022
Individual will be remunerated for their services
Opportunity to work with a team of individuals dedicated towards creating a shift in educational thinking
A current or historical connection to Singapore’s food system, water bodies or soils in the form of professional work or personal relation is considered a plus but not a requisite for applicants
Much like the soils beneath our feet, we hope to mirror the diverse and inclusive characteristics of soil systems. With this in mind, we seek to cultivate a professional ethos as well as grow our team to compose a plurality of views, experiences and walks of life
Our design principles are woven into the soil project, and value systems too.
Here we introduce our first completed designs, something we’re very proud of, that embodies what we consider a living culture for the project.
We also take some time to find out about the person behind the designs.
Interconnection, community, and the cycle of knowledge (re)generation are values we work towards. We believe they are needed more than ever today, to rebuild what we have of already-broken agriculture and food systems, and divert the flow of energy and resources from industrial food systems, towards ones that can support microsolidarity networks, decolonial food cultures, and place-based communities that support their farmers.
Transitions aren’t always easy, but they are also joyful. Work, done well and hard won, with others, teaches us fulfillment and lessons that make us all better people.
These designs were conceptualised and made in collaboration with Ng Wei Yang. Find out more about his work and ongoing projects at www.ngweiyang.com/.
Wei Yang is a concept artist and illustrator based in Singapore. He graduated from the Singapore University of Technology and Design in 2017 and subsequently from FZD School of Design in 2020. His journey in art and design started from a couple of design courses in university, which eventually led him to pursue concept art. Wei Yang’s interest in both real-life and imaginary environments drive him to create environment concept art and illustrations. Outside of work, he enjoys taking pictures and travelling.
The garden space in Methodist Girls’ School (MGS) was badly damaged a few years ago when their sports complex was built near to it. Construction debris such as broken bricks and rocks was buried in the garden under a thin layer of landscape soil, on which grass was later planted.
Before growing any crops, my friends and I had to remove as much construction debris from the soil as possible. We also added purchased soil and purchased compost to quickly amend the soil for growing. We used about 3 tons of purchased soil and 600 kg of compost to create the grow areas. We won’t need to buy anymore soil or compost because we are now creating our own soil and compost in the garden using food scraps from the canteen stalls, garden waste, grass clippings and fallen leaves.
The pond in the garden was poorly managed. There was only one species of fish – tilapia. The filtration system was not functioning properly. The water didn’t smell nice and there were string algae floating around. The school management was already planning to give up the pond and fill it up with soil to grow grass. I asked the them to let me try to revive the pond. Luckily, they agreed. Instead of using their artificial filtration system, I planted a diversity of aquatic plants and introduced more than 20 species of fishes. The ecosystem created is working well and the water is clear now. I have recorded 23 species of dragonflies visiting the pond. A few species are breeding in the pond. I can see their exuviae sometimes.
Today, the garden is producing food for both people and animals and is also providing ecological services. Teachers and students come to the garden not only to admire it but also to make observations on ecology. It is now a living classroom for students to learn about food and nature.
What plants do you grow in the area?
Edibles and ornamentals, annuals and perennials
Do you grow on a raised bed or directly in the soil?
Combination of the two
Roughly how large is your site?
About the size of a basketball court. 436 sqm
What are the microclimate conditions over time? (how sunny or shady, for how long? How wet and windy is the spot?)
A mixture of these
What practices do you use with the soil?
Mulching – the main practice.
Composting using soil in a shaded area.
Burying food scraps in soil in grow area.
Is there anything else about your site that is worth noting?
It is a regenerative food garden attracting biodiversity and sequestering carbon.
A dear friend and guide of the Soil Regeneration Project runs a space in the island of Palawan, in the Philippines. They wrote us recently with some news, and the message resonated strongly with us, so we’re publishing their newsletter here with their permission.
Read the PDF copy here (with photos!) or below in text (but without photos), if you’d prefer.
“So I see the only chance for man, that he can finally practically heed two insights: that his fate is inextricably linked to that of his fellow human beings in all parts of the world and that he belongs to nature and not to him.” Albert Einstein
During this time we receive a lot of confirmation for the work that we have been doing here in Palawan, the Philippines and elsewhere in the last ten years and we feel encouraged to continue on this path with all our strength. With seed research and production, with the propagation of regenerative farming, holistic methods of education and healing and through the training of perception with the senses, we make a significant contribution to the healthy development of people and the earth and provide practical solutions to challenges such as those that have now become more and more critical. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who reads this newsletter, supports us, has supported us personally, conceptually, financially and in many other ways. Here are some insights into our work in agriculture, health, nutrition and education in the past six months.
In December we were invited to a national conference on organic farming, where big plans for its expansion were made and a great deal of interest in biodynamic farming was shown. We will closely monitor and, where possible, contribute, where the many measures envisaged go towards realization. Experience shows that much more is said than actually done in this country.
A little further we have come with an undertaking right on our doorstep. Through our coffee project, we have been working with one of the four indigenous peoples on the island for almost seven years. For half a year now we have been working to win over a piece of wasteland up to 300 hectares as a commons (for shared use without property rights) for these people and for the bio- dynamic impulse. This wasteland gets burned almost completely annually in the dry season and is therefore also a threat to the adjacent forests, instead of being able to contribute to the food of the population. Extensive consultations with a large number of government agencies were and are necessary, although these are currently limited by the lockdown. A variety of training courses and discussions with the participants have taken place.
The pictures above show the ritual initiation of the initiative by the local chieftain as well as eurythmy guided by Grace. The rituals were included in one of the introductory seminars, here also with guests from the Acacia Waldorf School Santa Rosa and from Switzerland.
The preparations are known to play a fundamental role in biodynamic agriculture. In Palawan it is not possible for us to grow the plants required for the compost preparations, but promising tests are being made in a mountainous area in the Philippines. Until we are able to produce them ourselves, we import the raw materials from India. Of course, we do have other raw materials such as quartz and cow dung. The pictures show, from left to right, the production of the cow pat pit preparation during a workshop on January 8, then the harvest on Easter Sunday morning and the storage in clay jars. Stirring a preparation and hanging up yarrow in a deer bladder.
We multiply seeds; we try to adapt overseas seeds from bd origins to the local climate; we try out indigenous, sometimes endemic species for cultivation and consumption; and we also try to breed to a modest extent. We are particularly happy with this lettuce. Lettuce is difficult to grow in the heat of the tropics and it hardly forms heads. This one is well adapted to organic cultivation, forms a large leaf mass, tolerates the heat well and is very tasty and digestible. It will be able to meet the increased demand for salad from local restaurants. In addition, see our seeds on offer at a farmers ́ market.
The primary producers are the poorest, especially in a country like the Philippines. One of the ways in which the farmer can earn more is to process his produce to a higher product level. Since the beginning of our work, we have always presented new plants for cultivation, but also products to be made from them. Here the hibiscus, known as tea or lemonade additive. In this case, we made tasty jams – with some guava from the garden, there is enough pectine in there to make it gel. On the right: bananas laid out and ready for dehydration.
In addition to nutrition, a focus of our work is medicine. In the garden and the farm, we grow a variety of medicinal plants, some of which are available as seeds or seedlings, some as tea and sometimes in other forms. Our first goal is always to provide information about planting, care and use. Besides these, we are engaged in propagation and distribution. From left to right, the Korean ginseng, the insulin plant, a papaya leaf and Tawa Tawa; the latter two are used for dengue fever. Tawa Tawa, an Euphorbia, also has an amazing immediate healing effect in conjunctivitis. It is no coincidence that the two middle pictures show plants wet with dew – for more than ten years we have also been dealing with the almost completely unexplored dew drops.
Signs of the Time
This article of mine gives a little insight into the current situation in the Philippines – even if the situation naturally keeps evolving every day. The following video by Grace shows one of our initiatives in the educational field – it is intended for the poorest families in the Philippines and encourages young children to play with open-ended toys – it has meanwhile been given Indonesian subtitles and made available to parents, kindergartens and children’s homes in Indonesia through a foundation and is available as well on Facebook. In both countries, many poor families do have access to the internet, especially to Facebook.
The Time is Now
A crisis is equivalent to unlimited potential. In a plant, let ́s say, in a grass (we have very large grasses, namely bamboo, which can grow up to two meters a day), there is always a node and an internode: a knot and that between the knots. What is between the knots corresponds to ordinary life: the plant grows this way, especially in length. Humans live this way or the other, they walk their usual paths. Life is in the knot – if you want to multiply a plant, it comes from the knot, not from the in between. What we call a crisis among humans is the equivalent of the knot. Here is life, here is origin. Too much for some, but yes, crisis is life and it provides abundant opportunity. So let’s be thankful for the crisis, thankful for life and let’s make something of it. The time is now.
While many people are not allowed to work during this time, we work harder than ever. The drought that has been going on for a year and a half, the shortage of water, the extraordinary heat, the requests, the unfolding future are demanding of us to work seven days a week. At the same time, we have almost completely lost our revenues as a result of global government measures. The annual budget of our company is approx. 40,000 euros, in order to make ends meet we need 20,000 euros (= fixed costs). Probably some of you have similar challenges. Who has ideas for sustainable funding?
Walter Siegfried Hahn and Grace Zozobrado-Hahn, with the team of Koberwitz 1924 Inc.
Or directly to the Philippines, preferably via https://transferwise.com, because they charge small fees: Account Name Koberwitz 1924 Inc. Account Number 130-3-13024518-9 at Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City, BIC (Swift) MBTCPHMMXXX
(It is not possible for the bank to notify us of the transfer to the client. In the case of a transfer, we ask you to inform us at the same time).
By the way: We have not given up our plans for a trip to Europe in April May 2021 – we thank you for the invitations we have received so far and look forward to contributing to more events – just drop us an e-mail.
Aditi has started reading the book, she loves parts of it! Luckily for the rest of us, there’s a video with the authors online, along with a really good explanation of why soil and carbon is part of us–our bodies and our food. And that we can rebuild soil in a matter of years–not the centuries of geological rock formation, as we tend to think. Check out The Hidden Half of Nature:
The story of soil is a complex, intriguing one. Our project draws to us people, resources, and opportunities to uncover more facets of its nature. So we’ve decided to start collecting notes about things that surprise us here – notes on soil. Here we post new facets of our world’s soil body when the inspiration strikes us (sometimes literally~).
Oftentimes, when we talk about making soil, soil scientists point out that soil takes a long time to form. Yet as Dr Christine Jones mentions, in an interview, the building of topsoil versus the weathering of rock are two different phenomena, and human activity changes the speed at which they occur.
“the flow of liquid carbon to soil is the primary pathway by which new topsoil is formed“
Read about her work – and Amazing Carbon, here., or read extracts of her work below.