Promoting farming in the city

  • Community
  • Tuesday, 24 Feb 2015

All together now: (From left) Ho, Mohd Abidin, Lee, Soong and Kong trying their hand at using the vertical farming barrel.

PHARMACEUTICAL company DF Pharmacy Sdn Bhd has set out to educate urban residents on how to grow fresh organic vegetables and fruits in their own homes.

At the launch of the “Community Farming Cultivates Unity” initiative in the DF FarmHouse in Kajang, DF Pharmacy managing director Jeff Kong and his associates highlighted the importance as well as the benefits of urban farming.

Through urban farming, also known as the no-cangkul method, local residents can grow a myriad of vegetables and fruits minus the laborious tasks normally required in regular farming.

One method of urban farming is known as vertical farming, where plants are grown on a vertically inclined plane and require significantly less space than regular farming.

In a vertical farming demonstration by Kong and his associates, Kong took a large plastic barrel with some minor modifications, and filled it with soil, converting it into a vertical farming instrument.

According to Kong, the barrel, which could hold up to 140 kg of soil, only cost about RM60 and could be used to plant between 45 and 55 different types of vegetables and plants.

Kong suggested the use of natural soil and organic fertiliser when farming and placing earthworms in the soil to make it less compact and more fresh.

“Vertical farming is already a proven success in Singapore,” said Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) executive adviser Tan Sri Soong Siew Hoong during the launch.

“In Singapore, a 4ha plot of land used for urban farming can supply about 100 tonnes of vegetables a day,” he said, adding that vertical farming was implemented there because land was scarce.

Check it out: Mohd Radzi, 43, and his son Mohd Ridhzwan, 2, inspecting another method of vertical farming at the event.
Check it out: Mohd Radzi, 43, and his son Mohd Ridhzwan, 2, inspecting another method of vertical farming at the event.

Another benefit, added Soong, was that this no-cangkul method could potentially attract youths.

“Normally, young people do not like farming because it is very difficult and takes a lot of hard work,” said Soong.

“But vertical farming requires very little labour and very little land,” he said, adding that on top of that, vertical farming can promote farming education for the youth to take part in this healthy activity.

The most important benefit, however, is that vertical and urban farming is a good way to promote communal integration, which is in line with the Community Farming Cultivates Unity initiative.

“I see many people here who are residents from the neighbourhood,” said Soong, acknowledging the large crowd of residents from different races who got together for the launch of the initiative.

Soong pointed out that one of the biggest problems facing urban society was the lack of communal integration within a community and that many residents did not even know the people living down the street from them.

However, the produce created through urban farming can be shared with neighbours and fellow residents, creating a healthy barter and communication environment for the neighbourhood.

Also present at the event were National Unity and Integration Department (JPNIN) director Ho Khek Hua, Selangor Agriculture Department deputy director Mohd Abidin Mohd Ariffin and Malaysian Retail Chain Association (MRCA) youth chief Datuk Dr Edmund Lee.

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