PHARMACIST Jeff Kong Jiang Foong, who first ventured into urban farming a year ago in his residential area, is bent on expanding it to more communities around the country.
In order to promote his passion for urban farming, which he believes is the way forward, Kong has set up the Urban, Rooftop and Vertical Farming Association of Malaysia.
Kong, who is also the founder president of the association, said it was formed with the full support of several like-minded friends and business associates with the noble aim to promote the farming method to as many residential areas as possible.
(Soong (left) presenting ACCIM deputy president Datuk Ter Leong Yap a fruit basket while Kong looks on)
He said the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCIM) and the Selangor Agriculture Department had offered a great deal of aid and support towards his initiative.
“ACCIM executive adviser Tan Sri Soong Siew Hoong has offered me his fullest backing and he was also instrumental towards forming the association.
“Soong thinks the initiative could go a long way and forming the association is a good idea to promote the concept on a big scale,” Kong said at the official launch of the association at DF Farmhouse in Kajang.
The Agriculture Department, Kong said, had taught him the know-how and supported by providing vegetable seedlings.
He hoped to promote the idea to all Malaysians to create awareness on the need to include fresh vegetables in everyone’s diet.
“We want Malaysians to come out as one regardless of their race and background and involve themselves in collective farming activities in their own residential areas.
“The initiative will give them the opportunity to grow their own vegetables and exchange the produce with their neighbours,” he said, adding that such an activity would go a long way to promote fellowship and unity among residents.
(Kong showing how food waste is used as a natural fertiliser to grow vegetables in drums.)
Kong, who first introduced the idea to his neighbours in Bandar Sunway Semenyih in February last year, said the iniative drew some 20 families who successfully planted crops such as sweet corn, brinjal, ladies’ fingers, chilli and leafy vegetables.
He said the residents grew the crops in their own compounds and shared the produce with their neighbours and they barter-traded the produce among themselves.
“It created much excitement as the residents were not only able to eat fresh vegetables from their own gardens, but it gave them the opportunity to build new friendships,” he said.
Kong said he had introduced the idea of growing vegetables in plastic drums as it was economic and practical.
“Besides that, I have also incorporated the usage of waste food as natural fertiliser for the urban farming project,” he said
After the first project, Kong said he shared the idea with the Taman Kajang Utama Rukun Tetangga and subsequently launched the project there involving 20 families.
He said the success of the two projects attracted interest from the Damansara Jaya Residents and Owners Association (DJROA).
“It followed with the next project at Charity Food Basket Society of Klang and hoping to spread the initiative to other parts of the Selangor and country,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kong said he had also successfully planted yam using natural fertiliser for a rooftop concept and he would continue to experiment with new crops.
He said he had started to incubate chicken, duck and goose eggs.
“We have already succeeded in incubating the eggs of the white Silkie chicken and we are now experimenting on ducks.
“Besides the eggs, the Silkie chicken (a breed of chicken named for its atypically fluffy plumage said to feel like silk) could also serve as a pet as it is cute and has silky feathers,” he said.