THE USJ 14 community garden at the park in Jalan Mulia, Selangor, is only six months old, but it is already gaining recognition as one of five in the country shortlisted for the National Landscape Department’s community garden competition.
The community garden, which is maintained by 30 individuals from Goodyear Court 6-10, is planted with a variety of produce, including snake gourd, sweet potatoes, eggplant, roselle, okra and Japanese cucumber.
What’s interesting is that unlike most cases where vacant land in a residential area is allocated for a garden, the USJ 14 community garden sits on a vacant area of the community park.
The committee members, comprising people of various ethnicity, have come together solely because of their love of gardening, having had no proper place within their apartment area to exercise their green thumb.
Its chairman, Mohd Sharif Sani, said with the competition ongoing, members were currently working hard to ensure the garden is well maintained.
“We started out with only 10 vegetable plots, which increased as more people joined us. Today, there are still people who ask if they can join in the effort,” he said, adding that the committee members either share plots or have their own one.
Sharif said the teams work in shifts from 7am to 7pm to ensure that the garden is in tip-top condition.
“We have more than 100 types of produce here, and help not only comes from the committee members but also from volunteers,” he said.
The garden’s produce is shared among 30 families.
Subang Jaya councillor Lee Jen Uyin said just three months after it started, the USJ 14 community garden bagged top five position in the council’s community garden competition.
Lee said Subang Jaya Municipal Council then encouraged USJ 14 to participate in the national competition.
The committee is in the midst of preparing a presentation highlighting their efforts with the community garden for the national competition.
The presentation will take place this week.
Former Subang Jaya assemblyman and now Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh recently paid a visit to the community garden.
She was taken on a tour of the garden where she also learned about the different types of chillies from Sabah and Sarawak.
“The uniqueness of the community garden is that it is for Goodyear Court 6-10, (which is) an apartment area, not a terrace area, where the only green is at this park.
“The community garden is good for those who have retired, and also a place for fellowship among housewives,” Yeoh said.
She advised the committee to keep up the good work and to tag their produce with information on how to cook the vegetables.
So far, each produce is tagged with the name and its benefits.
Yeoh also announced a RM5,000 allocation for the community that would allow them to carry out other projects, particularly counselling sessions for mental health.
Yeoh said she would get the Welfare Department and the Department of Women’s Development to engage with the committee in USJ 14 to see what kind of counselling is needed in the area.
The counselling session will focus on the elderly and women in the community.