Uptrend for urban farming


Visitors checking out some of the plants during the Green Action Week event at the CAP office premises in Jalan Masjid Negeri, Penang. — Photos: CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

WITH more time spent at home amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Penangites like Nur Izzah Fakharudin have found an interest in urban gardening and gotten serious about making healthy choices as consumers.

The 29-year-old, who works as an internal audit officer, said before the movement control order (MCO), she had no idea that planting and gardening were possible in the city.

“I used to think you need a spacious area to do gardening.

“I did not realise that urban farming is so simple. We can do it with a little soil, a pot or a small plot near our homes in the city.

“I have only just learnt about urban farming and what it is all about, ” she said at the Green Action Week celebration by Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) at its premises in Jalan Masjid Negeri, George Town.

Nur Izzah said through the event, she picked up books about gardening and was excited to try out gardening.

At the event, CAP also launched the ‘Managing Pests in Home Gardens’ guidebook and held various activities.

Over 120 people attended the event, which featured a pest management demonstration, seed sharing booths and gardening inputs.

Student K. Mirosha, 23, who watched the pest management demonstration, said it was nice to be among a network of gardening community again.

(From left) Mirosha, Nur Izzah and housewife Chuah Choo Gaik, 57, looking at the ‘Managing Pests in Home Gardens’ guidebook.(From left) Mirosha, Nur Izzah and housewife Chuah Choo Gaik, 57, looking at the ‘Managing Pests in Home Gardens’ guidebook.

“I picked up gardening from my parents and grandmother when I was young and have been helping them for over 10 years.

“At home, we have various plants like hibiscus, calamansi, aloe vera and several types of herbs.

“But there is always so much more to learn and I am glad we picked up some healthy and natural pest control methods through this event, ” she added.

Among the natural methods shown were a spray for the plants with ginger-garlic-chilli decoction, juice from neem leaves and a chilli and tumeric powder solution.

CAP research officer Mageswari Sangaralingam said they celebrated Green Action Week from Sept 28 to Sunday as part of the global campaign to promote sustainable consumption.

“Every year in October, organisations around the world take joint action to promote a common cause.

“This year, the theme is ‘Sharing Community’ and 50 civil society organisations in 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia and the United States participated.

“Here, we wanted to share our knowledge and guide the community, especially the gardening network, so we promoted and gave guides to urban gardening.”

CAP president Mohideen Abdul Kader said during the pandemic and MCO, many households resorted to growing vegetables in their home gardens.

“But some home gardeners encountered problems with pests and we received many calls for solutions to pests.

“As such, we produced a guidebook titled ‘Managing Pests in Home Gardens’ to provide basic knowledge about common pests and solutions to them, ” he said.

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