Fair shot for locals

A vendor selling fresh organic vegetables at the community fair in Pekan Nanas, Pontian. — Photos: THOMAS YONG/The Star

PONTIAN: A community in Pekan Nanas here has come together to organise a monthly local goods fair to support small businesses and promote green living at the same time.

Pontian Tourism Industry Development Association chairman Haleem Lim said the fair, held on the first Saturday of each month, first started in October after the local tourism sector took a dive because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“A lot of flea markets and marketplaces have ceased because of the pandemic, so we wanted to do something to boost the local tourism industry and support small businesses that might be having a tough time now.

“We decided to organise a fair, bringing five to six different vendors together each month, as a way to also showcase local products.

“So far, vendors selling coffee, fermented drinks, potted plants, handmade items from seeds, pineapple products and other products that are kind to the earth have participated in our fair, ” he said in an interview with StarMetro.

Besides that, he said the fair included a car boot “giveaway” activity, where participating vendors were encouraged to display items they no longer wanted or needed from the boot of their vehicle.

“The special thing about this is no form of currency is needed for the items.

Lim says the fair is also a way to showcase local products.Lim says the fair is also a way to showcase local products.

“The vendor gives away the items that they no longer have use for, in hopes that others will have better use for them, ” he said, adding that the items up for grabs included used furniture, CDs, electronic products, clothes and decorative items.

Lim, who has been involved in pineapple cultivation for the past 17 years, said he dedicated a space on his 2.8ha pineapple farm to set up a gazebo made mostly from sustainable materials for the fair and other agrotourism activities.

“I used a green build concept, where at least 70% of the materials used were recycled or upcycled items such as wood, metal and flooring materials to give them a second life.

“I emphasised on air ventilation, natural lighting and green materials.

“The most important thing is to make sure that the structure can also be taken apart and the materials reused yet again later, ” he said.

A visitor at the fair, private school teacher David Hepting, 33, said it was his first time coming to the event after hearing about it from his wife.

“I have stayed in this area for two years and I really enjoy the laid-back, small-town pace of Pekan Nanas.

Shamini says the fair allows the community to come together.Shamini says the fair allows the community to come together.

“I bought some organic pineapple products and vegetables from the fair, ” he said.

Another visitor, copywriter K. Shamini, 44, who came from Iskandar Puteri, said she enjoyed chatting with the vendors and looking at the pineapple plantation.

“This fair is a good initiative as it allows the farming community to come together and engage with the public.

“I purchased some microgreens from a farmer’s booth.

“I hope there will be more initiatives like this that promote green living, ” she added.

The fair is held at Nictar Pineapple Park on the first Saturday of each month from 8am to 11am.

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