I first learnt about Permaculture back in 2011, it changed the way I saw things. I got involved with different projects and organised a lot of programs. In 2017, I started working with Urban Hijau.
Being in the middle of the city, a lot of people come to the farm. We have had volunteers from different Malaysian universities and interns from around the world – Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, France, Spain, Pakistan, India, Indonesia.
We have also organized a number of training programs for kids, adults and corporates.
Permaculture is about designing for the long term. And we really like to teach skills to benefit those who need them the most. Raising a new generation to be more resourceful will become the norm and we are doing our part in it.
Some of my favourite training groups have been the with the youth. For example, refugee kids from Somalia and Afghanistan. They get new energy when seeing the potential of Permaculture – they get empowered! We have also done a series of workshops with our local orphanage Rumah Ilham.
So, what do they learn?
At Urban Hijau everyone starts with making good SOIL. In our tropical climate is this is critical due to nutrient loss from heavy rains throughout the year. So, participants see different composting methods – the compost station, the worm farm, the black soldier fly farm, and occasionally they feed some food to the chickens and fish as well.
Then they start with their own planting session by making a good soil mix and planting while learning more details of plant care.
A typical schedule for the event is as below:
- Arrival and introduction
- Farm tour and immersion (learning different methods of growing and composting)
- Break and refreshments
- Soil mixing exercise
- Planting in the potting mix
- Planting in vertical towers
- Final care instructions and close
They get to take home plants too, so they can start growing their own healthy food in small urban spaces.
Moving forwards we at Urban Hijau want to put more focus on training vulnerable groups for whom this knowledge can have a real impact to improve their lives. For one who sees the world through the Permaculture lens, there is no waste – only resources.
Food scraps become compost in the tiniest space with a small worm farm, which gives fertility to grow greens in a vertical garden. That can improve health, reduce household expense, and give better food security.
This week we will start working with the Gift Foundation. They assist hundreds of beneficiaries in the Klang area, including impoverished families, migrants and refugees.
We will train participants for them in urban gardening techniques and also use some of the land they have. They have even asked us to set up an Aquaponics system for them.
Here is where everyone gets to be part of such projects. Currently Urban Hijau is seeking your assistance to run 6 training sessions in 2020, with vulnerable community groups identified by GIFT Foundation and others like them.
Some of these trainees will learn how to run the Aquaponics system, establishing an effective livelihood for themselves and benefitting their communities with fresh healthy food!
This week, we will distribute some of our aquaponic tilapia to their needy participants, but the real benefit will come from empowering the people! To support our initiative, find more information here: https://www.launchgood.com/project/activating_sustainability_for_better_food_security_in_malaysia#!/