With the global lockdown food security has become a big issue around the world, even in Malaysia. Over here, vulnerable groups such as refugees and stranded migrant workers have no means of income and are really suffering.
Thankfully, I am at Urban Hijau (UH for short) a one-acre urban farm and Permaculture Training Centre that is helping with the feeding of marginalised People in Malaysia now and in the long term with Permaculture.
Under the lockdown here, I have not stepped off the site for the past 6 weeks. But I can eat healthily from the farm, harvesting from 150+ species of vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices. True, I do get some supplies like milk and yoghurt, but even if I didn’t, I wouldn’t starve.
Compare that with a vulnerable urban household, who have to shop for food but can’t work to get the cash they need under this lockdown.
So UH has come up with an ingenious plan to help marginalised people in Malaysia, both short and long term.
1. Supply lock-down food assistance from the farm during and after Ramadan
2. Give them training in sustainable gardening techniques once the lockdown ends
3. Upgrade growing systems at UH for better working models which we can replicate to establish livelihoods for people we’ve trained in the future
One of the growing systems used here at UH is Aquaponics. Put simply that means growing veggies in water fertilised by fish manure, which also cleans the water for the fish, so everybody’s a winner! We want to upgrade the system but need to add some equipment.
For this we need to raise some funds. BUT what we pledge to do is donate the same amount of money we raise, as food, to people in need right now.
We want to harvest two thirds of our fish and donate them to refugee centres and orphanages this Ramadan! Down the line, UH will keep donating more food to the refugees too from the improved output of fresh fish and veggies.
What’s more, after this lock-down, UH will give training to those refugees in sustainable growing, so they can make compost at home and plant container gardens to grow veggies, herbs and spices for fresh healthy food all the time.
Then, even further down the line, we want to help them set up growing systems like ours, at their own projects, so they can turn the skills they learn from UH into livelihoods and stay food secure even if another crisis comes along.
They used to say: “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for life.” At Urban Hijau we say “Give and man a fish, teach him how to do urban farming AND feed him and his family for life, insha-Allah!”
You can support this initiative through our LaunchGood Page: https://www.launchgood.com/project/activating_sustainability_for_better_food_security_in_malaysia#!/ May Allah bless your Ramadan!