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Bangsar’s little farm of hope

Volunteers helping out at a farm in Bangsar - Photo: Benedict Lopez

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Benedict Lopez discovers a green haven in an urban setting that brings together people of various ethnic groups for a noble common cause.

In a secluded area off the road from Lucky Gardens, Bangsar, to Jalan Pantai Bharu lies a small piece of land, flanked by houses on both sides – a green lung in an urban environment.

Visitors to this place have described it as an out-of-the-ordinary zone for a farm, as this vicinity is mainly noted for the homes of the rich and super-rich in Kuala Lumpur.

A green haven nestled in the midst of modernity

Despite its location just outside the heartland of Kuala Lumpur, this little farm of hope is attracting a steady stream of visitors, especially on Sundays.

The brainchild of this community group project is local architect Ng Sek San, who developed this farm on an eight-acre linear strip of land reserved for Tenaga Nasional’s electricity posts as they trail through Bangsar.

My friends and I visited this little farm on a Sunday morning and observed enthusiastic volunteers with their gardening equipment working on the garden terraces brimming with home-grown ordinary herbal plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables. Chickens, ducks, geese and small sheds add to the charm of the surroundings.

Visitors to the farm are made to feel welcome by Sek San and his volunteers. These dedicated helpers take their jobs seriously and devote their spare time towards the development of this farm.

Parents should encourage their children to spend their time taking part in such wholesome activities instead of wasting their recreational breaks on computer games and other unproductive ways.

Aidah, a volunteer, taps into her area of specialisation by tending the herbal plot, making full use of her knowledge and experience. She is keen to share what she knows with visitors to the farm.

READ MORE:  Bangsar’s ‘banana leaf’ Bala left a legacy of warmth
Aidah hard at work tending to the farm

During my conversation with Aidah, I learnt that some of these herbal plants could be used as alternative medicines for various ailments. It is an ongoing work-in-progress for her, but seeing her commitment, I know she is definitely relishing the time spent on this farm.

The volunteers work with zest and zeal as they slog, carrying heavy planks and timber to erect beds on the terraced areas. One particular section of the terrace is dedicated to the planting of vegetables that will be given to soup kitchens that feed the less fortunate.

Water cascading from the adjacent hills is channelled through a system of canals and drains for use in the farm. An artificial pond has been converted into a water lily pond, and careful attention has been given by the team to ensure excess water in the pond is drained out through a system of concrete pipes.

Fertilisers are made in the farm using compost, and fertile earth is available for sale to the public. It would be good if the amount of fertilisers sold is increased to cater to the demand from visitors. Perhaps more attention could be given towards selling plants and saplings to visitors for their home needs. Poultry on the farm could be increased for the sale of eggs and table birds.

Greening the environment through the planting of trees, shrubs, flowers and other different species of vegetation can enhance the quality of our environment and improve our urban living conditions. Moving towards a green landscape can transform our urban ambience.

READ MORE:  Bangsar’s ‘banana leaf’ Bala left a legacy of warmth
Principles of the farm

An expanse of flora and fauna in any area can generate cleaner air, prevent air pollution, contain climate change and enhance soil structure and ecology. A green eco-system ultimately enhances the quality of life for the people.

Being a Bangsarian for more than 40 years, I am proud that folks here have undertaken such a noble initiative. Their efforts not only help to green the environment but also bond residents of various ethnic groups in a common self-sacrificing cause.

It is a far cry from what some of our politicians are doing these days: espousing inflammatory rhetoric and dividing our people along racial and religious lines.

All photographs by Benedict Lopez

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Benedict Lopez was director of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority in Stockholm and economics counsellor at the Malaysian embassy there in 2010-2014. He covered all five Nordic countries in the course of his work. A pragmatic optimist and now an Aliran member, he believes Malaysia can provide its people with the same benefits and privileges found in the Nordic countries - not a far-fetched dream but one that he hopes will be realised in his lifetime
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