Kg Baru farm seeks funds, volunteers to thrive

Noel Achariam

Laman Ulaman Kampung Baru, an urban farm in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, has not been thriving since the Covid-19 pandemic. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Kamal Ariffin, June 5, 2023.

LAMAN Ulaman Kampung Baru, an urban farm in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, is struggling to recover since the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The garden’s project leader Isfahani Suki told The Malaysian Insight after resuming farming in March last year they were short on funds and volunteers to help grow vegetables and fruits for the B40 income group. 

Isfahani said the main aim of their 0.5ha land was growing food for the needy and freely distributing it to them. 

“Whatever crops we grow, all is given to the soup kitchens, B40 group, refugees, and the surrounding community.”

She said in 2019, the land was provided rent-free by the Malay Agricultural Settlement in Kampung Baru.

“In September 2019, we started planting vegetables and fruits here – chillies, brinjals, spinach, okra, corn, long beans, and others. 

“We had about 20 volunteers coming in to help out every Sunday from 8am to 11.30am. We had help to grow and distribute our collection to the B40.

“But that only lasted for seven months and we had to close down when the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020.”

Isfahani said in March last year they came back to farm the land but lacked resources. 

“Our operating costs are about RM3,500 to RM4,000 per month. This is to pay workers and buy seedlings, compost, and other materials needed. 

“We also need someone to be here daily to monitor and ensure everything is kept properly and someone to look after the garden.

“Currently, we are surviving because of the generosity of the Rotary Club Kampung Baru members, family, and friends.”

Laman Ulaman Kampung Baru’s project leader Isfahani Suki bemoans the farm’s lack of funds and volunteers to help grow produce for the needy and B40 income group. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Kamal Ariffin, June 5, 2023.

The Rotarian former assistant governor also said the garden was now seeking assistance in any form to upgrade the area to grow more produce.

“Any form of assistance – be it funds or volunteers – is very much needed.

“We know people are also struggling, so we don’t want to ask for much. Could we get corporate sponsors? 

“Currently we have about one or two Rotarians coming to help.

“We need volunteers who are like-minded to help the needy.”

Isfahani added that they hoped to turn the area into a community garden. 

She said to date, Kebun-Kebun Bangsar (KKB), another urban farm in the city, had been helping them out. 

KKB co-founder Ng Sek San confirmed this. 

“In April, they (Laman Ulaman) came to our kebun to tap into our expertise. 

“So, we went over with our volunteers to assist them on how to operate the farm. 

“They also asked to see how the area could be designed. We will be going back again to see how we can help.”

The KKB farm project, which started in 2016, was a collaboration among TNB, Kuala Lumpur City Hall, and the Land and Mines Office. 

They were given three parcels of land totalling 3.2ha and are actively working on the 1.01ha that make up the flowers, fruits, and vegetable gardens. There is also a bee and dragonfly area.

Isfahani said those who are interested in volunteering can come over to the garden located at Lot 1850, Lorong Raja Muda Musa 3, Kampung Baru Kuala Lumpur. 

She said they will be there every Sunday from 8am to 12 noon. – June 5, 2023.

Architect Ng Sek San says Kebun-Kebun Bangsar, a community garden he co-founded, is currently assisting Laman Ulaman Kampung Baru with operations. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, June 5, 2023.

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