Meet Wee Siong from Malaysia

“I am a professional Wealth Coach and Financial Planner that acts on conserving and sustaining the environment. I hope to add value and influence others on self sustainance.

I was inspired to grow food since I was young as it was fulfilling to be able to do so and furthermore I like gardening and being outdoors and close to nature and create pockets of nature wherever I lived.

I started to go big on growing my own food as I wanted to have a healthier life for myself and my family. Vegetables nowadays are heavily laced with pesticides and all kinds of chemicals that are harmful to our body. I can also contribute to the reduction of carbon footprint. It is also a way to reduce grocery expenses and by saving the money meant for the marketing, I now use the money saved to generate more income by way of investing in certain financial instruments.

I started a community garden in Muar, at city in Malaysia. It is on a piece of unused land, a wasteland actually that is just a strone’s throw distance away from my house. I applied to use this land from the local municipality. It is around 10,000 square feet big.

We grow different varieties of vegetables and also fruit trees like bananas, passion fruit, figs, pineapples, custard apple, mango, coconuts, rambutans, soursops, waxed apples, guavas, jackfruit, squash and pumpkins. The layout is like half of it is a food forest and the other half is for vegetables.

We practice companion planting with different vegetables and flowers like basil, sunflower and zinnias for pest control. As the site is a wasteland where there was no suitable soil to grow vegetables, compost had to be bought initially for the setup of raised beds to plant the vegetables. Now we have compost pits using kitchen and garden waste from the site and also from neighbours. Chop and drop is also practiced to create mulch to revive the soil. We have noticed an increase in earthworm and microbes activity by doing so.

The biggest rewards are definitely getting to eat our own grown food fresh from the garden, high in nutrients and free from pesticides. They taste much better than those commercially grown. I am currently taking a permaculture living course by Milkwood Permaculture and in the future I plan to enrol for a Permaculture Design Certification.

I initiatied this community project and now have the involvement of my immediate community and the harvests are given to neighbours. Any surplus are sold to raise funds for the garden that goes towards purchasing seeds, equipment and gradually building up the infrastructure supporting it. I have given talks in schools, educating students on the how to do composting and its regenerative benefits. My aspiration is to own a land that can I can build a farmstead the grows food and be a learning and education centre for anyone who wants to lead a regenerative lifestyle.”