Monday, 5 October 2015

Helping Hands at the TTDI Edible Project

Urban edible gardening has been growing exponentially in popularity in the last 5-10 years, less for economic/subsistence reasons, and more as a quiet, peaceful way of protesting the high levels of pesticides and chemical fertilisers in conventional vegetable farming, and the hectoring methods of big agricultural companies.

Besides, gardening is calming and therapeutic, and it is always beneficial to convert wasteland and unused land into farms that can feed humans, animals and insects, and provide shade and other ecosystem services such as pollination opportunities for insects, habitats and food sources for animals, birds and insects and improvement to air, water and soil quality.

Also, community gardens and natural spaces bring people and communities together. People get to have face-to-face conversations and share their knowledge about and experience on plants and insects and germination and cultivation methods.

The TTDI Edible Project is a network of volunteers and social media users that was established in December 2012. The community edible garden is located next to the TTDI Community Centre tennis courts. I have been an enthusiastic follower on Facebook, and when one of its co-founders appealed for volunteers to help clear its overgrown garden in August this year, I organised a Visit and Volunteer Session for the Green Living Special Interest Group on 26th September, since Green Living places a lot of emphasis on doing hands-on work for the betterment of our communities. I brought along my citronella mosquito repellent spray and the gardening gloves that we have been using for the past 2-3 beach and jungle cleanups. Those things do last, all they need is a good washing.

Around a dozen Malaysian Nature Society members showed up to help, and we were joined by 18 young members of the Royal Rangers, a Christian scout movement.

Volunteers hard at work clearing weeds.


Green Living subcommittee member Jack is a shining example of a diligent volunteer who is all action, zero talk.

Annieson clearing weeds from the Brazilian spinach patch.

Liza and me -- Green Living subcommittee members, represent!

Brazilian spinach (Alternanthera sissoo)
Ulam raja (Cosmos caudatus), one of my favourite salad vegetables.
A lonely drumstick bean (Moringa oleifera)
Terung pipit (Solanum torvum) -- perfect for curries!
Koon Hup found a sprouted tennis ball! So that's where tennis balls come from!

A group photo for posterity. Spot the sprouted tennis ball in the photo!

Green Living sponsored a waste-free breakfast for everyone (bananas, chiffon cake, banana cake, soy milk, juice) but I was unable to take photos as my hands were full and I was busy pouring drinks for everyone.

Many thanks to everyone for showing up and helping out despite the haze. For more information on the TTDI Edible Project, please visit their website and Facebook page. For more information on Green Living, please visit our official blog, our Facebook group and the Malaysian Nature Society website.

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