不识福乐真面目,只因身在此园中 Growing forward, Feed Our Loved Ones (FOLO) from the ground up!

[编辑 Editor 吕大人   英译 Translator 刘大人   摄影 Photographer 黄大人   资料 Sub-editor 郑大人]

跟着地图上所显示的地址在新山金芭住宅区绕了几圈,此处错落有致的房子颇多,大人心想该不会是迷路了吧?住宅区里怎会藏着有机菜园呢?原来大人“不识福乐真面目,只缘身在此园中” 啊~ 眼前满是荆棘的石头路正是通往 FOLO 的唯一通道 (由于大型罗里多取此道,身型娇小的车子们务必小心前进),大人遵循内心幻想,一分钟后 “柳暗花明又一村” 的景象成真了!

If the directions on our GPS is anything to go by, all may be forgiven for wondering if we have lost our “Waze” around the affluent neighbourhood at Taman Bukit Kempas, in search of an organic farm that was supposed to be within reach, but seems out of place and certainly out of sight. If all that lies ahead now is a T-junction with an unpaved road that appears to lead nowhere, would you still venture ahead?

In just one minute, we were glad we did, and what an unexpected discovery…

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20153月成军的 FOLO福乐 (Feed Our Loved Ones 的缩写) 是个由6户家庭所组成的社区有机菜园,位处金芭住宅区的顶峰,看官们可否想像当清晨大地露出鱼肚白的那一刻,若能在此享受芬多精的洗礼,是件多愉悦的事儿啊~ 眼前所见的再循环木制建筑 《巧坊》实为 FOLO福乐 的多元活动交流中心,可供教学访问团体或会员在此进行群组活动或举办课程,大人获知部分癌症患者也会结伴到此询问社区里的医生有关食疗的资料。

Imagine waking up to the bracing scent of nature, enjoying a dose of “forest bathing” – an elusive luxury for many in this progressive modern urban environment, with its dense living conditions, industrial-grade fumes, and honking horns? Except that this remote possibility is now happening in Kempas if you bother to look closer to home and “follow the yellow brick road”.

Enter FOLO, which stands for Feed Our Loved Ones, possibly the next best thing to phytoncide therapy which we can practically enjoy for free on this farm in Taman Bukit Kempas. Founded in March 2015 and run by six families on a mission to feed the world nutritionally power packed, bio-nutrient rich vegetables. Coupled this with a wild dream to have an events space for student group activities, learning sessions, host members, maybe an area beautiful enough to be a pop-up cafe when needed, FOLO Cafe (Qiao-Fang) was made possible and named after Mrs Ng, who stepped in along with other generous donors to push it to completion. Constructed mainly from recycled wood, this multi-purpose events space cum café is now home to multiple cooking lessons, private workshops and regular medical consultations by resident Dr Lemuel Ng.

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除了金芭这占地半英亩的有机菜园外,FOLO福乐 另也在乌鲁地南附近的万孚新村开辟堆肥场。这个周六领着大人们四处参观的 Jason 也是其中一个负责伙伴,热情开朗的他一一介绍了在场的各位,闲聊了一阵子突然有大发现!原来…他们是某大人在新加坡求学时的华中学弟~ 从参观菜园变成聚会重逢的确让人始料不及啊 😀  能与 FOLO福乐 的开荒者蔡奇瑞 (下图左二) 再次见面真让大人觉得缘分这回事真的好奇妙!本是工程师与医生的他们,如今各自在此全职或兼职分工献力、分担风险,积极推动有机菜园的发展,大人真的打从心底佩服。

Apart from this 0.5-acre space in Kempas, which is the only “demo” farm open to public at the moment, FOLO has set up their composting facility on a 6-acre farm at Ban Foo, Ulu Tiram (which we have made plans to visit). We were warmly greeted by Jason and introduced to the rest of their founding members (another two engineer, a finance graduate turned businessman and a doctor, all in their 30s) and close mates he had hung out with in Melbourne while studying there. It was then we made another startling discovery – both Jason and Will Chua were the long-lost juniors of one of our chief writers back in The Chinese High School (now Hwa Chong Institution) days. Who could have expected a pre-arranged farm tour is now turning into an unexpected high school reunion LOL?

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当初这片半英亩的空地原为奇瑞已过世的父亲生前留下,父亲来不及完成的心愿,辗转终由儿子圆梦了。随着奇瑞与其他陆续回流到新山的朋友们决定开辟这片废置已久的空地,FOLO福乐 终在去年正式成军。而人称师父的 Ah Lek, 可是这里的灵魂人物啊!拥有丰富种植有机蔬菜经验的他,两年前被这几位年轻人的诚意打动而一拍即合,社区有机菜园就此萌芽。Ah Lek 师父曾向他们提及台湾法裔加拿大籍的现代有机农夫 Pierre Loisel (中文名为刘力学) 如何利用被一般人视为污秽之物的厨余变成有机堆肥,及食用经过农耕后的自家有机蔬菜让身患乳癌的刘力学太太痊愈的事迹。奇瑞与伙伴们的家人之前曾受疾病之苦,在获知厨余能成为有机堆肥后,他们决定亲自飞台拜访这位台湾有机农夫,刘力学的无私分享让他们获益匪浅。返马后,FOLO福乐团队决定孤注一掷,位于万孚新村的堆肥场因而诞生。

Chua’s late father had left him an acre of land in Kempas, and it all fell into place when the group met Ah Lek, a 47-year-old organic farmer who was struggling with scarce land and having to deal with middlemen who forced his prices down, came on board, forging a dream partnership. It was then when Ah Lek Sifu let them into the story of 72-year-old Pierre Loisel, who has become a hero of sorts in Taiwan for turning food waste into compost to grow organic vegetables, which he used to feed and heal his cancer-stricken wife. Having experienced first hand and noticed some of their family members and friends having all sorts of medical ailments, which they believed had something to do with the food they were all eating, the guys wasted no time in making a trip to Taiwan to meet the French-Canadian in person, who generously shared his knowledge and expertise. Once they started getting the hang of it, the guys pumped in a further RM400,000 into their very own composting facility in a 6-acre farm at Ban Foo, Ulu Tiram.

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由于有机菜园只在逢周六上午11点至中午3点才对外开放,因此大人到访时,正巧可见从新山各处迢遥而至的福乐会员们拿着一箱箱贴着家庭名字的“宝箱”上车。这几十户慧眼识菜园的家庭每半年缴付马币RM2,000/新币S$1,200 (马新两地各别定价),每周风雨无阻地到此领取满满一箱的新鲜有机蔬菜,会员们无法自行选择蔬菜及数量,得视 FOLO福乐 当周的收成而定,目前等着加入会员的候选名单落落长,看来看官们还是先向工作人员索取表格才是上策啊!

若是丰收季节,每周到访的有缘人还能当场选购新鲜且在市场上较为罕见的蔬菜噢!每包蔬菜的售价为RM10, 机不可失,大人当场扫购了不少!要知道有机菜园仅占全马1%而已!

In case you are still wondering, the farm is open every Saturday from 10am to 3pm for members and the public. For first-time visitors who want the full introduction, FOLLOW Jason on these scheduled farm tours at 11.30am and 2pm. Alternatively, feel free to come hang out, walk around, drink tea, or lend them your extra hands to do some weeding during these hours. According to Tang (Chua’s good friend and fellow farmer in the venture), FOLO is currently supplying organic vegetables for over 40 “families, friends or fools” weekly, who pay RM2,000 (or S$1,200) for six months’ supply of the vegetables. Rain or shine, members get a box with their veggies, depending on the harvest each week.

Even if you fancy paying RM80 weekly for your regular supply of organic leafy greens, you will have to join a further 50 people on their lengthening waiting list, as they haven’t been able to grow their vegetables fast enough – even our strong “alumnus” connection is not sufficient to cut the queue. Fret not, however, as loose packings at RM10 per pack is available in times of good harvest, and we were fortunate to grab our hands on some rare breeds, considering that only 1% of all farms throughout Malaysia are truly 100% organic. Some of us are now contemplating to add our names to the waiting list hmmm…

草本植物有机种植 100% Organic Farming

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可别小看这半英亩的土地,这里的有机植物种类还真不少。团队目前在万孚与龟咯也陆续购有土地,放眼未来能让更多有心种植有机蔬菜的农夫参与。

Small in size but not in variety, the tiny plot is currently home to with over 30 different types of “super food”, and growing, with more community participation anticipated in their Ban Foo and Kukup farm lands soon.

堆肥 Compost

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正在专心堆肥的 Handsome 😀

看官们是否好奇这社区农场里的厨余从何而来?原来是奇瑞与另一名伙伴平日清早驾驶罗里到新山市 Renaissance Hotel (万丽酒店) 与数个较小型的收集处运载厨余回到农场制作堆肥。由一开始到朋友的餐厅收集小量厨余,至现今从 Renaissance Hotel 每日可回收约 500-800 公斤的厨余,可见企业有效的环保助力能为永续有机农耕带来莫大的影响。大型企业原需另付大笔费用清理厨余,如今不仅能节省善后成本更能为本地有机农场献上一份心力,可谓双赢。

Meet Handsome, a committed farmer by nature and by name, fully focused on growing big, beautiful veggies and making “black gold” (producing compost) for the microgreens.

Starting with collecting food waste from friends with restaurants for a start, and the list now includes Brew Orchestra, La Strada, Shun-Fa Bah Kut Teh, a fishmonger in Permas and surprise… an international 5-star hotel! Each morning, Chua or another driver would turn up in a lorry to take away 500kg to 800kg of food waste from Hotel Renaissance JB alone, leaving behind the same number of clean bins for the next day’s collection. How’s that for an enterprising way of reducing food waste: A hotel and an organic farm working together to turn kitchen waste into compost, while a food foundation gets surplus food for the needy?

微绿植 Microgreens

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这些看似豆芽般的微绿植可是目前炙手可热的草本植物啊!随着美食老饕对于高营养食材的需求与要求越来越严苛,成长期与保质期限皆很短的微绿植在餐桌上被寻获的机率也随之增加。可别小看这些“嫩叶”们,其营养价值可是一般蔬菜的4-40倍之多,由于部分微绿植如西兰花、羽衣甘蓝等的抗癌效果显著,因此采用微绿植为食疗方的癌患近年显著增加。

Not to be confused with sprouts, microgreens are young, immature, densely grown seedlings of selected vegetables and herbs. At harvest, ranging from one to three weeks after germination, the microgreens are approximately 1 to 3 inches tall and contain a whopping 4-40 times more phytonutrients found in fully grown vegetables. Research has also shown that certain microgreens such as broccoli and kale are rich in antioxidants for cancer prevention. Win-win indeed (in line with our high school motto) 😉

有机菜园 Organic vegetables

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步下梯级即可看见眼前这片绿景。小时候写作文时常用的 “绿油油” 原来不是虚幻的形容词!  Jason 边走边想考考大人的嗅觉味觉常识,幸好咱大人们当年上京赴考可不是考假的~ 不过种植有机蔬菜可是门大学问,这点大人还是有自知之明的。只会吃菜不会种菜的大人到了今日才知道原来平日所吃的包菜种植期需时3个月,而且处于生长期的包菜叶片都是外露的,好大一株啊~只有在接近成熟时才逐渐卷起成为粒状。大人此刻只能说,城市里的家长们快把小孩带来这儿见识见识吧!

Don’t just know your farmers, know your food too, as we took the descend to where the “action” really is. If you think we were going to have it easy, think again, as Jason put all our combined senses to the test in identifying some of the crops planted! Fortunately, our very own “farmer” led the way in response to all the teasers and trivial, and our teamwork prevailed to pass the tests with glowing colours! Having said that, we highly recommend families with children to put their hands and brains to work here, away from the comfort of their air-conditioned pads or iPads for once. They might now know for instance: a cabbage takes an average of 3 months to grow, with the head consists of loosely wrapped leaves during the early stages of growth, and they only become more compact as the head matures. Gotcha?

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上图左边的青蔬就是羽衣甘蓝噢!右边的则是看官们较为熟悉的韭果。最令大人惊讶的就是右下的酸模了,「你们摘些来试试看。」Jason 在一旁怂恿大人。半信半疑半推半就之下,大人真的就要成为神农尝百草的现代版了!「哇,这菜淋了柠檬汁吗?跟平常吃的沙拉一样味道!怎么会这样?」看官们不信吗?周六快到  FOLO福乐 找答案!那最后一张图应该难不倒大伙儿吧?大人同样也摘了新鲜的羊角豆现场试吃,「天啊!也太脆了吧!超新鲜啊!」边走边摘,体内被新鲜有机蔬菜滋养的大人,此刻感觉重生啊!

For a who’s who in the garden, the top 2 selections are probably no strangers to most. The kale (top left) remains one of the healthiest vegetables around, while the chives (top right) proving more than just a garnish, and awaken every dish they touch if you know what we mean. The bottom left had all of us stumped, and we swore the leaves that we plucked that went directly into our tastebuds smack of lemon dressing, unlike any raw salad greens we have tasted before. The final picture is a no-brainer really, with the only thought in our minds being super juicy and refreshing crunchy (to every bite)!

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福乐液态肥料 FOLO Liquid Fertiliser

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FOLO福乐也有售卖液态肥料噢!每瓶RM30, 使用时记得以1:200的水分稀释。大人立马火速买了一瓶,因为大人府上的植物早已呈“秋天”状态,再不施些这植物界里的神仙水,后果堪虞。

Help your plants grow big and strong with this farm-made liquid fertiliser that can work “miracles” like SK-II (or equivalent). At RM30 for a 1-litre bottle, the concentrate is to be mixed with water, with a 1:200 ratio. Which means, YES! Your 1-litre bottle is actually 200-litre of fertiliser (gulp)! Of course, this went straight into our shopping basket.

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锵锵!这就是大人从 FOLO福乐 买回来的有机菜噢!中午从农场回来后就开伙了~ 真是一刻也不愿辜负蔬菜们的牺牲啊!如图所示,这是一包 FOLO福乐 有机蔬菜的份量,由于天然无农药,所以下锅前只需使用清水稍微洗净,后再快速翻炒,真实简单营养的美味啊 😀

From plants to a plate, we certainly lived up to FOLO‘s philosophy by having our “catch” for lunch immediately on the same afternoon. As the veggies are 100% organic and pesticide free, all it took was a quick rinse and stir-fried for a serving of tasty and nutritious dish on our table, simple isn’t it?

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打道回府之前,来张合照吧!两位戴着帽子的有为青年 😀 左边身穿褐色上衣的就是奇瑞,右边的小红帽就是 Jason 啦~ 而前方居中的两位就是 FOLO福乐 团队里的师父 Ah Lek 与师母!谢谢各位的热情招待,大人们真的好喜欢这片世外“菜园”啊!

大人在此呼吁,看官们对于每日吃进肚子的食物还是得谨慎挑选啊!同时也希望更多企业团体能在厨余的处理上更显积极,减缓环境污染的同时也能协助更多有机农耕制作堆肥!今天大人真正体验到 “身在福乐也知福” 啊!

Kudos to the team at FOLO, who have chosen microbes and micro-organisms over material gains, give it all up and return to home – to get into organic farming, working tirelessly to promote sustainable agriculture and advance community wellness and livelihoods across Johor Bahru. How can we possibly not leave a print (actually photo) with this group of unsung heroes, especially when you add a high school reunion after over two decades into the mix? The young-at-hearts with caps on are Chua (left in brown tee) and Jason (right with red cap), while we insisted that their Sifu Ah Lek and his wife took center stage!

Thank you for a “fruitful” morning and an insightful tour, leaving us feeling intelligent and inspired all of a sudden. For everything wellness and organic, be sure to check out this wellness sanctuary that is definitely worth your minutes and mileage, and FOLLOW them on Facebook for their latest happenings. Here’s to many more years ahead of growing together, growing forward…

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FOLO Organic Farm

Address: Lot 3583, Jalan Bukit Kempas 4/4, Skudai Johor Bahru 81200
Open Hours: Every Saturday (11am – 3pm)
Contact: +6012-7721229 / +6012-3558828 / +6012-7995673 / +65 91055617.
Email: feedourlovedones@gmail.com
Website: www.folofarms.com
Admission: 1.5 Hour / RM10

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MAGistrate 杂志大人

Corporate Trainer & Speaker

3 Comments
    1. Hi, thanks for your feedback and observation. The rate stipulated is not a direct currency conversion, but rather the fixed rate set by the farmers. You may wish to contact them for further details at +6012-7721229 / +6012-3558828 / +6012-7995673 / +65 91055617 or Email: feedourlovedones@gmail.com

      Cheers!

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