Urban Farming Course (Farming system included)
How To Grow Your Own Food Without A Garden & Spending Much Time Maintaining It

25 Jun 2022

CityFarm Press Release

[Astro AEC] 企业大联盟:农业变了样,发掘未来趋势与机会

[Astro AEC] 企业大联盟:农业变了样,发掘未来趋势与机会

CityFarm Story: VIDEO LINK


农业变了样,发掘未来趋势与机会 | 资讯分享 1

农业变了样,发掘未来趋势与机会 | 资讯分享 2

  • Choon Beng Looi
[MELODY FM] 城市耕种, 绿化环境的革命计划!

[MELODY FM] 城市耕种, 绿化环境的革命计划!

MELODY|城市耕种, 绿化环境的革命计划!| City Farm创办人,Jayden郭廷成
Interview Date: 5-10-2021


Podcast: https://melody.my/podcast/podcast-category/melody-experts-talk

  • Choon Beng Looi
[The Star] Farming solutions to help city folk grow fresh produce for their own consumption

[The Star] Farming solutions to help city folk grow fresh produce for their own consumption

Visitors checking out the various urban farming techniques at Central i-City mall.

WITH the rising trend of urban farming amid the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more city folk have started to plant leafy greens at home.

Despite the cramped and compact spaces common among high-rise residences, urban farming seems to fit in just well.

Urban farming industry players believe that it is the next big thing for them.

Cityfarm Sdn Bhd co-founder Jayden Koay said the urban farming system — be it hydroponics or aquaponics — allowed city dwellers to plant vegetables in small spaces at home.

“Urbanisation is a global issue and when a city is overpopulated, food security can be a problem to its residents.

“While traditional farming often takes place in rural areas, the distance from these farms to the city can contribute to the loss of nutrients in the vegetables.

“The food degrades over long distances and prices would be high after factoring in the logistics of the vegetables.

“The solution to this is to bring the farm to the city, ” he said during the Urban Farm Festival in Central i-City shopping centre.

Koay showing how hydroponic  farming works at the urban  farming festival.Koay showing how hydroponic farming works at the urban farming festival.

Established in 2016, Cityfarm provides indoor and outdoor farming solutions, including vertical farming and hydroponics system for its customers.

Hydroponics refers to growing plants or crops without soil and feeding the plants with mineral nutrient solutions.

In an aquaponic system, waste from fish reared underneath the plants are converted into fertiliser for the plants. The plants then consume the nitrates and maintain the system in a balance.

Koay said those involved in urban farming either started it as a hobby or intended to expand it into a business.

“Some of them want it to be part of a healthy routine and plant the vegetables for their own consumption.

“This is good for city dwellers, especially those with limited space because they get their own urban farming sets.

“Those who want to turn it into a business should decide what they want to grow.

“There are four types of edible plants that can be grown using hydroponics, such as leafy greens, herbs, fruiting plants and root vegetables.

“Then they can delve into their preferred type of farming suitable for the crops, ” he said.

Koay also felt that urban farms would eventually turn into conventional farming.

“Even big farms in Cameron Highlands and Genting Highlands are slowly relying on modern farming methods without using soil, ” he said.

Aquaponics Hardware Asia (AHA) Sdn Bhd aquaponics consultant Yoon Wong said urban farming was a proven system that ensured food safety while reducing carbon footprint.

“Customers can enjoy the freshest of vegetables and safe products without the use of pesticides.

“As the question of food security arises during this MCO (movement control order), people are more aware of what they put on their plates, ” she said.

The company that now offers aquaponic systems is coming up with a mini aquaponics set for city folk.

“However, urban farming is still a niche market. There are many people who want to try out the system but are afraid they cannot handle it.

“We are happy to educate the masses at this Urban Farm festival, ” she added.

Sim’s company helps others build their own urban farms.Sim’s company helps others build their own urban farms.

Sim Chee Kong, the director of Urban Roots Agritech Sdn Bhd, an urban farm management consultant, said individuals could do it as a hobby first before deciding to commercialise.

“Our companies provide business consultation to those who are in the urban farming business.

“While commercial farming still produces the bulk of it, urban farming also complements the segment, ” he said.

“Urban farming has gained a lot of traction over the past three years and the MCO has accelerated it.

“With the technology available, it helps bring the cost down in the niche market of community-based urban farming.

“Currently, we are in talks with five farmers across 29ha of land to combine and create a hub to help farmers grow and sell vegetables commercially.

“If the trend continues, we are contemplating exporting to other countries, ” he said.

Source: https://www.thestar.com.my/metro/metro-news/2021/05/26/farming-solutions-to-help-city-folk-grow-fresh-produce-for-their-own-consumption

  • Johanson Chew
[MY DAAI 频道] 水耕法更省水?居家种菜随摘随吃

[MY DAAI 频道] 水耕法更省水?居家种菜随摘随吃

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[BFM] Farming As an Alternative Career For Youth

Farming As an Alternative Career For Youth
Felda has introduced the "From the City to Felda" programme, to provide a source of income for youths through rabbit breeding and vegetable farming. Are young Malaysians inclined to choose this career path? We speak to Looi Choon Beng for his thoughts.
Produced by: Adeline Choong, Sara Kok
Presented by: Lee Chwi Lynn

[The Star] 4 engineers believe vertical farming offers answer to food sustainability

The CityFarm Malaysia team: (from left) Niew Ley Koon, Looi Choon Beng, Koay, Low Cheng Yang and (centre) Chew Jo Han. Photos: CityFarm Malaysia

When Chew Jo Han decided to set up a small hydroponic system in his office because his fashion start-up was not doing well, his friends Jayden Koay, Looi Choon Beng and Low Cheng Yang joked that, if nothing else, he could survive on the vegetables grown!

But, jokes aside, Koay, Looi and Low were struck by how the plants were grown using artificial light.

With his interest piqued, Koay soon started filling his own balcony at home with hydroponic plants and even converted his bathtub into a germination area for seedlings.

“I started my own system, and my (now business) partners also started to do the same, at home or in their offices, ” said Koay, 32.

They then discovered a common problem – the industry was still in its infancy and materials, equipment like hydroponic fertilisers had to be bought from countries like Japan, Singapore, China and Taiwan. And, they were expensive.

“We realised that if we needed these materials, more urban farmers in the country would also need them. So, over a mamak session one day, we decided to start up a company to address this issue, ” he said.

CityFarm Malaysia was established in 2016. Within six months, they reported impressive sales. In 2017, they were invited to join a United Nations programme held in Kuala Lumpur, where they gained a bigger perspective on urban farming, and specifically, vertical farming.

Vertical farming refers to a large scale, mostly indoor, type of farming where produce is grown vertically in layers of racks.Vertical farming refers to a large scale, mostly indoor, type of farming where produce is grown vertically in layers of racks.

“We realised we should have a bigger vision of not only solving industry problems but food security (the state of having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food) issues as well.”

“We wanted to play a bigger role and that’s when we decided to start a consultancy services to plant factories in Malaysia, to get the required technology in and to prepare ourselves for the next 30 years, ” said Koay.

In vertical farming, plants like vegetables, herbs and fruits are grown in a highly-controlled environment.In vertical farming, plants like vegetables, herbs and fruits are grown in a highly-controlled environment.Vertical farming refers to large scale, mostly indoor, system where crops are grown vertically in layers of racks.

The United Nations estimates that the world population will reach over 9 billion by 2050, out of which two-thirds will be living in urban areas.

A study recently published in the journal Bioscience estimates that overall food production needs to be increased by 25-70% between now and 2050. However, at present, over 80% of arable land suitable for agriculture are already being used.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) revealed that one-third of all food produced for human consumption, valued at US$1tril (RM4.2tril), is lost or wasted each year.

That’s where vertical farming – touted as one of the possible answers to food sustainability – comes in.

Employing hydroponics, aeroponics or hybrid systems, this method involves growing plants like vegetables, herbs and fruits in a highly-controlled environment where temperature, humidity, light, air, wind and water levels are strictly monitored.

The benefits are many, ranging from higher yield – experts estimate that a 30-storey farm could feed 50,000 people for an entire year – to no wastage from spoilage due to unfavourable weather. This way of farming also reduces water consumption by up to 70% compared to traditional farming, prevents food-borne illnesses such as E. coli, and reduces the need for pesticides or herbicides.

Seasonal produce can also be harvested all year round since there is no dependence on climate. Produce that reach consumers are also fresher as they do not need to travel from out-of-city farms.

Verticals farms located in cities are also good for the environment in terms of reducing carbon footprint from transportation costs.

However, there are downsides to vertical farming – high start-up costs, constant monitoring required, high power consumption from constant use artificial lights (although energy-efficient LED light technology is used), and power outage problems.

And staple crops like rice and wheat have yet to come under large scale vertical farming projects.

However, the fact remains that more and more vertical farms have been cropping up all over the world, Malaysia included.

The YTL Green Office urban farming project by CityFarm.The YTL Green Office urban farming project by CityFarm.

To date, CityFarm’s portfolio of customers include those from the commercial, research, education and retail sectors, to individuals. Clients come from Shah Alam, Melaka and Johor Baru to as far as Kuching and Sibu.

A trend that is here to stay“Hydroponic systems – which is basically planting using water – have been around for a while in villages as well as modern households. Before, it’s more like a hobby and trend. But now, hydroponics is part of urban farming, ” said Koay.

Personally, he said he would rather use the term ‘soil-less planting’ as opposed to hydroponics.

“The definition of hydroponics today is different from before, when it was considered hydroponics as long as you used water and not soil. Today, it’s more of a hybrid. In general, as long as water-soluble fertilisers are used, it is considered a hydroponic system.

“What we have is deep water culture (which is done in rectangle boxes), a type of hydroponics. With this system, we enjoy the benefits of using water but also face the challenges that come with it, ” he explained.

All types of leafy vegetables can be grown indoors using soil-less planting methods.All types of leafy vegetables can be grown indoors using soil-less planting methods.

These include issues related to micro-organisms, air quality, temperature control, concentration of nutrients, PH level and so on.

Hence, there is a need to train more urban farmers when it comes to water-based planting, Koay shared.

“They need to know what is inside the water and what are the parts per million (ppm) measurements. For example, tap water has 70-80ppm of chlorine in Malaysia, which is still acceptable to use. Another thing is the PH levels in the water. For example, you need PH6.5 for lettuce and there also needs to be adequate nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium), ” he explained, adding that temperature, air quality and wind factor also need to be considered when it comes to indoor farming.

At the moment, three out of four main vegetable groups can be planted indoors – leafy greens, herbs and fruiting plants. Root plants can be cultivated indoors with the aeroponic system, something which Koay and his team will look at in the future.

While there is the perception that hydroponic vegetables can be ‘tasteless’ or ‘watery’, Koay explained that it all boils down to the nutrients added to the plants.

“The taste depends on the nutrients we give it. If we give the same nutrients as in soil planting, it will taste the same, ” he claimed.

The Kuching commercial indoor farm project, set up in 2017, spans 5,000sq ft (464sq m) and has a 12,000 plant capacity.The Kuching commercial indoor farm project, set up in 2017, spans 5,000sq ft (464sq m) and has a 12,000 plant capacity.

The future of indoor farming

For now, Malaysia still has enough farmable land on the outskirts, but Koay and his team are looking way ahead.

“Urban farming is a solution to the food security issue and will have a future as long as urban populations continue to grow, which means more people to feed and less farmable land, ” he said.

In the next 10 years, Koay and his team aim to be the backbone of the industry where they will play a supportive role to customers.

“Secondly, we also need to educate people about how food is produced, that it’s not just soil, fertiliser and sunshine but there are other systems. Today, we are even able to manipulate the nutrients in vegetables, for example, lower the potassium content in lettuce.

“By 2050, we are confident that the industry will mature, thus lowering costs of indoor farming. We also hope that people will be more equipped with the knowledge of urban farming, and that it might be part of the syllabus in our education system too.

“The future must include indoor farming. If people are living vertically, our food production will need to grow vertically as well, ” he emphasised.

Source: https://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/living/2020/03/06/4-engineers-believe-vertical-farming-offers-answer-to-food-sustainability