Community Driven Urban Farm and Biodiversity Garden
Community Driven Urban Farm and Biodiversity Garden
The lack of green space in Kuala Lumpur has led to a loss of biodiversity as well as community space. We intend to address both these issues and create a space that allows for biodiversity to thrive while empowering the urban community to use their ethnobotanical heritage as a way to enrich biodiversity and enhance the sustainability and resilience of their communities.

Buku Jalanan Chow Kit is an NGO that believes in creating healthy environments for youth to develop. This green space is an extension of our current learning centre.

A major focus of this project is to create a ~2500 sq ft rooftop urban farm, biodiversity garden and playground on an existing building within the Chow Kit. This space will be a habitat for urban wildlife, as well as a space for food production and recreation. Guided by urban ecologists and farmers, the community will experiment on how they can introduce biodiversity and urban farms into a rooftop space. They will be experimenting with future possibilities of urban biodiversity while also leveraging on their shared heritage of ethnobotanical and traditional knowledge.

This project will have 5 main actions:
1) Establishing a rooftop garden and play area.
2) Leadership development through biodiversity gardening and urban farming.
3) Field trips to interact with rural and indigenous communities.
4) Ethnobotanical documentation and publication of online resources.
5) Use of the community space for community building activities

We aim to address the problem of biodiversity loss and food security in a holistic manner that involves using the green space as a way of educating, developing and creating sustainable urban communities while exploring how to make our cities more resilient in the climate crisis.

There are four main actions for this project.
1) Establishing a rooftop garden and play area.

The first stage is to create a space on the rooftop of our centre to be used for our regular activities and to activate it into a public space. This is the space which will be planted with various native plants and become habitat for urban wildlife.

This will have 3 main stages: i) Establishing a play area/sports field. This is an important step in gaining the support of the local community since children using the space encourages participation of whole families. ii) Planting edible rooftop garden. This aims to engage the students that attend our school and their mothers, with the support of Eats, Shoots and Roots (ESR) and PopTani. By planting and gardening we can ensure a sustainable supply of edibles for our school lunches and an additional nutritional support for families in the area, as well as explore and experiment with the planting of less commonly used local vegetables and herbs. iii) Enhancing the biodiversity of the site through biodiversity gardening. Once the basic skills of the community have been built up, we can begin to introduce more complex ecosystems to the green space. Working closely with ecologists from the Urban Biodiversity Initiative (UBI), we will allow the community to choose and develop their own plans to enhance the biodiversity of the green space. Due to the risks of Movement Restriction Orders (MCO) and lockdowns, the gardens need to be self sustaining and require minimal human intervention. This will be done using permaculture and regenerative farming techniques.

We will platform other urban farming, permaculture and regenerative agriculture NGOs and social enterprises and use the rooftop garden as a forum for issues dealing with urban biodiversity and green space. This is much like how our education centre acts as a platform for several NGOs to conduct community development and education activities.

2) Leadership development and innovation through urban farming and biodiversity gardening.

Our experience with activating private premises into public space is that it is not sustainable unless the community has a voice and participates in it. We will use the garden areas as a venue and a medium to train local champions to advocate for more sustainable urban environments. There will be two main programs that will cater to the development of community leaders that will eventually manage the space as a skill and resource centre for urban sustainability: 1) Leadership development: this will be a multigenerational leadership program that targets family participation, it will be a time flexible program that will engage parents and children in planting urban farms and biodiversity gardens while developing a sense of responsibility for the space 2) Sustainability Innovation: this will train participants in design thinking approaches to develop sustainability solutions that are suited to the needs and capabilities of the urban poor. In order to further engage the surrounding community, the custodians of the green space will organize several community days as outreach events.

3) Field trips to interact with rural and indigenous communities.

Many of the children that are in our school or attend our classes are not able to enjoy nature due to the restrictiveness of urban poverty. We will arrange visits to forest reserves, permaculture farms and Orang Asli settlements in order for our target group to learn more about natural environments, sustainability and the cultural and agricultural practices of indigenous communities. If these are not possible due to social distancing or movement restrictions, we may conduct smaller scale field trips or online sharing sessions with the target groups.

4) Ethnobotanical documentation and publication of online resources.

Many of the children in our area are first generation migrants to urban areas. Therefore, their families have substantial knowledge on foraging and the use of plants. We will conduct a student-led community mapping and documentation exercise in which our students will interview their families and obtain traditional ethnobotanical knowledge, then work as a group to document and communicate their discoveries through a multimedia approach.

The process of creating the documentation will be a way of passing down this knowledge to the younger generation so it is not lost while also introducing them to sets of tools (digital storytelling, software, video editing) that can complement their education. The documentation will also create accessible information regarding the planting and use of local species for further replication of urban green spaces.

5) Use of the community space for community building activities

To push for further sustainable use of the green space and promote the concept of increasing greenspaces among the stakeholders, we will hold regular community activities utilizing the space. These may include music and cultural performances, culinary workshops or arts and crafts workshops.

Project Snapshot

Persatuan Buku Jalanan Chow Kit
Area Of Work:
Grant Amount:
US$ 30,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
Co-Financing in-Kind:
Project Number:
Currently under execution

Grantee Contact

Ms Siti Rahayu Baharin


No. 54A, Lorong Haji Taib 1, Jalan Sri Amar (22.45 km) 50350 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur , 50350

SGP Country office contact

Ms. Shin Shin, Lee
603-8689 6055
Ms. Nurul Fitrah Mohd Ariffin Marican


Level 10, Menara PJH, No.2, Jalan Tun Abdul Razak, Precinct 2,
Putrajaya, 62100

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