IPOH, Aug 10 — It will be a Merdeka celebration that housewife SH Chin will not forget.
The 73-year-old’s small patch of vegetable plot in front of her house in Pasir Pinji has received the Perak state government’s recognition.
The state now encourages others to follow Chin’s footsteps to work on empty lands around their house.
Chin said she started working on the empty land about five years ago.
“At that time, weeds were overgrown and created health problems for the community.”
“I then took it upon myself to work on the land and planted vegetables,” she said.
Today, Chin’s modest farm has chilli, Chinese broccoli, ladies fingers and winged beans.
“Sometimes when the supply is more, I will share it with my neighbours,” said Chin, who uses organic fertilisers.
Chin said the landowner, who lives at Taman Cempaka, was aware she was working on his land.
“But he did not complain as I am helping to keep the cleanliness of his land,” she said, adding that before she started working on the land, the owner used to be slapped with compounds from Ipoh City Council for failing to upkeep the land.
Tending to the land came naturally for Chin as she grew up in a family of farmers.
“When I was young, I would help my parents on their farm but I stopped after I got married.”
“I decided to dabble in farming again as I have more time now since my grandchildren have all grown up,” she said, adding that she attends to her vegetables twice daily.
Chin was given a hoe and fertilisers by the Ipoh City Council to spur her on.
Earlier, state Housing, Local Government and Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Nolee Ashilin Mohammed Radzi said the state wants to expand the Community Garden programme to all districts to help locals reduce the cost of living through gardening.
She said those interested can obtain more information from their respective local authorities in identifying potential vacant land to be cultivated under the programme.
“If they find vacant land in their area, they can refer to their local authority to find out its status. If there is no ownership and the council does not object, they can then work on it.”
Nolee Ashilin stressed that produce from the Community Garden is not for commercial use but by local communities.
She was speaking to reporters after launching the Pinji Zone Merdeka Gotong-royong programme and Community Garden at the Pasir Pinji Rela Centre on Sunday.
The event, organised by Ipoh City Council, was also attended by mayor Datuk Rumaizi Baharin and 200 individuals representing non-governmental organisations and the local community.