Taking care of nature gives you better food. That's the sound message of Mr. David, owner of Ladybird Organic Farm in Broga. Here's what we learned from him.
Love nature, care for it.
It's no surprise that the more knowledgeable we become about food, the more we want to choose what's best for us. Hence the growing concerns on sustainable farming and animal husbandry. Ideally we want foods that are not only good for us, but also doesn't do harm to the environment it was grown in. Ladybird Organic Farm in Broga is one such place where that philosophy has taken hold.
Ladybird Organic Farm was founded about 16 years ago. At the time the owner, Mr. David, became concerned about the foods people ate, particularly vegetables. Mr. David became displeased at the notion of farming-for-profit because it was harmful not just to the environment, but to us!
The softly spoken and kindly Mr. David
"When you put all sorts of chemicals during farming, it will effect people when we eat it." Mr. David said. "It is because all these un-natural chemicals that we get sick very easily. It harms our body."
According to Mr. David, we have to love nature and care for it. Only when we care and love nature wil we be able to reap the seeds of our harvest (literally) in the best way possible. This is why one of the goals of organic farming is to minimize damage done to the environment.
Grow younglings, grow!
The concept is simple: if we put in bad things into the food we grow, then we'll take it in our bodies when we eat. So in organic farming, things are kept as natural as possible. In that way, when we eat organically grown produce we are only taking in the good stuff.
And this is the good stuff.
Mr. David also said proper produce farming requires time so the plants can grow and develop properly. When this happens, the plants are healthier and yield more nutrients, as well as tasting better. A lot of commercially grown produce are given growth enhancers and artificial additives so they grow bigger and faster to keep up with demand. As a result, the produce isn't given enough time to develop its nutrients properly before being sold.
"Everything from nature is good when we know how to care for it," Mr. David continued. "We can't change nature, or force it to suit our needs. It is us that needs to suit nature. After all, we can't grow a mango tree and expect to pluck papayas from it, right?"
The operation at Ladybird Organic Farm is at its essence, a simple one. They plant seeds, and care for its growth, and then they harvest it. They still use some measure of fertilizers, but it's all naturally sourced.
An okra plant
The farm even does their own composting, where they take the un-used scraps of plants and ferment it to become fertilizers for the next crop. In a big tiled basin, they keep earthworms to further naturally enhance the fertility of the soil there.
Squirmy, but they make the soil better.
The young vegetables are all planted by hand by a team of dedicated workers.
Hand planting and lots of TLC
At the moment Ladybird Organic Farm plants about 30 different kinds of vegetables and several fruits. The vegetables range from run of the mill kangkung (which grows wild anyway), spinach, lettuce, okra and gourds to purple tapioca shoots and various varieties of mustard. Papaya, durian and mango trees are skattered throughout as well.
Education is also high on the list of priorities for the farm. Mr. David said that it is very important to educate the young generation on how food is grown. This is why he also organizes and welcomes school trips to his farm. The earlier children are exposed to proper eating and healthy eating, the more likely it is they will incorporate it in their lives as they grow up. To make these trips fun, the farm also has a mini zoo with rabbits and geese.
Cute rabbits for the kids!
As an added bonus, Ladybird Organic Farm also does vegetable deliveries to whoever wants it in the Klang Valley. Each week, they deliver a box of vegetables to their customers. In the box is a variety of 7-8 vegetables.
Sometimes they even add in extras for free. It's all in the name of promoting healthy eating. You can, of course, drop by the farm and buy it in situ. As a matter of fact, you can even pick and choose the vegetables and have it cooked at their in house restaurant. All vegetarian, of course.
"In the end, it's very simple," said Mr. David. "If we want to be healthy, we need to eat healthy. And to eat healthy, we must take care of nature. Love and care for nature. It will only bring you good things."