Malaysia: Urban farm grows to have live fish, prawns, and restaurants

When Fresh Growcer, a rooftop farm at 1 Utama Shopping Centre (1U), started operating, they had gone viral as a spot for people to pick their own vegetables. Featuring an aquaponic concept, the urban farm had only been operating for a handful of months.

However, recently, the Fresh Growcer brand has gotten a glow-up and is now called Utama Farm. And instead of being on the roof of 1U, it has grown to inhabit a 1.6-acre space next to the mall.

With a background in F&B, Emil and his co-founder Tony Yong collectively had minimal experience in farming. However, driven by a passion for developing an “integrated farming” project that will help to promote awareness of sustainable farming, they soldiered on despite the steep learning curve.

This ultimately led them to pursue pesticide-free, sustainable, and closed-loop farming. “Like most Malaysians, we dream of being able to do something meaningful,” Emil explained. “Some of us don’t find the time, and some of us don’t have access to the required resources to make it happen.”

Having heard that 1U was looking into rooftop farming, the co-founders had pitched their project to them. Fortunately, the landlords shared their mission of promoting sustainability, and they eventually succeeded in becoming tenants. “When it became clear we needed a more integrated offering beyond just growing pesticide-free vegetables to engage the community, the landlord supported us to relocate and expand the project,” Emil elaborated.


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