The locavore movement has spurred an increased demand for local ingredients – and sustainable farms are popping up all over the country to meet it
“Locavore” has become somewhat of a buzzword in the world of conscious dining — but what exactly is it? By definition, a locavore is someone who chooses to consume food produced within a distance of fewer than 150 kilometres, and often made artisanally.
The trend, which grew out of San Francisco in the early 2000s, has now made its way to Malaysia’s shores, in the wake of a greater appetite for responsible food consumption and dining habits. In 2018, Dewakan experimented with a seasonal locavore menu, while trendy Kota Kinabalu eatery OITOM boasts a menu solely made from locally-sourced Sabah ingredients.
Get to know the local players championing the movement: these are the community farms in Malaysia that are not only supplying and producing fresh, locally-grown produce for all your favourite restaurants or home cooking fun, but also offering an urban farm experience that makes for a welcome change of scenery from the humdrum of the city.
Based in Petaling Jaya, a 30-minute drive from KL, Cultiveat is all about sustainable precision farming in conditions that take care of both the farms and the crops, thanks to its policy of not using harmful pesticides. The eco-farm delivers fresh vegetables to KL, all grown using sustainable farming methods, like rainwater and roof panels which regulate temperature and water levels, resulting in healthy produce made with virtually zero waste.
Lot 12863, Jalan Kapar, Batu 8 1/2, Kampung Perepat, Klang, Selangor
2. Kebun-Kebun Bangsar
In KL’s suburban neighbourhood of Bangsar, Kebun-Kebun Bangsar has repurposed a disused lot of land, turning it into a vibrant volunteer-run community farm. At this eight-acre green haven, the produce is not sold but rather, donated to soup kitchens and orphanages. Besides visiting the farm, you can opt to volunteer or attend their weekend gotong royong (communal activity) over the weekends.
Lorong Bukit Pantai, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur
3. Feed Our Loved Ones
Johor’s Feed Our Loved Ones is a family-run, community-supported farm where customers can subscribe to receive 24 weeks of fresh vegetables. The farm, which is based in Ban Foo, has made its mission to feed the community with fresh, power-packed organic vegetables. Weekend tours include practical lessons on farming techniques — a great family activity with the kids.
Ulu Tiram, Johor
4. A Little Farm on the Hill
A Little Farm on the Hill is the ultimate farm retreat. Besides growing its own organic produce which it supplies to some of Malaysia’s most decorated restaurants like Dewakan, it also boasts its own farm-to-table restaurant and other activities like a gardening workshop and more. Tucked away in the hills of Janda Baik only 45-minutes away from KL, it has all the makings for a perfect weekend escape away from the city.
Lot 161 Tanarimba Janda Baik., Persiaran Enderong, Bentong, Pahang
This story originally appeared in the January 2020 issue of Going Places magazine.