Rotary Gombak helps Cheshire Home Selangor adopt sustainable farming to improve residents’ quality of life

Cheshire Home Selangor is a non-profit organisation aimed at giving disabled people the opportunities they need to live more independently.

Since its inception in 1963, the Home has created many opportunities for residents by providing services to improve their quality of life. Some of the services offered by the Cheshire Home include residential care, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, counselling, and job coaching for environmental, and exercise physiology trainees.

Cheshire Home and Rotary Club Gombak recently joined hands to bring OrganoponiX Greenhouse into their compound.

This effort combines two key goals: to build a model for sustainable farming that requires little to no human labour, and to develop a model that generates cash, so they can eventually balance the cost of their operations.
The greenhouse is a solar-powered and temperature-controlled watering system that also features a semi-automatic watering cycle and a streamlined fertilisation process.

Its footprint is about 100 square feet, so it may be placed in tight spaces. The insect and rodent population is kept at bay, thanks to the protective netting surrounding it, and the polycarbonate covering.

This system is based on soil, which makes it distinct from those in water.

Instead of deriving nutrients from the chemical medium, the plants get their nutrients straight from the soil. In this manner, the plants can
take in all the micronutrients in the soil.

It uses natural and organic soil derived from waste palm oil and green organic fertiliser, made from treated rubber effluent waste products.

The former comprises natural, vital nutrients and helpful micro-organisms that plants require to promote the formation of healthy and robust root
systems. The latter utilises technology developed by Revoganix Sdn Bhd to synthesise by-products from rubber and palm oil plantations to create an effective, all-natural fertiliser out of these products.

Both are environmentally-friendly and produced entirely in Malaysia.

This unit’s capacity for cultivating small plants can be adjusted to meet individual customers’ specific demands and specifications. One unit can grow a total of 501 plants.

Cheshire Home’s kitchen uses the produce from the unit for cooking. The crop is organic, as no chemicals or pesticides are used in growing these vegetables, making them much healthier than other options.

In addition, organic vegetables are far more nutritious and contribute to the general wellbeing of the residents of Cheshire Home, at minimal cost.

“It is envisaged that in the future, as we scale up the project, we will consider bringing in the differently-abled residents to contribute in some capacity,” said Rotary Club of Gombak president, Guna Ramachandran.

“It brings a sense of inclusivity and participation, to make their life more fulfilling. It also reduces dependency on retail produce and other associated expenses,” he added.

Currently, an economic evaluation is being carried out, in which they are trying to calculate the returns per harvest.

Because of this, the home can move the project forward into the upscaling phase, which will involve installing more units on-site.

The home is able to arrive at reasonable conclusions regarding the project’s expansion to achieve the desired objective, which is a reduction of operational
expenses.

“There is idle land within the premises which can be used for other cost-saving projects,” Guna said. – @Green