Fresh Food Bank
with Daily Bread Food Bank

As the world finds ways to mitigate the consequences of COVID-19, the marginalized and indigent communities are struggling with food and nutrition insecurity in the midst of the pandemic, being unable to compete with the rest of society for access to nutritious food that is affordable. 

 

Meanwhile in Petaling Jaya, local NGO Daily Bread Food Bank has teamed up with social enterprise PWD Smart Farmability in making fresh, organic, nutritious, and live, unrefrigerated vegetables for the poor, establishing that nutritious food should not be a luxury, but a basic human right. 

 

This is made possible through a groundbreaking innovation by Dr. Billy Tang, paraplegic farmer and founder of PWD Smart Farmability. Even in his wheelchair, he has designed the world’s first Organic Vegetable Terrarium that is self-watering in an enclosed container, whereby the vegetables are grown on nutrient dense soil with advanced soil biology, and the vegetables can regenerate for the next 3 to 12 months.

 

This innovation enables the families to harvest healthy food out of the terrarium without being a farmer themselves. 

 

“With the sudden halt of the global food chain, a global urgency to decentralize food production, bringing food production as close to homes as possible, is more crucial than ever,” explains Dr. Billy Tang, “Moreover, this pandemic is a direct war between a virus and our body’s immune system. This puts families who can’t afford to eat healthily the most at-risk of contracting diseases and viruses, especially people with disabilities.” 

 

Angie Ng, the director of Daily Bread Food Bank, has expressed that this Organic Vegetable Terrarium will make significant impact in the health of poor families. The food bank currently subsidizes essential food to over 200 families, numerous children and elderly homes, and drug rehabilitation centers, feeding at least 1000 people of mixed communities every month. 

 

However, donations of meat and vegetables are very rare due to their perishable shelf-life. “With this terrarium, our beneficiaries now have a healthier option previously unavailable to them,” says Angie Ng.

 

In the initiative of Scaling Up Nutrition, a global movement to end malnutrition in all its forms recognised by the United Nations, the team has been running adoption programs with the Organic Vegetable Terrarium to encourage individuals and corporations alike to adopt terrariums to benefit families of low food-budget. 

 

“People with disabilities, senior citizens, and children are still the most at-risk of nutrient deficiency and related illnesses. Around the world, more than 70% of the world’s human populations die from Non-Communicable diseases,” explains Dr. Billy Tang, “as the global food chain is threatened by unethical commercial farming methods, we need like-minded organisations to restore both human & planetary health.

 

To date, over 3500 Organic Vegetable Terrariums have been adopted by corporations, organisations, and individuals alike in Malaysia. Over 650 boxes are now feeding individuals of all economic backgrounds. PWD Smart Farmability is open to all organisations who want to make a positive and sustainable change through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Creating Shared Value (CSV), or Economic Sustainability Governance (ESG).

 

Together with Daily Bread Foodbank, we have been able to make a complete balanced diet consisting of carbohydrates, proteins, fibres, vegetables, and fruits available to our beneficiaries.

 

Under this joint project, we have been able to make fresh, nutritious, and organic food available to hardcore poor groups such as orang asli fishermen tribes and several Myanmar refugee groups who were unable to perform odd jobs to make ends meet. These families also have newborns that were birthed during the pandemic, making the need more dire in the midst of COVID-19.

 

Check out our past Facebook posts detailing the progress of our project with Daily Bread Food Bank as follows:

Distributing 134 fishes with Rotary Club of Pantai Valley
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Distributing 134 fishes with Rotary Club of Pantai Valley

Last week, a total of 134 heads of fresh organic tilapias have gone to a number of needy households, children homes, senior homes, and the blind society. These fishes are adopted by the generous leaders of Intestars, Elevat8, and Rotary Club of Pantai Valley, District 3300. This adoption program has once again proven to us all that people can come together in #CreatingSharedValue, doing their part in balancing social foundations through humanitarian works. We've also received this #FrequentlyAskedQuestion : "Why are you giving the poor a fish, instead of teaching them how to fish?" - And we would like to take this opportunity to enlighten our friends and family. Referring to #AbrahamMaslow #HierarchyOfNeeds - a motivational theory in psychology comprising a five-tier model of human needs, where by the first four levels are often referred to as deficiency needs. #PhysiologicalNeeds is the foundation of all needs, which comprises of biological requirements for human survival, e.g. air, food, drink, shelter, clothing, warmth, sex, sleep. If these needs are not satisfied the human body cannot function optimally. Only when these needs are fulfilled, can people move up the tier into #SafetyNeeds - and job security falls under the second tier. With #COVID19 forcing 121 million more people around the world to go #hungry, we urge our followers to consider this; that food and nutrition security comes first, everything else is secondary. "I was hungry, and you fed me." Please continue to stay tuned with us for more updated on our #AdoptAFish program - and help us spread the word. Your adoption will help us achieve #CircularEconomy #DisabilityInclusivity #NutritionSecurity #FoodSecurity #HealthyDiet for the B40 and below.
32 Terrariums to 3 Orang Asli Villages in Klang - journey with Daily Bread Food Bank
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32 Terrariums to 3 Orang Asli Villages in Klang - journey with Daily Bread Food Bank

For the past 2 weeks, we were preoccupied with the production and deployment of 32 units of our #OrganicVegetableTerrarium adopted by Goodnite Malaysia. Together with Vincent and Ham from Daily Bread Food Bank, we went down to 3 separate villages around Port Klang where the fishermen orang asli were currently residing in. Vincent has been supporting the villagers in Pulau Indah with dry food supplies from the food bank for the past 8 years. "For many years, we have tried to utilize the land to grow vegetables," Vincent says, "unfortunately, the soil is unsuitable for agriculture - anything that we grow on this ground cannot survive past juvenile stage." "The villagers here also do not have the skills or education to farm, their livelihood depends solely on fishing from the sea." Thanks to Inspector Hamdan from our neighbourhood police station in USJ8 - we were granted the permit to travel from PJ to Subang to Klang, and our initiatives of deploying these regenerative terrariums to the needy communities were possible. Situation in Tanjung Harapan & Bagan Haylam: Villagers here have been evacuated several times, but return to the area to rebuild their lives again. Their homes are built right next to a main road along the industrial areas of Port Klang, and there is no land for agriculture activity as the entire place is built on a mangrove swamp. Their only source of financial income is through the sales of fishing bait (called 'pumpun sarang'), and live fish fries and shrimps. Throughout the lockdown, fishing activity is not allowed, and the villagers are unable to travel out to the sea to find food. Any income they earn from sales is equally distributed throughout the village. Situation in Pulau Indah: The salinity of the soil is high as the village is located by the sea. While wild shoots and edible plants such as 'kangkung' and sweet potato leaves can be seen creeping on vacant lots, the villagers there are also not equipped with any basic knowledge on farming, gardening, or even land maintenance - as rubbish are littered just about anywhere in the village. A thorough program must be strategized to take these villagers' literacy to the next level. Meanwhile, our terrarium and the dry foods from food bank is able to sustain them for the time being.
How Are The Terrariums In The 3 Orang Asli Settlements Doing? Let's find out!
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How Are The Terrariums In The 3 Orang Asli Settlements Doing? Let's find out!

Last Sunday on 16th May 2021 - we paid a visit to the 3 Orang Asli settlements in Klang to follow up on the status of their terrariums, which were all sponsored by Goodnite Malaysia. Led by Vincent & Ham Ngap Shui, both volunteers who have been training the Orang Asli's and looking after the needs of their village, we went on to distribute 40 organic tilapia fishes to these families on top of food aid sponsored by our impact partner Daily Bread Food Bank and donated by the public. Volunteers Vincent & Ham have been diligently and consistently coaching each family and recipient of the terrarium on how to manage and troubleshoot their box - every bi-weekly, they will pay a visit to the beneficiaries to ensure that they are doing the right thing and following the proper care instructions. Out of the 32 terrariums deployed to these settlements, we managed to visit 23 of them since it's Hari Raya and some of the recipients have returned to their hometown and were unable to host our visit. Through #RegenerativeAgriculture principles, what we ultimately want to see is a proof-of-concept that #SoilHealth and agriculture can be strong factors in #PovertyAlleviation. Our terrarium serves as an introduction and awareness to soil health & zero-cost regeneration - showcasing to the poor community that you don't need special skills or financial capital to grow your own food. Vegetables can grow from thin air with the help of #NitrogenFixers in healthy soil, and ample sunlight being on the equator - to aid the poor, we don't need technology packages or fertilizer subsidies! As mentioned in our earliest posts - these Orang Asli people rely purely on the sea and fishing activities as a source of income. With the repeated MCO, their economic activities were forced to come to a stop. Vincent & Ham has been working hard to coach them with basic #SelfSufficiency skills so that we can deploy our satellite farm here to further #upskill this community. Watch this video blog on our journey, and discover the wonders of how soil health can #EndHunger among the marginalized communities and save the planet. Like us on Facebook at fb.com/pwdsmartfarmability
Speech by Angie Ng, Director of Daily Bread Food Bank
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Speech by Angie Ng, Director of Daily Bread Food Bank

Our very good friend and impact partner, Angie Ng, Director of Daily Bread Food Bank, expresses hope in making nutritious food sources of vegetables and protein available to her beneficiaries. Transcribed Speech: "Dear ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guest of honours, on behalf of Daily Bread Food Bank, I would like to thank PWD Smart FarmAbility, Dr. Billy Tang and his team for giving us the opportunity to be here today in this auspicious occasion. It is our honour to be selected as one the receiving impact partners to receive 100 units of the world’s first innovation, the Organic Vegetable Terrariums. On behalf of Daily Bread Food Bank, I would like to thank PWD Smart FarmAbility and the impact partners EP Plus Group, Methodist Boys School Alumni class of ‘83, Talam Transform Bhd., and all the generous individuals donors who adopted the terrariums for our beneficiaries. So every month, our food bank, pack– end of the month, we pack food bags with basic necessities. So we use the donations of cash to buy some of the necessities such as rice, cooking oil, potatoes, onions– all the nutritious food– and sugar, and sardine, and dhall– for Indian families, curry as well, and milk, plus other food that is donated to us– we receive a lot of dry food as well–to more than 200 families and plus some of the homes and centers, and some of the marginalised community in various areas. And many of them are Orang Asli in Port Klang, some of the fishermen, especially some of the area that they cant plant a lot of things. And even though they might get some basic things, but it's always not enough, so we're helping a lot of Orang Asli in different regions. We've benefited almost about 2,000 underprivileged every month. So we have always been struggling when it comes to the distribution to the fresh perishable food including vegetables, fruits, and meat. Because the shelf life is so short– it's less than 24 hours. So we're so excited to see the special new innovation of this Organic Vegetable Terrarium by Dr. Billy Tang which will be the revolution for the needy and the Food Bank project we have served. So we agree with Dr. Billy’s statement, that nutritious food should not be a luxury for the underprivileged. So with all that is said and done, I look forward to working together with PWD Smart FarmAbility, with Dr. Billy Tang and his team, as an impact partner in the Fresh Food Bank initiative, in making fresh, organic, nutritious food as well as meaningful jobs accessible to all the groups, including the people with disabilities, recovering drug centres, and many more. Thank you very much."