At Kebun Kota, we believe enterprises and individuals that embrace and practice the UN Sustainable Development Goals are not only integral to socioeconomic reforms, but an urgent call-to-action at a time more imminent than ever.
Kebun Kota was once part of a large family-owned quarry supplying vast quantities of granite in the 70's.
In 2010, owner of InterGranite, Dr Mukhlis Chua and family began repurposing the depleted quarry following a newfound passion for aquaponics – a sustainable, closed-loop food production system that combines traditional aquaculture with hydroponics in a symbiotic environment.
Kebun Kota was then officially established in May 2012 as a spin-off enterprise of Intergranite, with a focus on innovation in the field of agriculture and in preserving our water-energy nexus. This five-hectare urban perma-aquaculture farm is located at Kuantan, Pahang, amid the hustle of the largest city in the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
As our experience grew with implementing aquaponics, the prospects of a circular economy became evident.
In practice, an aquaponic system basically uses aquaculture waste (commonly from fish) as a source of nutrition to grow plants. Nitrogen, in the form of ammonia – found with abundance in aquaculture effluent – is microbially broken down into nitrite and eventually nitrate that is readily usable by plants for growth. In return, the root systems act as biological filters, through which the plants’ uptake of a broad range of minerals and micronutrients subsequently reduced the solid content of water flowing back into the system. This allows aquaponic practitioners like us to save tremendous amounts of water and virtually rid ourselves from the need for external nutrient supply.
Still, our world today largely relies on large-scale monoculture farming that limits mainstream cultivation techniques to the widespread and commonplace usage of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and antibiotics. Apart from putting consumers’ health and the environment’s resilience at risk, unsustainable production patterns and increasing monopolization have gradually broken our global food system. Here’s how Paul Myers, cofounder of Farm Urban puts it during a TED talk in Liverpool:
"So a fish was caught 50 miles off the north coast of Scotland, has had its head cut off and its guts ripped out; been sailed all the way to China – filleted, frozen into a block – then shipped to South Korea; bought and sold a few times, and then put on another ship and sailed back to the UK, until it arrives and is sold to you as Atlantic cod."
But no one knows this stuff, Paul added.
THE PARADIGM SHIFT IS HOWEVER INEVITABLE.
Obviously, our current take-make-dispose extractive industrial model is now an aging backbone to our global economy – spanning across red ocean markets centered on profit maximization and resource competition. Fortunately as we come closer to the next half of this century, human innovation and technological breakthroughs have brought about infrastructural revolutions, exposing more populations across the globe to worldly information, and liberating access to clean energy and the free market. Fueled by rising cost of living and our increasingly universal concern for the planet’s wellbeing, sharing has become a necessity, and an integral part of our modern human experience.
NATURE'S LESSON ON ECONOMICS
Coined by David Holmgren and Bill Mollison in 1978, permaculture is a resembling analogy to a circular economy that thrives on the principle of sharing.
Just as different species of crops optimize resource usage and growth through symbiotic relationships in the case of permaculture, in business multilateral stakeholders are rewarded through constructive partnerships involving tech sharing, skill transfer, crowdsourcing, and equity financing, among other revenues. After all, in a true circular economy, less is always more.
Good Agriculture Practice
We are honored to have received the MyGAP (Malaysia Good Agricultural Practices; Aquaculture Sector) certification for two consecutive times since 2015, from the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and Department of Fisheries Malaysia. GAP here refers to a “resource management system in agricultural production which is sustainable and follows good practices… to increase productivity of quality and safe food, taking into account the conservation of the environment.”
Walking the talk: the 17 SDGs of the 2030 Agenda
Together with our partners and project stakeholders, we are able to participate in 12 out of 17 sustainable goals.