Guiding, Mentoring and Showing by Example
If it would take the opportunity to turn what is usually a light and celebratory anniversary into an educational forum, one can imagine how seriously CETDEM took its role as teachers.
Ever keen to enlighten and disseminate information, it would continue to connect with the public in a multitude of ways. There were the press conferences, talks, demonstrations and seminars on organic farming and related activities such as composting. Indeed, CETDEM had become the de facto organic farming teacher for the nation, especially when it came to the local communities in Petaling Jaya. With its Organic Farming Community Centre set up in 2007, even more activities could be held for the PJ community. This could not have been done without the generous gift from Charles Tan and his wife Pook Li Yoon, who allowed CETDEM to turn their corner lot house in Section 19 into a centre for the urban community.
It is a place where like-minded people and farmers, food producers, gardeners and consumers can share experiences and exchange information. There are creepers like bitter gourd, cucumbers, four-cornered beans and other edible vegetables and fruits in the garden. The centre’s kitchen is also a hub for people who want to learn about ‘organic slow food’ and there have been numerous baking and cooking sessions organised there.
In 2009, CETDEM and the Petaling Jaya City Council organised a Hari Organik on Aug 1 at the nearby Section 19/22 field. It was a resounding success, with visitors coming to learn about organic goods and methods, and buying products that were environmentally-friendly. Members of the public also had hands-on lessons
about composting kitchen waste and eco-liquid enzyme, for example, and had dialogues with farmers, retailers and NGOs about farming.
During 2006–2010, the organisation also produced several interactive CDs to better educate the public, such as the CD on Sustainable Energy Usage under the ABC Project. CETDEM also came up with the bi-annual newsletter Green Nest for its farmers’ group under the Organic Farming Project.
There was no doubt that CETDEM’s experience and know-how in organic farming was a recognised and established fact by now, and organic farming project coordinator Siew continued to be invited by farmers as well as government bodies to share her knowledge.
The Jawatankuasa Khas Alam Sekitar under the Sarawak Ministry of Environment & Public Health, for example, invited her to demonstrate the recycling of domestic waste into compost to the people of Kampung Tabuan Melayu in Kuching.
Together with ministry staff, she also visited other farms and learned about their methods and marketing plans. Their work also inspired many other farmers to start their own community organic farms.
During these years the organisation had many of its exciting projects revolving around energy efficiency and their pride and joy — its new showcase house, the Demonstration & Documentation Centre (DDC).