If you do not eat your landscape, the landscape will disappear. — Chris Parry
Driving along Malaysian highways, it often pains me to see the gradual destruction of our landscape. Vast green spaces which once stretched for miles has reduced to nothing but orange soil. Forests with towering trees that once loomed over the valley, many of which I don’t know by name, will eventually disappear and our long drives back to our hometowns will soon be replaced by commercial concrete landscape, palm oil plantations. Flora which once grew wild and free will soon be replanted as mere roadside decorations, structured and without emotion. I often wonder in years time what would become of our green heritage.
In fact, we often harp about preserving our local heritage. We instilled in our youth the importance of remembering one’s roots, yet the roots of our landscapes are deemed secondary and underrated, uprooted and neglected. Lest we forget the role it has played in our heritage and culture, where else can we get the beautiful blue of our nasi kerabu? What inspires the designs of our beautiful batiks? What is the main source of the rattan furniture? Where does the sweet pineapple jam on our tarts come from? And what is Malaysian culture without the durian season?
At IP Kreatif 2017, I had the pleasure of experiencing my first Green Market organised by Johor Green, a movement which aspires to cultivate and inspire sustainable living by introducing the Johorean community to its local farmers, artisanal bakers, handmade goods, workshops and demonstrations. From homemade ginger beer and tempeh, pineapple juice from the recent pineapple harvest, coffee from our region, to vegetables from the farms of the vendors. It was inspiring and refreshing to witness the community work towards a more eco-friendly and sustainable friendly Johor Bahru.
Johor Green is part of a social enterprise known as Jogreen Enterprise, founded by Johor resident Chris Parry. It’s a green movement entity that focuses on cultivating, educating and nurturing the community on Green lifestyle.
The first Green Market launched in Oct 22, 2011 and was deemed as the first of its kind in this region. The launch of Green Market Johor Bahru helped thrust independent farmers, artisans, and the handmade economy into the limelight.
Jogreen has since evolved into a social enterprise to help inspire and ingrain green values in the community through workshops and events. These include talks in schools, garden tours and workshops. They support and collaborate with the growing eco-conscious community keen on driving sustainable awareness by encouraging fresh ideas and new modes of instruction in hopes of sparking a social movement and further develop the green economy.
If you do not eat your landscape, the landscape will disappear.
— Chris Parry
Johor Green’s efforts have resulted in a partnership with developers in Medini, Iskandar Puteri to develop two public spaces under the Medini Green Parks banner. This gave rise to the Heritage Forest and Edible Park, both designed and curated by Chris Parry to educate the community on current alternatives to sustainable living as well as teach the public about our ecological heritage.
Supporting sustainable living doesn’t necessarily mean rushing home and starting your own edible garden. Jogreen advocates support for local farmers and those who strive towards a more sustainable Malaysia — elements crucial to the preservation of our green heritage.
This article was first published on Hulablu on 12 October 2017. The original has been edited and is republished with permission from the author. Read more about Jogreen Enterprise initiatives here and for information about upcoming Green Market events with Iskandar Puteri on their Facebook page.