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Welcome to the farm on the roof of a mall

The Fresh Growcer (Rooftop Farm @ 1Utama) initiative by Emil Jihad and Tony Yong allows customers to choose their own vegetables which are all grown in an aquaponics system.

Djohan Shahrin
2 minute read
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Emil Jihad stands at the entrance of Fresh Growcer (Rooftop Farm @ 1Utama) in Petaling Jaya, the first aquaponics farm in the country to be started in a shopping mall.
Emil Jihad stands at the entrance of Fresh Growcer (Rooftop Farm @ 1Utama) in Petaling Jaya, the first aquaponics farm in the country to be started in a shopping mall.
Each plant is carefully placed in its own compartment under the system in which the waste produced by fish supplies the nutrients for the plants to grow hydroponically.
The plants take about two to four weeks to fully mature. Those that are big enough are moved to the next stage of the system, and replaced in their compartments by other, smaller plants.
Emil checks the roots of a plant to ensure that the water flow is running properly.
Fresh Growcer also sells red tilapia fish – an integral part of the aquaponics system.
Pots of sweet basil stand in a row, waiting to be inspected and bought by customers.
A worker uses a net to catch one of the tilapia bred in a pond filled with the water that trickles down from the plants above.
The condition of the fish bears testament to the natural, pesticide-free technique used to grow the vegetables on this unusual farm.
The workers keep a sharp eye on the plants, to make sure that the vegetables grow well and are free from any sign of disease.
A worker transfers a couple of plants to a new spot, to make way for the planting of more vegetables.
These fresh salad greens are ready to be transferred to the section for fully grown vegetables.
A worker rinses the leaves of a plant before replacing them in their designated section.
The strong sunlight on the roof of the mall is perfect for the greenhouse conditions that these plants need.
A young woman makes her way past rows of fresh vegetables, all of which are grown without any earth at all.
A worker explains the system to a customer who holds a red basket containing the vegetables she has chosen.
The novel idea of a farm on the roof of a mall draws many visitors eager to take home some of the fresh greens.
Even bees come to visit, attracted by the organic nature of the plants.
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