Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Yoko Farm

One fine Sunday, crawled out of bed at 5:30 am to participated in a home-farming workshop to learn about compost making and to learn to appreciate and communicate with nature. 
The 40 odd participants, young and old, made it to the small farm with eager enthusiasm. It was refreshingly pleasant to get up and out at that hour. The air so cool and fresh it took the lungs a while to acclimatize. 

Feel the soil...

Communicate with it...

Pondering on the preciousness of our soil...

Now, what do we do with these soiled hands?

Then we were told... 'and now, please rub your face with your palms.'

What?! Do we really have to do that??

2. Tune in with nature

He was communicating intensely with these lovely bunch of kai choi and all I could think of was how good this would be as ham choi (salted veg) ;-p

3. Be healthy in body 

A most energetic Sharon led the workout.

4. A lesson on how to eat 
Close eyes again. Feel the skin of banana, inhale the fragrant of the fruit and slowly peel it. 
When taken the first mouthful, chew slowly and  let the sweetness of the fruit lingers in the mouth for a while, resist the urge to gulp down. Taste the food with all your senses, appreciate and give thanks.

5. The real breakfast

Bread pudding with apple, raisins, nuts, carrot(?), milk and eggs - a power-packed meal.

We, Malaysians, will always have to have our national breakfast, nasi lemak!
Thanks to TSH, we had a very sumptuous breakfast with tuna sandwich, whole-meal bread with gaya + cashew nuts spread (yumz) beside the nasi lemak and pudding.

After breakfast, the participants were divided into groups and were assigned different tasks.
Before proceeding with the tasks we had a few speakers to share with us various topic :

TSH let us into a secret about this wonderful tree of life called the Drumstick tree. Anyone heard of this tree before? Well, now I have and know that it can be eaten, full of vitamins and best of all, easily grown.   

This is an experiment done by an earlier workshop. They were given two containers with compost and were given some seeds to plant in them. Both were looked after in exactly the same condition except for one difference - one of the containers of growing plants was talked to with kind, encouraging words whilst the other being talked to with very harsh and negative words. The results of the experiment showed very clearly why it is so important for us to use encouraging words all the time especially with our growing children!

6. Compost Making
Instructions on composting given to this group by Robert.

The banana skins collected to be used for the compost too.  

Recipe for compost making:
A thick layer of cut grass or any plant materials followed by a thin layer of chicken dung then a sprinkling of rice bran.

Water generously. 
Second layer of grass goes in and take note of the few young girls waiting anxiously at the right hand corner.

This is what they were waiting for, the highlight of this excises, to dance on top of the compost heap. This is to compact the heap so that more layers can be added on. 

When the compacted pile reach up to a height of about 4 feet ( about 1 1/2 meter), cover it up with plastic sheet and leave for 2 weeks to decompose.  
It will look like this after a month or so...

It needs to be turn over every 2-4 weeks as this form of composting requires oxygen to work. In 3 months, it will turn to black peaty soil which will be ready to use for the plants and veggies. 

7. Harvesting
These lucky few were assigned to harvest the Kai Choi. See what they managed to reap...

He got what he was eyeing.

This uncle was harvesting some wild raspberries with a trail of eager beavers holding up teacups waiting to collect from him.

With the harvesting going on these few lasses were busy preparing lunch (main masak masak).

8. Lunch!!

Mrs. Loh did make ham choi with the kai choi and cook them with sardine (a first for me). Unlikely combination but so, so delicious.

Alma cooked these leaves from the tree of life cooked with pumpkin and santan fragrant with lemongrass. Delicious.

Eggplants from the farm cooked with spicy sambal udang. A favorite from Margaret. 

Jenny's tasty soy sauce chicken was sold out. 

Another delicious home-cooked dish, chick-peas Indian style also from Margaret. 
Really don't mind waking up so early on a Sunday morning with so many yummy fares awaiting ;-p.  
A big 'thank you' from the bottom of our well-pampered stomach to all the ladies who had to wake up even earlier to prepare all these for us. 

In between sessions, I sneaked away to capture these lovelies and crawlies in their natural habitat which we rudely intruded for a day to learn.


Moodie Foodie said...

Oh, u should take me along next time u go on these food adventures. I really miss home now :(

The squids do come in small little cans but they're a tad expensive for what u get. Nonetheless, a good treat that goes with practically anything - salad, rice, bread :D

b said...

Hello! First time for me to drop a line. Great blog!

thanks for sharing this interesting post and the wonderful pictures!

May I know if the workshop is open to the public? how can I find out more? I did a search but couldn't find contacts of yoko farms in Sabah on the Internet.

A friend told me about a 2 week workshop she attended in Chiang Mai on permaculture - (sustainable living/habitat design/food production/self sufficiency) (http://www.panyaproject.org/spip.php?rubrique10)

But this yoko farm workshop you highlighted is much doable and nearer as it's in Sabah! :) thanks!

a feast, everyday said...

moodie, sure if u r in Sabab.

I think i've seen them b4 but i don't know if they r stuffed...r they?

Hi b thanks 4 dropping by.

I don't know whether d ws is open to individual public but i know they did conduct ws for groups of DPKK and AEC members.
If u r interested let me know ur e-mail n i'll try 2 get the info 4 u.

b said...

thanks so much! I'll drop my email soon.

Moodie Foodie said...

Jo: I will be going back at the end of this month. Can't wait to meet Terri for the first time. :D

Yeah, they are stuffed with funny little tube things just like urs! Kinda 'geli' but oh so so tasty!

DonDon said...

B.E.A-utiful pictures!! keep up the good work!

frank said...

Those veggies look like the were lovingly talked to with a bull horn, they're gigantic.

The composting was very interesting and and i read that part over and over - holy crap :p
(pun intended)

Its awesome when people are having fun, though I'd really be hard pressed to wake up at 5.00am for anything.


a feast, everyday said...

b, my email is thesarios@gmail.com

moodie, great, maybe we could meet up too.

don, tq. Starr, do post some vietnamese dishes for us.

frank, but i rmber u got up pretty early for some porky soup... know wat u mean but once up and out, a breath of d crisp morning air do wake one up very quickly.

frank said...

pork soup, I remember that. It was worth it. I remember it well :-)

I am planning a short trip up to KK again (sometime in July) and would dearly like to drop by to see you and your family.

I am trying to see if my boss Saff wants to also come along. If pork has another fan, it would be her, as daisyfused can attest.


Precious Pea said...

So much fun! I wonder if they have this kind of activities in KL.

s o n y a 妮 said...

yeeeeee... i miss KK!
oh btw, i like the 2nd last shot of the red bug ;)

& its so apt that your blog is called 'thedroolteam' - cos i srsly salivate when i drop by esp when i've not had lunch!
& great way to promote yoko agriculture! thats one step closer to saving the world!

a feast, everyday said...

pp, i don't know but am sure there is one.
This w/s really helped to create an awareness of our environment, to preserve and to restore mother nature to its originally pure state.

sonya, see all the familiar faces?
Be home for this coming holiday?

Anonymous said...

I want to make a movie for YouTube about Yoko Farming using your pictures and experiences, but editing them somewhat. I have a person I want to guide to the Primary Course and I think letting her see a movie about Yoko Farming would be great. I'd just send her to your blog, but she is a "professional person" and having the "droolfool" title might be a turn-off.

I'm a professor and a 30-year member. You can e-mail me at snakao@emporia.edu. May I have permission to do this? I'd like to put your name in the credits and just say edited by me. What do you think? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Good work.. keep it up... from Yoko Agriculture group Adelaide..