Garden Gym

Congratulations! This Entry has been selected as a finalist.

Garden Gym: We build edible gardens for urban poor

Klang Valley , MalaysiaKuala Lumpur , Malaysia
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

This is a volunteer program to build edible gardens for urban poor communities. Volunteers gain gardening skills and workout when they participate in weekend builds. Communities gain edible garden infrastructure overnight which provide daily physical activity, food security and social space.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

our city had pockets of edible gardens that could provide food security to urbanites.
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

i. Living in the boarders of the city, urban poor communities living in low cost flats lack supplementary income, access to good nutrition, exercise and social space. ii. Middle class communities lack purposeful volunteering opportunities to share skills, time, manpower and resources. iii. City council requires facilitators for community building and project management.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The Garden Gym provides project management services to the local City Council to engage urban poor communities in developing a sustainable long term project for urban wellbeing by building edible garden. The project provides purposeful volunteer opportunities within different community areas around the city which require low commitment for the busy individual. Urban poor communities gain local council approved outdoor space near their low cost flats. The value of these outdoor spaces as edible gardens improves quality of life as it provides a social space, an opportunity for food security and daily exercise. We aspire for these community edible gardens to inspire other spin off projects focused on environmental education.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

In our pilot project phase over 12 months we have managed to establish 1 community based edible garden. We worked in our suburb We successfully; i. engaged 28 volunteers over 1,000 hours over 12 months ii. worked with 10 community members in total iii. grow 45 varieties of vegetables and herbs iv. produce up to 240kg of vegetables and herbs for communal consumption in each garden

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The Garden Gym project has conducted 6 gardening workshops training up to 40 gardening enthusiast which have formed a gardening collective. This collective have shared seeds, cutting, tips and support Garden Gym sessions as coordinators.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

At present we are; i. Developing processes and manuals to allow for interested individuals to be trained to execute the Garden Gym program in their chosen community areas. This may extend the project to 3 new communities a year. ii. As a Corporate Social Responsibility project for corporate community engagement programs. iii. Working with 2 Teach for Malaysia fellows in 2015 who are based in schools to develop science edible gardens to extend the classroom outdoors.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

At present we have a crowd funded for tools, consumable materials (soil, petrol for the grass cutter etc), rain water harvesting barrels and infrastructure materials. In future projects we are seeking local council funding, charging a minimum participation fee and work with partners for materials. We plan to sell gardening manuals, conduct gardening workshops and sell composting worms for the financial sustainability on a project basis.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

In Malaysia; Permaculture collectives are very active in providing edible gardens for charity homes for children and elderly folk. In Singapore & Australia Community groups have edible garden movements either encouraged by local horticulture societies, gardening enthusiasts, local council and driven by restaurants interested in fresh local produce.

Founding Story

Ly Mun and I are both outdoor enthusiasts and used to spend our holidays traveling locally. We were both working for large multinational companies and found our colleagues apathy towards the environment was shocking. As we evaluated our unexamined assumptions and observed the mental models our colleagues were prescribing to we realized this was a common scenario. It took us 8 months to decide to set up Ecocentric Transitions, our focus; Environmental Education and Sustainable Living. We believe skill building individuals through experiential engagements is effective in raising environmental empathy. We started out developing local environmental content to assist Malaysians transition towards a sustainable lifestyle.


Loo Ly Mun co founder, Appropriate Technologist E&E engineer and current designer, builder and researcher Full time Freelancers & volunteers Pik Wah Leong, Final year psychology student Volunteer recruitment coordinator Project based Huda A-Sedi, Architecture major, Teach For Malaysia fellow Project based illustrator We plan to have a full time coordinator in the future and a few trained Garden Gym hosts/trainers
About You
About You
First Name

Firdaus Nisha

Last Name

Muhammad Faizal

About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

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Organization Country

, Kuala Lumpur

Country where this project is creating social impact

, Klang Valley

Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Individuals, Customers.

Awards: What awards or honors has the project received?

Ecocentric Transitions has received the following awards;

Ford conservation & environmental Grants :2014
To establish an educational and productive worm farm RM 9,750

Entrepreneurs for Good Wave 2 : 2014
To develop our social enterprise, produce education modules and enhance services RM 29,000

Where have you learnt about the competition?

we learnt of this competition from the Arthur Guinness Project coordinators in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Tell us about your partnerships:

Project & content; British Council Malaysia, The Malaysian Green Building Confederation, George Town Festival, MyHarapan Youth Foundation and LA21 KL

Corporate Social Responsibility; Maybank, DHL Malaysia

Complimentary education modules & activity; International School of KL, WWF Malaysia Green Schools initiative and Methodist College KL.

Challenges: What challenges might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

We have learnt from past projects;
Community Gardens
i. The procedures to engage with local council and resident groups in turning non productive marginal land into edible gardens
ii. We have developed edible garden teaching modules to skill build and empower community members
iii. Providing coop business model coaching

Volunteer support
Garden Gym activities to gain external assistance (funding and manpower) in building edible gardens for the underprivileged community

Industry based support
To gain credibility of each project and build community confidence and exposure