UCSI Group has launched UCSI Living Lab, an online store that features a wide variety of organic vegetables and meat for Klang Valley consumers.
All organic produce sold is grown at farms owned or operated by UCSI and its partner farms. Living Lab also rares its own fish while organic free-range chicken is sourced from reputable suppliers.
The launch comes on the back of a year-long drive by various UCSI staff and students who tried their hands at permaculture and urban farming with local and international collaborators.
Living Lab strategic advisor Norani Abu Bakar said that the launch was timely as it was a catalyst for change, not only in terms of healthy consumption, but also in the areas of food security, social empowerment and sustainability.
“The idea of Living Lab first came about from the desire to educate the public on healthy lifestyle changes,” she said. “Many vegetables and fruits sold today have been treated with pesticides and herbicides that are toxic.
“The usage of these synthetic chemicals harm our bodies and damage the environment. Organic farming takes us back to the way nature intended our vegetables to be and we champion it because it is both nutritious and sustainable.”
Apart from an online platform advocating dietary and lifestyle changes, Norani said that Living Lab also stood out as a job generator that serves as a catalyst for empowerment.
This, she explained, would be done by training underserved and underprivileged members of society on the best practices in organic farming, explaining the market potential of organic farming, edible gardening and e-commerce, among others.
Upon completion of training, the trainees would have the option to work or intern at UCSI farms. They could also go on to establish their own farms as partner suppliers of Living Lab.
“UCSI is committed in our advocacy of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and Living Lab is an ideal platform in our bid to combat poverty, empower the underprivileged with decent jobs and stimulate economic growth,” added Norani.
“Living Lab reduces air miles, promotes biodiversity and raises public awareness on the things we can do to make this world a fairer and more equitable place.”
More plans are in the pipeline for Living Lab and education is the next area of focus. More workshops on permaculture, food security, climate change and composting, among others, will be conducted for the public soon and organic farm tours will also be organised.
Visit ucsilivinglab.com for more information.