Taylor's Urban Farm Leads the Charge in Sustainable Farming
The planting systems are self-sustaining and is semi-automated using an advanced IoT system.
Updated 05 Sep 2023
Malaysia is not producing enough food domestically and our heavy dependence on imported supply has been costing us RM428.8 billion for the last 10 years.
As part of their effort to address this issue and encourage change within the local food ecosystem, Taylor’s University has launched their new state-of-the-art Taylor’s Urban Farm (TUF). Located on the Lakeside Campus, the farm aims to serve as a living lab for students, academics and the public to collaborate and advocate for greater food security and nutrition.
Home to over 20 types of vegetables, fruits and herbs, the produce are housed in three distinct planting systems — vertical towers, grow beds and autopots — and are kept in a self-sustaining system that reduces their dependence on external outputs and strengthens the produce’s nutrient cycle by recycling the water used. This minimises the chance of pesticides and fertilisers from contaminating the ground.
Additionally, the semi-automated farm also uses state-of-the-art technology to maintain it. Using an Internet of Things (IoT) Nido One system, they can automatically control and detect several key components of the hydroponic systems such as the water pH level, nutrient solution and climatic parameters such as temperature and humidity. Annually, the farm is expected to grow and harvest a total output of over 400 kg worth of produce.
“The technology and innovations available as well as our commitment to purpose-led learning, coupled with the multidisciplinary collaboration within our institution, puts us in a prime position to become a key player in the cultivation, amplification, and facilitation of debates and activism that can influence change to the food systems. By building a sustainable food and agriculture system to ensure food security and safety, we can play our part to improve the overall nutrition and sustainability of Malaysia’s food supply by 2030,” said Professor Dr Pradeep Nair, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer at Taylor’s University.
The inauguration of TUF marks a significant experiential learning opportunity for students. Taylor’s is the first private university in Malaysia to offer a Minor in Sustainable Urban Farming as a study option, which will teach students on areas such as crop development, production and management through hydroponic systems, sustainable agriculture, and agriculture automation and data management.
Additionally, 80% of the produce from TUF will be sent to the university’s academic kitchens, avoiding wastage and allowing students from Taylor’s Culinary Institute and the School of Food Studies and Gastronomy access to a fresh and nutritious supply of vegetables, fruits and herbs. This will empower them to participate in socially conscious green practices as they learn to source sustainably, creating a unique “farm-to-fork” dining experience.
TUF is part of Taylor’s Food Security and Nutrition Impact Lab which aims to end hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition. To date, Taylor’s has introduced 13 Impact Labs to help deliver solutions that contribute to the community’s shared prosperity, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).