● By Mel Sim
We’re in awe of those with a green thumb, what more growing veggies and selling them as a business! Here, David Lee from Red Okra shares how he started his journey in sustainable farming.
Red Okra has been up and running for only eight months but it’s been quite a journey for us! I graduated from Agriculture and Business Marketing in Australia and have over 30 years of experience in various agricultural fields in various countries. When we started Red Okra, our mission was to provide people with access to affordable, safe and premium produce that are sustainably grown. Red Okra is a technology-based urban farm and premium grocer where we supply mainly organic and pesticide-free product and groceries. Currently, we supply direct to homes, independent grocers, and F&B outlets.
Setting it up was quite an adventure! Funding and land were our main challenges; it wasn’t exactly difficult nor was it easy too. There were many parties interesting in farming so it was a matter of finding the right partners. As for land, our goal was to find affordable yet strategically located land in Klang Valley. In terms of the physical farming itself, it is a combination of education, experience, and learning from others who have done it before us.
My typical day at Red Okra varies from day to day but essentially, it is focused on the business – whether it is the farming or exploring business opportunities. This includes visiting the farm, sourcing for products, engaging with customers, and looking for new ones. I like that I am not stuck in the office and it’s very rewarding to see our produce appreciated by our customers.
There is so much that we can explore with the business but right now, our immediate plans are to reach more locations and customers, and to explore new ways of growing as well as new varieties. Organic farming in Malaysia is picking up as more consumers look for safer options of produce. With this and the many other opportunities we can explore, we’re on the lookout for agricultural and marketing graduates. Check out our Instagram @red.okra to learn more about our business!
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