Meet Our Malaysian Food Hero

Meet Our Malaysian Food Hero

Tue 26 Nov 2013

Story by Sarah Curl

Introducing our November Ambassador of the Month!

Ambassador of the Month is a feature that we’ve launched in order to highlight the amazing volunteers we have around the world. Ambassadors who have been chosen show an unwavering desire for change in their communities. They are fighting for real food and food education skills and donate their time every month to make this happen.

The Ambassador of the Month for November is Ju-Eng Tan from Pahang, Malaysia. Ju-Eng has been a Food Revolution Ambassador since April 2013 and “believes that food is the best element to break cultural barriers and bring people together”. She is a journalist and works on campaigns pertaining to the abuse of our rights to food and shelter. Ju-Eng’s work “focuses on reducing wastage, being self-reliant and having healthy food consumption”. She has amazing passion and is busy encouraging her community to plan produce in empty land plots around her city. Please meet Ju-Eng!

How has the Ambassador Program helped you accomplish your goals?

Getting involved with the Food Revolution gives a boost to my own effort in telling and teaching the community about food security and the whole gamut on food resources. Besides this, it’s also encouraging for me to know that I’m not alone and there is a whole community out there that I can connect with to share ideas and experiences. In my community, food wastage is rampant and getting them to change their ways is a very daunting task. Since Jamie Oliver is a household name here, it helps to tell them that he supports efforts towards sustainable living.
I work a lot with youth and the Ambassador program has given me ideas to connect with them and get them to subscribe to healthy food. Using my status as an Ambassador, I have managed to convince a training resort to adopt sustainable practices and work towards being a self-reliant center. The resort also sponsors the workshops I conduct for youth and the surrounding community.

What real food initiative are you currently working on in your community? How's it going?

Next week I will bring a group of students, who will be attending a visual journalism workshop, to a community where people grow food on community plots for their own consumption and for sale. They will record their stories and produce videos for a web TV to reach out to their peers. At this workshop, which goes from Nov 26-29 and is titled "Growing the Story", they will get a chance to do a bit of planting and harvesting. Most of these are urban kids and the experience will have a big impact.

Tell us a little more about the real food movement in Malaysia.

The food movement in Malaysia is on an uphill task as food is still abundant and fairly affordable. Having said this there are still urban communities, especially the immigrants legal or otherwise, going hungry. I am also trying to get the Myanmarese community at the fringe of the city to grow their own food.

My hope is in converting the young and getting them to promote this campaign. The families whom I will be working with for next week's workshop have great stories to tell and I hope they could inspire the young participants to grow this initiative.

Find out more about our Food Revolution Ambassador program and apply to become one here!

Find out more about Ju-Eng and her Food Revolution in Pahang, Malaysia here: @FoodRevPahang

About the Author: Sarah Curl is the Food Revolution Community Manager for the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (USA).

Twitter: @sarahanncurl


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