12 March, MEDINI CITY – Iskandar Puteri’s green ecosystem took centre stage at the inaugural Edible Festival held in Medini City on 3 March 2018. Organised by Medini Iskandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd (MIM) in collaboration with social enterprise Johor Green, the food and sustainability event drew in approximately 6,000 visitors to launch the Edible Park, a unique public park comprising edible local plants and trees. The festival, which was graced by the Mayor of Iskandar Puteri, Tuan Haji Adib Azhari Daud, aimed to inspire visitors to make sustainable choices while exposing innovative approaches in regional lifestyle and cuisine.
Edible Festival combined the efforts of 201 talents (of which 75% were Johorean) to fill the park with the largest Green Market held in Iskandar Puteri on top of free workshops, performances and showcases. The festival’s Elemental Pavilion featured more than 40 vendors selling artisanal food and sustainably-grown produce, including Durian Guesthouse, Nictar, JS Popsicle, Zenxin Organic and Kelab Alami to name a few. There were also vendors selling handmade crafts plus Medini’s popular food trucks. Edible Park’s very own cafe featured showcases and tastings from Dewakan, Vburg Bakery, Sophie Pattisier, and many notable players from Johor’s vibrant culinary scene, while the park studio weaved family recreation with learning opportunities by offering the public a semi-outdoor space to paint, make herbal candy, weave herb-growing baskets and assemble edible kokedamas.
The festival tent, dubbed Delicious Lounge, brought festival-goers together for talks during the day, and dance during the evening as Lindy KL and Dangerdisko arrived from Kuala Lumpur. Elsewhere, the park’s green clearings were studded with creative projects some with an edible theme: The Keepers Studio’s “Suap”, a participatory hand-feeding ritual supported by INXO Arts Fund, while De’Press Art delivered two poetry reading sessions from Johor’s youth, namely ‘Handful’ and ‘Mouthful’. Other performers include local keronchong ensemble Terang Bulan, performance artist Omorq Iwan, and contemporary dancers Tunku Atiah, Afham Zainal, Dalila Samad and Romo Hernandez. Teachers, students and parents meanwhile arrived in droves to support Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Medini’s pop-up book workshop led by teacher and certified paper engineer Mohamad Rizal Kapandi, while Koperasi Penduduk Kampung Sungai Melayu brought in food and delicacies, which were produced by village folk. Cikgu Rizal of SK Medini said, “My students and I are extremely excited to be part of this Edible Festival as it promotes sustainability and it is important for us to raise such awareness by educating the community especially the younger generation on sustainable future for all.”
Edible Festival was headlined by special presentations by local fine-dining pioneer Chef Darren Teoh of Dewakan, and television presenter and actor Razif Hashim, on the subjects of local food culture and identity. Razif, excited about the concept of Edible Park and Edible Festival, exclaimed, “I love that I can be one with nature and eat it too! The people of the Medini community are so lucky to be able to share a place that promotes healthy living and good eating. Food brings fun and shared cultures together while allowing people to just enjoy another day in the park.” Sharan Sambhi and Benjamin Tay tackled Edible Consequences describing problems about food waste and a citizen based approach to the problem of haze. Leo Wein and Vikas Garg gave a glimpse into an Edible Future that includes insects and a global plant based movement.
Founder of Johor Green and head curator of the Edible Festival, Chris Parry, noted, “The crowd was remarkable not only for attendance size but also diversity, and we see this theme reflected in vendor and talent participation. Locals, Singaporeans, and our resident expat community gave our already social green markets an international community feel. An important strategy for sustainable living is a movement away from consumerism towards investing in experience — it was a real joy to see visitors attentive and engaged with the speakers, performances, workshops, showcases and the landscape of Edible Park itself. This diversity and community around contemporary ideas about sustainability is a great match with the aspirations of Iskandar Puteri to be a vibrant city of international standing.”
Dr James Tee, Managing Director / Chief Executive Officer of MIM said, “The Edible Festival was a big step towards bringing the public closer to sustainable living and we are delighted by the results and look forward to more collaborations with the local community and Johor Green. The festival was an eye-opening experience for many as it challenged how we think concerning our actions and their impact on our own health and the environment”.
Edible Festival marks the second major event held in Iskandar Puteri this year following the inaugural four-day start-up festival ‘IP Smart 2018: Create’, which took place in AFINITI, Medini City in February 2018.