Green Lungs dining debuts in Sabah
Published on: Monday, November 29, 2021
By: Lorena Binisol
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Dining in the Sky.
Kota Kinabalu: The Covid-19 pandemic that hit the world in early 2020 has made many aware of the importance of good health and quality of life.

The response has been a new platform “Nutribah” or Nutritious Sabah, a “dining in the green lungs” venue that emphasises functional eating as opposed to normal eating through smart organic farming practices.

Executive Director Preston Sean said this “farm to plate” concept is well received as longevity and wellbeing are things money cannot buy.

“What we are selling here is not just a product, but a ‘promise’ for organic produce, sustainability, longevity and true wellness lifestyle,” he said.

Nutribah is a collective idea by highly concerned young individuals aiming a healthy, safe and quality life for all.

Dining in the Green Lungs.

With its concept of farm-to-plate dining, people could experience the freshest and best quality food not only for enjoyment, but more importantly, rejuvenation of one’s health.

“We are supposed to eat for the benefit of our body’s functions. However, most of us eat for the taste,” Preston said, adding it is important for people to know what they consume like the seven essential nutrients such as protein which helps to re-produce important enzymes and hormones to build strong bones and repair body tissues and also defend the body against disease via optimal immune function that the body requires.

“In our dish or meal, we actually incorporate the seven essential needs for our body such as protein, mineral, carb, fibre, healthy fats, water and vitamins.

In Nutribah’s one-and-a-half acres in Penampang can be found various organic vegetables, plants such as kale, passion fruit, grapes, Sacha Inchi, vanilla and many different herbs.

(From left to right) Wallace Heng, Preston Sean and Izzat Alexander. 

All are designed for use in the menu for functional eating. For example kale is turned into healthy juice.

Under a Smart Farming concept, there are six farms producing organic vegetables and plants from as far as Kalabakan, Keningau, Lok kawi, Kimanis and Kalumpang (in Tawau) apart from Penampang with the help of technology. Being organic produce, they are chemical-free.

Although Nutribah is new, their farms had been operating since a decade ago. The 170 staff including farmers, are upskilled and equipped with proper planning strategies using modern technology. 

Even the fish in gigantic aquariums are fed correctly with protein from Sacha Inchi pallet for its growth under the most appropriate conditions where water and temperature are minutely monitored.

Organic Smart Farm with indoors farmed organic prawns.

“We are managing the farms with latest technology which saves a lot of time and energy with precision.

“With our knowledge and experience in IOT, Internet Banking, Digitation, Smart Farming Applications, we are gearing towards modernising farming which was once regarded as low-skilled jobs,” he said.

Agriculturists and aquaculturists ensure the correct temperature, water, soil, etc, to the tiniest details.

Sustainability is the key word, a long term goal where their next generation would still be enjoying the produce.

“We are also looking at ‘wellness tourism’ once the borders are open for international visits,” said Preston.

Preston, 30, Wallace Heng, 23 and Izatt Alexander 23, share their knowledge on IOT and latest technology with the staff, including farmers.

“Behind this beautiful set up, there are struggles, hard work, brainstorms and sweat in putting things right for the benefit of people.

Wallace at Indoor Smart Farm with our patron.

“We need to put things right from the beginning. We need to care for the environment and that there be should be no further damage should be done ultimately for the future generations to come. 

“By nurturing our farms organically, we are actually looking after our land to be as safe as possible.  With this, we are able to hand down this priceless inheritance to our next generation without fear.”

They admit the full results may take time, “In the long term we will see healthy living, stronger immune system, resilience and so on.” 

Coordinating the six farms statewide is helped by using Nutribah’s Smart Organic Farming system which even allows them to control and adjust farm temperature remotely and monitor every aspect.

Preston leading the indoor smart farm tour.

Headquarters could monitor the farm conditions in real-time setting while the conventional way would take a few days with facts and documentation needed.

“In our Smart organic farming system, reports and every bit of data are all collected and stored in the system. Even the next generation can extract the information for their case studies,” he said.

These devices assist to achieve accuracy and competency. “We have no intention to replace our human capital with technology.  In this environment, we still need people to carry out the tasks and to upskill them.

“In fact, we are creating job opportunities to many Sabahan graduates and enthusiastic farmers.

“We must no longer see farmers as just farmers, but as the main contributors to food supply,” he said, adding that they are the unsung heroes.

Sky Gym – a wellness centre located at the highest point in Nutribah is an added value for health.   With a management team of 30 and 170 staff (including farmers) manning and looking after the place, a promising future and holistic wellness lifestyle is assured for the people of Sabah in this one-stop-centre.

His corporate legal experience in Kuala Lumpur meant Preston had no knowledge about farming preparation work. 

But it changed when he  received a call from my mentor in Sabah, who he looked up to, asking if he could come back to start this new undertaking to create value together for Sabah.

Preston is pointing at Sacha Inchi Plant.

Head Chef Joshua Chai, who packs 28 years experience, said they only choose the best fish for Sashimi.  

“In preparation of Sashimi, we are given a list of instructions to abide.  As this is for functional eating, we are careful with the flavours used. 

“As for seasoning, no artificial flavouring and MSG. We use bones of fish and our own grown herbs to make into broth to get the natural flavour and taste. 

“An extra effort but the ultimate point is that we are serving healthy and safe food which would go a long way for longevity.  

“Also, we are using Ikejime way. The flesh is tender and white without stress hormones.  It is different from the normal way of killing fish where blood veins can be still seen.

Indoor smart farming.

“It is as though you are eating right from the sea, freshness and protein property is guaranteed,” said Chai, who is from Kuching.

Preston reiterated that even details of how fish is killed is taken seriously and that the Ikejime method (the most humane way) is best as no stress hormone is released while fish is put to “sleep”.  Using a sharp object and pricking its head once, the fish would then “sleep” without having to struggle for breathing. 

“Stress hormone is released when fish struggle for breathing and it is bad for human consumption,” he said.


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