Urban Farming in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of the world’s most dense urban areas, and relies heavily on imported goods to feed the people living here. In an effort to be more environmentally friendly urban farming in Hong Kong is on the rise, in this post Chatteris’ own Fleur Ellerton gives us an insight into this growing practise.
It’s well known that Hong Kong has always relied heavily on food imports to feed its population – over 90% of its food is imported. China being the main supplier, with 92% of Hong Kong’s fresh vegetables coming from China. The environmental impact of importing this high volume of fresh produce, is unfortunately, seriously high and not realistically sustainable in the current climate. However, in response to the increased concern with carbon emissions, environmental impact and sustainability, there has been a growing interest in urban farming. Urban farming is defined as “the practice of cultivating, processing and distributing food… in or around urban areas.” Urban farming in Hong Kong has manifested in three main forms: community farms, community gardens, and rooftop farms. These have been great examples of more sustainable land use and food security for Hong Kong in a (hopefully!) more environmentally-conscious world.
Community farms are an example of the diverse educational programmes on urban farming for schools, universities, communities and companies. Mapopo Community Farm, located in Fanling, is one such place situated in Hong Kong. The farm is an ideal location to take primary and junior secondary students – they provide regular tours, farming workshops, activities and talks. Increasing awareness of sustainable farming in a hands-on, relaxed, environment like this can help introduce concepts to students and broaden their vocabulary. Inside the classroom, or during extra curricular activities, the Mapopo Community Farm is a fantastic example to use when introducing students to ways Hong Kong people are living a sustainable lifestyle.
The Leisure and Cultural Services Department launched the “Community Garden Programme” in February 2004 to set up planting plots at selected parks and venues across Hong Kong. Under the guidance of qualified instructors, participants can learn how to grow ornamental plants, fruits and vegetables in parks or venues nearby, and even take home the harvest to share with their families and friends. The scheme was meant to encourage the public to participate in green activities at community level, and adopt them as a part of daily life to promote environmental protection. A list of the locations where these can be found can be accessed through this link.
Rooftop Republic: Rooftop Farms
Rooftop Republic is an organisation based in Hong Kong, established in 2015. Upon discovering that Hong Kong’s concrete jungle has an incredible 6 million square metres of rooftop space that could be utilised for farming, and that less than 1% of it was being used, they launched their mission to expand into this untapped potential. This company alone has transformed 80,000+ square feet of under-utilised urban areas into green rooftop spaces in the last seven years. Hong Kong has become a space to watch for growing environmental innovation – the Chatteris office might even be next, with our own plans to start a rooftop garden above the Camel Paint Building! To find out more about living sustainably in Hong Kong, check out this blog post.
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