IGPN - International Green Purchasing Network


News

Archives

2021
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09  
2020
01   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12  
2019
01   03   04   05   06   08   10   11   12  
2017
01   02   03  
2016
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12  
2015
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12  
2014
01   02   03   06   07   08   09   10   11   12  
2013
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11  
2012
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12  
2011
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12  
2010
01   02   03   04   05   07   08   09   10   11   12  
2009
01   02   03   05   06   07   08   10   11   12  
2008
01   03   04   07   08   09   10   11   12  
2007
02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10  
2006
02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12  
2005
06   07   09   10   11  

Categories

[SCP] Hong Kong's urban farms sprout gardens in the sky

August 16, 2021

[SCP] Hong Kong's urban farms sprout gardens in the sky

[The Japan Times, 09 July 2021]-With their heads in the clouds and their hands in the soil, a group of office workers are busy harvesting the fruits of their labor on the roof of a Hong Kong skyscraper.

Invisible to those below, a sprawling garden of radishes, carrots and rhubarb is flourishing at the top of the 150-meter tall Bank of America tower, a stark and colorful contrast to the monotone shades of concrete, steel and glass of the city's financial district.

The farm is among more than 60 that have sprouted across the space-starved city since 2015 — on decommissioned helipads, shopping mall rooftops and public terraces — thanks to initiatives like Rooftop Republic, a local social enterprise that promotes urban farming.

Co-founder Andrew Tsui sees the rooftop farms as a way for people to reconnect with how sustainable food can be produced in what he calls the current "instant-noodle city lifestyle" that sees so much waste.

"What we are looking at is really how to identify underutilized spaces among the city and mobilize the citizens, the people, to learn about food," the 43-year-old said during a blustery site inspection of the skyscraper's garden.

Tsui believes Hong Kongers need to re-establish a relationship with what they eat that has been broken "since we started outsourcing our food and relying so much on industrialized production."

Piles of food waste
According to government statistics, Hong Kong throws out some 3,500 metric tons of food waste a day — the equivalent weight of 250 double-decker buses. Less than a quarter is recycled.

And around 90% of the food eaten by the city's 7.5 million inhabitants is imported, mostly from mainland China.

But while Hong Kong is one of the most densely packed places on earth, there is still considerable space to grow food locally.

Tsui said some 7 million square meters of farmable area is currently cultivated. But more than 6 million square meters on the city's rooftops remain unused.

"So we could have the potential of doubling the supply of land for growing food," he said.

"The challenge for us is to design urban farming as a lifestyle to integrate into our daily life," he added. "And the first step for that, of course, is to be accessible."

To incorporate urban farms into the blueprints for office buildings, Rooftop Republic closely collaborates with architects, developers and property managers.

Major companies are signing up.

As well as the Bank of America garden, financed by property consultancy giant JLL, Singaporean banking giant DBS has partnered with Rooftop Republic to set up an academy that runs workshops for beginners as well as professional courses.

"In Hong Kong, most of the people focus on the commercial value of the properties. But we want to promote the concept of sustainability," said Eric Lau, the group's senior director of property management.

New skills
Urban farmers say the projects also help build community spirit among those who cultivate the crops.

After retiring from the public service, Lai Yee-man said she turned to farming to connect with nature and her neighbors.

The 60-year-old initially learned techniques and tricks from professionals to develop her farming plot in the New Territories region of Hong Kong — a rural area close to the border with mainland China.

But now she is passing on her knowledge to fellow residents working the Sky Garden, a 1,200-square-meter facility on top of a mall.

There residents cultivate edible flowers and fruit trees and can attend lifestyle classes like mindful gardening.

"People attach greater importance to their health now, they will buy organic food," said Lai.

"Here, we teach them not to waste … and to cherish their food," she explained, adding that the majority of what the mall farm grows goes to local food banks.

Tsui recognizes that few young Hong Kongers currently have an interest in learning how to grow food.

But younger people are often concerned about the environment and climate change, so the opportunity to generate enthusiasm is there for the taking.

"If coding is the skill set to learn for the 21st century, growing your own food is a necessary new skill that we all need to learn to ensure a regenerative and green planet," he said.

Learn more at here.

category : Topics


Focus on

Information

IGPN Events