KIRRLiving: Is our society accepting urban farming? by Agnes Yeung
Why did my mint die? Why didn't my tomato bear fruit? Will the plants attract bugs? These are some frequently asked questions when it comes to growing in the city. For many years, I have encountered many people that are interested in growing their own food but failed to overcome the above challenges.
Do Hong Kongers really accept the idea of growing in the city? In fact, the urban farming seed was planted in Hong Kong more than a decade ago. There are a number of successful urban farms in the city that lease planting space to the public. People can rent an allotment to grow food with seeds, tools and fertilizers provided.
The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) launched the community garden programme in 2004. Farming space of 2.25 square metres is assigned to participants for 4 months and instructors are there to share the knowledge. LCSD is currently running 24 community gardens with a total of 1,182 allotments for Hong Kong residents. However, the demand for allotments is always higher than supply. According to LCSD, they receive over 13,000 applications on average. Applicants have to draw lots to get an allotment and try their luck again after 4 months.
There are many other idle spaces in Hong Kong we can make good use of to meet the demand for urban farming. Last year, I founded Grow Something to promote urban farming. We started off by providing design, installation and management service of organic vegetable gardens. We encourage urbanites to take a step and start growing your own food. So far we have worked with restaurants, schools and households to make urban farming possible.