Eyes on PolyU

Successful PolyU farmers

Official figures of 2015 reveal only 7 square kilometers of land in Hong Kong are actively farmed and managed by small-sized farms producing mainly leafy vegetables, pigs or poultry.  Agriculture is negligible as a source of employment or revenue to a sophisticated economy like Hong Kong.  Nevertheless over 30 PolyU staff and students were excited to start tilling the fields and learning to become ‘city farmers’ since last November. They were the participants of the Urban Farming Programme organized by the Campus Sustainability Office.

Participants of the programme were given individual planter boxes to grow organic vegetables and herbs, and they had to attend four training workshops to acquire the basic knowledge and skills of organic farming from an experienced tutor. “Farming is never an easy job. You have to shoulder all the manual work from crop selection, land preparation, seed selection, seed sowing, irrigation, monitoring crop growth, fertilizing to harvesting. But there’s so much that you can gain from it,” the tutor mentioned during the workshops.

    Programme snapshot 1

Being keen to explore into the world of organic farming and to grow their own produce, these participants were very attentive and amazed at the workshops. They took their first steps into becoming responsible city farmers by cultivating a true respect to organic farming culture, which emphasizes practices that sustain the health of soils, ecosystems and people. Natural fertilizers such as bone meal and organic pesticides like onion spray, garlic spray and Chile pepper are to be used while genetically modified seeds are to be avoided. It’s about cherishing the environment and maintaining a good quality of life for all involved.

The participants were also hard-working farmers. They frequently visited their planter boxes on 6/F of Lee Shau Kee Building during their free time watering their plants and checking out their conditions. They also shared with each other their cultivating experiences and observation.

        Programme snapshot 2     Programme snapshot 3

In three months’ time they managed to enjoy a nice harvest of over 10 different kinds of seasonal leafy vegetables such as Chinese flowering cabbage, Emperor vegetable, Salad lettuce, organic herbs and fruits. “I enjoyed this programme so much,” commented by one of the participants, ‘It was so fascinating to see the vegetables grow day by day, and it brought me a strong sense of achievement as I can successfully grow my own organic vegetables and enjoy a good harvest.”