Rooftop Gardens of Hong Kong
Rooftop gardens are making a debut in the concrete jungle of Hong Kong. For years the citizens have been on the long road to disconnect from nature and now it is a long way home. In the 90’s over 1/3 of the produce sold in Hong Kong was local, now it is a little more than 2%. There was a time that in the New Territories, the land that stretches from urban Kowloon to the border with mainland China, that farming reigned supreme. Now these farms too ,have gone the way of urban life. Most of the food eaten in Hong Kong comes from the mainland, apples arrive from the United States, Kiwis are brought in from Italy, and Oranges from South Africa.
Now, in the year of 2015 ,we see an emergence of people wanting to reconnect with nature. There is the beautiful garden and water space on the roof of the IFC Mall. It provides a wonderful place for workers in the financial district to have a quiet lunch. There are roof-tops all over the city, growing tomorrow’s dinner. The desire to grow your own food is coming back, to Hong Kong.
If you walk along the concrete houses, you are beginning to see cracks between buildings being used for food, and on the balconies of the city, you will find containers of greens and hanging gardens. The people of Hong Kong are reclaiming their right, to grow their own food.
A very popular project is the HK Honey Initiative. Here local beekeepers are connected with apartment dwellers who are anxious to install beehives on their rooftops and balconies. This is a beginning that connects people with nature. They are currently focusing on an older part of the city that has a network of rooftop gardens. In exchange, these gardeners have bees for their rooftop gardens and honey, for the table. What an awesome project.
No gardening article on Hong Kong would be complete without mentioning, the Mango King. The Mango King is a small middle-age homeless man who lives in a lean-to under the trees. Near by are the busy streets of the city and traffic speeds through, day and night. In the midst of all this, the Mango King has his illegal urban farm. Here you will see sweet potatoes, 45 papaya trees, 5 mango trees, 3 banana trees, and 2 Lychee Trees. In addition to all this he has greens and other garden produce growing. On 700 square feet he grows all that he needs to eat and a little extra to barter for other needs. Having an urban garden in the middle of the concrete jungle is hard, especially since he has no running water. He walks to a mall and fills jugs and comes back and waters his amazing garden. How many of us who garden, would have such dedication?
In Yau Ma Tei, the HK Honey Initiative found its beginning with a passionate group of artists and long time residents who are using roofs, balconies, and the cracks between the buildings to grow produce for their community. Rooftop gardens are all over Yau Ma Tei! These were the pioneers and now Hong Kong is getting excited once again about having small farms, but this time, they are urban farms. These are the rooftop gardens of Hong Kong. So on your next adventure to Hong Kong, check out all the new city farms, both legal and illegal. The urban farmers of Hong Kong are waiting for your visit . Come discover the rooftop gardens of Hong Kong!