Community Testimonials

We value what our community thinks about the project and continuously seek for ways to improve and expand our positive impact. Read what our students, staff, professors and external guests have to say about the HKU Edible Spaces.

Cesar Jung-Harada

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Architecture

Hong Kong youth are growing more and more disconnected from nature, from their own bodies (focused on academics), from others (interacting mostly online via social media), from the sense that the HKU campus and Hong Kong is their home, that they can cherish, influence, to grow and live healthy, happy, connected lives. How can we get the students to connect with their own bodies, develop agency, build friendships, a flourishing community and become stewards of the HKU campus, and of Hong Kong?

 

One only cares about what one understands. If we want the students to care about their campus, they need to understand how the campus works, to feel the campus is their second home. If we want the students to care about nature and become tomorrow's sustainable leaders, they need to develop a personal relationship with nature, they need to touch nature with their own hands, to understand nature's fragility and great power.

 

The rooftop garden at HKU is one of the very few places that HKU students can touch, that they can change, influence: it's alive, changing with the seasons, a little messy at times -as it should!-, as it breathes with the student and staff labor of love and play. Every time you go, it will look, smell and feel different. It's one of the few places where students are not only passive learners, but they can be active creators.

I have been teaching at HKU for 3 years now, and I saw first hand students and staff:  

  • Developing a proposal for innovative tracking solar panels as part of the "Sustainable Leadership" Course that all the students of the new Bachelor of Arts and Science benefited - to help the HKU campus transition to green energy sources!

  • Prototype a small compost bin for food waste that they shipped to the Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh - gaining international humanitarian experience!

  • Produced published research about Hong Kong rooftops in a popular book, making this rooftop the pride of HKU!

  • Produce and share free vegetarian meals with locally produced herbs. The planet needs us to change our diet, and produce locally!

  • Enjoy lots of informal gatherings and taking a break from stressful deadlines and work duties in a "little green paradise in the clouds"!

Beyond all the literature that is very positive about all the benefits of a community garden, knowing that my workplace has such a magical place, where staff and students are "just people" tending to a garden, makes the campus a place that I can relate to, that I can love and care for. I am thankful and I hope to see more areas of the campus like the rooftop garden, where students and staff are entrusted to be creative, open to experimentation, and increase wellbeing and our sense of belonging to this place. 

Vivian Chu

Assistant Lecturer, The Centre for Civil Society and Governance, Faculty of Social Sciences

The willingness to imbibe in the culture of ethical, sustainable and holistic development is what differentiates the truly distinguished institutions in academia. 

 

The Edible Spaces Project is one of the most inspiring and valuable projects I have had the fortune of partaking in during my teaching years here.  The Project has been praised by students, staff and visitors alike, not least due to the dedication of the team at the sustainability office in managing the edible spaces and developing innovative initiatives.  The initiatives developed on the basis of the two edible spaces on campus serve the important purpose of disseminating knowledge, as well as empowering and inspiring sustainable lifestyle changes.

 

The University’s commitment to the Project showcases its devotion to providing a platform for future leaders in sustainability, as well as incubating cutting-edge research in this field. The Project is a testament to the University’s status as an ethical global institution.

 

For myself, I have gained invaluable exposure and experience from participating in this highly interdisciplinary Project, which has greatly enriched the content of the courses I teach for various programmes at the University.  At this rate, I can only see more fruits being borne by the Project as the University commits itself to further resources for the wonderful team at the sustainability office, who deserve all our recognition for their passion and professionalism in promoting this meaningful cause.

Oscar Chan Tsz Ho

Student, MAcct Y1

I have joined the sustainable urban farming workshop since September 2020 and was lucky to have the chance to perform basic duties to manage the rooftop farm. I have also participated the community days being held regularly by the rooftop farming team, where we can learn about different crops' characteristics and concepts of sustainability. 

As an urban farmer, I already love planting at my home's balcony and I feel grateful to have this learning experience to broaden my knowledge. It also influenced and raised my attention on the existing environmental organisations and issues in HK. Most importantly, the passion from the staff, the amount of care and effort to manage the farm has inspired me to improve constantly in being a better and responsible individual.

I would say the rooftop farm is one of the vital and valuable asset in HKU that showcases environmental sustainability in the most down-to-earth way. Nowadays, the society has been emphasising on a well-rounded approach when it comes to evaluating a business or any social matters. This approach is known as Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG), as opposed to simply focusing on the economic perspective of a matter. The rooftop farm acts as an important role for HKU's position in promoting, educating and inspiring future generations to not only uphold their social responsibility but also enrich their non-academic aspects of life. The rooftop farm has become the channel for HKU students and staff to associate and practice modern values in our society, which brings substantive value and goodwill to HKU.

Ella C Forsberg

Student, BArch Y4

With all the crises the world and Hong Kong is facing right now, the rooftop farm is more important than ever. The rooftop farm is an essential space for educating the community about food resilience and sustainability, through a hands-on and sustainable approach; it is a site for research and experiential learning, and also a space for students like me to build relationships with various people in my community. The rooftop farm connects people across age, gender, profession, disability, and any other boundary!

Various research in Hong Kong and elsewhere prove the importance of urban green spaces and experiences in nature for our mental health, and the farm allows us a closer relationship to the plants than one would simply get from a park. Moreover, students can get insight into the labour and knowledge embedded in the food we eat, an awareness that is crucial to be able to engage in the work and academic environment of the future. 

The rooftop farm is also a platform for students to do hands-on research and projects related to important topics within sustainability such as urban agriculture and food production, the influence of green space on mental health, rural development strategies and many more. For instance, we consulted leaders from the rooftop farm for a course I was co-teaching, and a classmate cooperated with the farm for a composting project for another course. As such the rooftop farm is a very important space for the research and knowledge production of HKU to remain relevant and impactful. 

Moreover, the rooftop farm to me represents a commitment and movement within the university to work for sustainability, and its presence alone inspires me to think further and believe in the possibility of doing more sustainability related projects on campus. The persistence of the projects shows that HKU can be a space for us to realise projects that we are passionate about! I still regularly show the farm to new friends, and it always sparks discussion, new ideas and new friendships.

Carol Fung
種植導師、
嘉道理農場
永續生活及
農業主任

光、水、溫度、泥土……種植除了需要這些環境元素,最重要的是人的心,參加者和者管理者有沒有想種一棵好菜的心。 

在2019年開始在港大的天台園圃教授種植技巧,第一次見到園圃,已覺得園圃裏外都充滿活力和永續元素,天台園圃不單止是一個綠化項目,種植活動更可以令校園天台變得生氣勃勃 

透過種植活動可以拉近不同國籍、性別、職位、年齡層的人的距離,參加者一齊體驗減廢和資源循環,實踐可持續概念。 

校園的天台由只有冰冷的分體冷氣和水箱,到今天充滿生氣和歡笑聲音絕非易事,這些都是靠認真參與的港大同學、職員和盡責的園圃管理同事。 

希望天台園圃可以一路延續落去。 

葉子林
嘉道理農場
暨植物園
高級永續農業主任

近幾年,有幸與香港大學不同單位合作,開展不同類型農業課程。
農業欠缺實踐,誠然不足。幸好校園內有這個天台農圃,多位職員及同學,都在這裡用心地種植。
農圃採用簡單的種植箱模式,雖然產量受限制,但勝在具靈活性,也免卻天台承載力方面憂慮。當然,在耕種技術及管理上仍有可以改善地方,但這裡已無可置疑發揮農圃的最重要功能:透過種植,理解人與食物關係。


香港具備悠久農業歷史,只是近世代出現了斷層。慶幸近十年間,不少社會人士重新認識農業的重要性,農業議題逐漸重新進入教學領域。新世代也出現半農半X現象,年青人以新視野理解耕種、糧食的意義。農村、社區之間不同形式的農圃,都成為他們實踐的場所。


建設與營運農圃的朋友,都兼具着食農教育的社區意義。外國不乏成功的都市農圃個案,許多也是建立在天台上。謹慎而行,用心栽種,總會有成果。

好多謝你地提供有機菜比我地試食,品嘗到有機菜的鮮甜,的確系比起自己係街市買的菜要更加新鮮及更有菜味,而且也比較健康,希望你地繼續將有機種植的食物傳遞比更多人認識。多謝!

HKU Cleaning Team 港大清潔部
Sammie Ng
Student, BArch Y4

What does it mean to be sustainable in a highly dense city like Hong Kong? Are there still spaces in the city where people and non-human species can not only survive, but thrive and flourish? The various eco-system benefits of urban agriculture ranging from biodiversity conservation to mental-health benefits are being studied all around the world, providing countless justification for allocating space in the city to spaces like Edible Spaces HKU. 

However, what is sometimes difficult to measure but is more precious is the spirit of the community project. Edible Spaces is a space filled with love, community and hope. It is a collective effort which has brought staff and students together, to share space, exchange knowledge and build community. It is an example of not only dreaming of better futures for our cities, but actually coming together to try to do it - starting with where we are and what we have. The seeds sown in Edible Spaces take weeks, months and sometimes years of tender care to bear fruit, symbolising the overlapping hopes which members have for the world - whether it is for people to be more ecologically-minded, more caring and/or more inclusive. 

The hopes embodied by Edible Spaces also overlaps with non-members. Catering Care project was a project initiated in 2020 to raise funds to support both small caterers and food insecure populations during the pandemic. The project soon grew to think more about how our food systems can be a way to reconnect communities in a meaningful way. One of our activities was a campus tour for the staff of Udeli and Take a Break, two social enterprises which hire people with disabilities and one of the pit stops were the herb garden and rooftop farm. The collaboration occurred because both projects are imaginations of how our communities can be more connected, caring and resilient. 

On a personal level, as someone who has just started learning how to farm, I cannot emphasise how inspiring the rooftop farm is. Farming edible plants in an urban setting not only teaches us about important concepts like food miles, regenerative agriculture and waste cycles, but also brings us into intimate relationships with what grows and are alive i.e. non-human species we often forget co-exists in our cities. It challenges us to make space for what we value, wherever we are, and to care for it tenderly but tenaciously.

Khushboo Jogi
Student, BEF Y4

The HKU Edible Spaces has been a great initiative for the staff and students of HKU. As a student and person who has lived most of my life in the city, volunteering my time at the roof top farm has enabled me to learn so much about our agriculture and food systems – which is an increasingly important issue to know about in this day and age. Not only has the farm taught me a great deal about urban farming, organic produce, and permaculture but also through community days and tea gatherings I have been able to engage in the community and spend time in nature. This project has been well thought out and maintained by the Sustainability Office and GE and brings tremendous community value and helps HKU integrate non-academic learning.

Lap Szeto
Staff, Department of Chemistry, HKU

I am one of the member of the Rooftop Farming team.  I joined the HKU Farming workshop organized by General Education & Sustainability Office in Jan of 2019.  We learned the farming knowledge from workshop and put it into practice since then.  This is the first time I witness the growth of some plants from seedlings to fruit.  (Before, I was a plant killer, I was unable to keep any plant green).

 

We planted cucumber, pumpkin, lettuce, spring onion, etc.   We had very good harvest of cucumbers that spring and had a thanksgiving party to celebrate our harvest.  From the workshop I learned some knowledge about farming/planting.  I learned to treasure more what I eat since then, because hardworking does not guarantee good harvest.  Good weather, pest control, daily irrigation and timely fertilisation are essential.  The lettuce that we grew were bit by pests.

Every time I went up to the rooftop and see the seedlings growing taller and taller, then flowers starting to grow, blossoms, then wilt and turn into small fruit, the fruit growing bigger and bigger and finally ripe and harvested.  The joy from the process is priceless.  Very often, after a busy morning of work, going up to the rooftop helps me to find the tranquility from the inside, and I get refreshed and get back to work re-energised.  A half day work out in the farm for weeding or irrigation, etc also make me a physically and spiritually stronger person. That is the reason why I requested to join the farming team and get my own planters.  I enjoyed going up to the farm  whenever I got time.  I met new friends, staffs and students, from different departments and sharing of the farming experience and fruits to make us into  a family.

Betty Wong
Landscape Architecture Team

Have you ever enjoyed food that is grown by yourself? If you have, you'll understand that immense satisfaction.

 

I've been gardening at the HKU Edible Garden for the past 5 years. From a total beginner, I've learned to grow food the organic way thanks to workshops organised by GE and fellow gardeners' advice. It's amazing that even exotic crops like figs, dragon fruits,  passion fruits, papayas and mulberries etc can be grown out of relatively small boxes of soil, not to forget the more conventional veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, pumpkins and bok choys etc.

 

The rooftop garden demonstrates sustainability in the most vivid way. If you put a lot of care to the growing environment, the crops will keep returning year after year. Likewise, the community spirit of gardeners grows year by year too, as we work together by continuous try and error. 

 

Gardening helps us learn about nature, and how to collaborate with it to be productive. It involves multi-disciplinary knowledge and promotes life-long learning. My experience has been both fulfilling and life-enriching, to the extend a lot of my friends are inspired and started their own little green corner on the office window sill or balcony at home. They all benefit from the joy of nurturing plants, which is so essential in offsetting their daily stress from work and now the pandemic.

 

The Edible Garden is more than a rooftop farm. It is a sanctuary for city-dwellers to reconnect with nature, and above all, happiness.