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HK2050+: A Networked Food System for Community Resilience

We envision a community-based participatory agenda for Hong Kong where its food system will be networked to build inclusion and resilience.

Photo of Sianna Yiu
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Policy for Sustainability Lab, Centre for Civil Society and Governance, The University of Hong Kong

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Researcher Institution

Website of Legally Registered Entity

https://ccsg.hku.hk/

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 3-10 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Hong Kong

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

The People’s Republic of China

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China

What country is your selected Place located in?

The People’s Republic of China

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Hong Kong is our home. It is where we were born and raised. It nurtured the traditions that we inherited from our ancestors and incubated the values that we passed down to our future generations. It is a city where food has always been the core of the community’s social value that connects past, present and future generations and bonds individuals to their family, community, and also the wider society. The socio-political history of Hong Kong has cultivated a unique food culture for the city dwellers.

As an action research team at the University, we are missioned to contribute to the attainment of a sustainable society through forging community-based, innovative solutions to inform policy deliberation and action, to raise people’s awareness of the importance of sustainability, to facilitate collective action in and across sectors, and to foster stakeholder engagement.

We have been engaging in the local food system through our rural sustainability programme since 2013. In particular, we have been collaborating with different sectors in the society to revitalise desolate farming villages in Hong Kong using an agricultural-led and rural-urban collaborative approach. In the process, we have gained an in-depth understanding of the local food system, both the conventional supply chain and the inclusive value chain, and have engaged a wide range of stakeholders in the food system, including farmers, landowners, ecologists, agricultural experts, processing practitioners, food recipe designers, chefs, marketers and customers. With our knowledge, experience and connections in the field, we endeavour to further our contributions to improving and transforming the food system of Hong Kong.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

Hong Kong is located at the south-eastern tip of China, having a sub-tropical climate. It has a British colonial history of 150 years before its handover to China in 1997. This political background has made Hong Kong a melting pot of Eastern and Western cultures. It has a population of approximately 7.52 million in 2019 and a land area of about 1,106 square km. It has a population density of 6,880 people per square km in 2018 which is among the top tier of compact cities around the world. Inhabitants are predominantly Chinese.

Besides being a world-famous metropolis, its hilly terrain houses over 700 rural agricultural villages, and its coastal areas as well as 263 islands live a significant number of fishing communities. Both agricultural and fishery industries were once the dominating industries in Hong Kong. All these factors contribute to the diverse food scenes of the city, ranging from indigenous produce and products to South China everyday diets and international cuisines. The multi-folded beliefs and customs of different community groups collectively cultivated a highly diverse, creative, flexible and open attitude to local and foreign food cultures. Diversity and inclusiveness are the two key signifiers of the food system in Hong Kong.

However, in the process of rapid urbanisation and drastic economic restructuring in the past few decades, the primary industry has diminished dramatically. Hong Kong is now being described as a place where vegetation covers 70 percent of the territory while there is literally no rural population. Traditional village-based rice farming has been taken over by small farms producing leafy vegetables, pigs or poultry in an intensive manner. The local agricultural and fishery industry has gradually re-established itself into one that serves the niche market of high-value fresh food. There is a general shortage of food producers, processors at various levels as over 95% of Hong Kong’s food supply relies on imports.

Hong Kong people’s highly westernized habits of eating too much salt, sugar and meat have resulted in a high rate of related diseases, including obesity, diabetes, colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease. Reliance on import also incurred a large carbon footprint.

There is an interesting development of the multiple functions that agriculture can serve, in particular, the nature conservation value of wet farming such as paddy on habitat restoration for amphibians and reptiles; and the use of oyster and pearl farms for seawater filtration and reef restoration.

Adhering to the worldwide movement of localism and the pledge for “local solutions for global problems”, some locals have advocated for a food self-sufficiency target for the city as a climate resilient strategy and some have become part-time farmers seeing farming as a medium for mindfulness and meditation. These are some recent trends that indicate hope for a better future of Hong Kong’s food system.

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)

1106

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?

7558100

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

There is a basket of imminent challenges to our city’s food system. On the production side, the conversion of agricultural land to other land uses has led to the loss of wildlife habitats and the disruption of local ecological services. Our industry players are shrinking because of the dull prospect of being a farmer or a fisherman. On the consumption side, heavy reliance on import has resulted in large food mileage and high carbon footprint contributing to climate change. Food waste is the largest constituent of our municipal solid waste. While our landfills will soon be full, we landfilled 3,662 tonnes of food waste each day in 2017.

Looking at the current challenges holistically, there are some major disconnections in our food system:

1. Being an import-led food system, our food production and consumption are geographically divided.

2. Many Hong Kongers are food illiterate and have lost their connection with real food and the natural environment.

3. The social and cultural bonding created through food culture has been diminishing. For many families, cooking is no longer for daily necessity, nor family members are having meals together daily.

4. Food preparation relies on domestic helpers, so youth involvement is lowered. Domestic cooking knowledge and skills, including that of traditional food making, are likely to diminish further in the future.

5. With a diminished local agricultural industry, we do not have a circular economy to reuse organic wastes.

In the longer term, we are facing irreversible transformation in our current food system and we are regrettably moving towards the unsustainable end. Our future challenges will be to seek ways to restore and enhance the vitality of our food heritage and to advance the conventional linear food supply chain into a networked food value chain where community stakeholders are re-positioned for a synergistic and participatory rural-urban integration.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

We envision that by 2050 the general public will recognize the health, environmental, and social benefits of local agriculture and that they will take action to support a more localized and sustainable food production and consumption model. It addresses the above-mentioned challenges as follows:

1. Establishing Mutually Supported Food Production Communities

A local sustainable food production network will be formed by linking an array of individuals who share similar sustainability concept and ideology. Besides their roles at work and at home, community members will also play a part in the food value chain, e.g. as a part-time farmer at a nearby local farm or as a freelancer helping out at a neighborhood food processing kitchen. We expect an increased youth participation in local agricultural production where they will help with branding and marketing. Maximized fluidity in the food system network will facilitate participants to be the most effective change-makers. With multiple skills, broad interests, high creativity and advanced technology and intelligence, they will facilitate the interaction and collaborative networking among participants in the food supply chain and consumers to scale-up local production and consumption and diversify food supply.

2. Restoring the Local Food Landscape for Environmental and Cultural Betterment

The broad public participation in food production will cultivate a strong sense of environmental stewardship in the society. More local agricultural lands will be regenerated for farming, and eco-friendly farming practices will become more popularly adopted. The regenerated farmlands will serve not only as production grounds but also as important green spaces to provide ecological, recreational and cultural services. Given the compact geographical context, people can farm in rural areas and also grow food at home, at schools, in urban parks, and in residential, commercial and industrial buildings, etc. As local food production rate increases, reliance on imported food will be lowered and the associated carbon footprint will be reduced. Food waste will also be recycled for agricultural use.

3. Enhancing Food Literacy

Engagement in food production and preparation will help the society understand the impact of food choices on our health, the environment and the economy. Being food literate can empower people, in particular urban dwellers, to make informed choices, bringing back a more sustainable and healthy lifestyle and food consumption habit. Growing food in the proximity will lead to a higher level of engagement in farming and cooking. A higher percentage of Hong Kongers will realize the holistic story of our food, resulting in positive changes in diet and more quality meal time with family. Malnutrition-related health problems and the associated medical expenses will be reduced. Closer inter-generation relationship is also essential to sustain the vitality of our food heritage and its supporting food system.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

We envision a new community-based and participatory agenda for Hong Kong where its food system will be networked to cultivate inclusion and resilience at all levels of the society by 2050. Hong Kong and the lives of Hong Kongers will become very different.

1. Improved Food Resilience as a Result of Local Production Revival

Currently, over 95% of Hong Kong’s food supply relies on imports. By 2050, with a broad public participation in local food production, our food self-sufficiency rate will be increased. This will increase our ability to safeguard food supply and stabilise food prices in times of food crisis and contribute to combating climate change.

2. Society Supported Sustainable Food Production and Consumption with Networked Actions

Hong Kong produces little to feed its population and Hong Kong's food consumption culture is harmful to the environment. We envision that by 2050 local sustainable farming will become popular. Actors in the local food supply chain will build up mutually supportive networks and collaborations for sustainable food production and consumption.

3. Holistic Well-being Living

Hong Kongers’ unhealthy dietary habits will be changed. Lower income households will have the essential skills to overcome economic barriers and meet their basic nutritional needs. All Hong Kongers will enjoy a healthy and balanced diet with a well-being lifestyle through a variety of locally produced foods as well as engagement in the food value chain.

4. Improved Relationship between People and Nature and among Communities 

While Hong Kong transformed from an agricultural society to an international financial centre, the relationships among people and between people and nature were significantly changed. Our vision diversifies the food system of Hong Kong and induces a city-wide engagement in sustainable production. These will foster a strong sense of environmental stewardship in the society and improve social bonding.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

We envision a new community-based and participatory agenda for Hong Kong in 2050 that its food system will be networked to cultivate inclusion and resilience at all levels of the society.

Background: 

Countries all over the world are under pressure to tackle the challenges with solutions that can both increase food supply and ensure ecological health and social stability. Hong Kong, with over 95% of its food supply relying on imports, not only has a high carbon footprint in food consumption, its population is also suffering from a growing divide between people and nature as well as a declining engagement in food culture and a diminishing social capital associated with food heritage.  

Food System Vision Objectives:

Our vision of establishing a networked food system fundamentally aims to create transformative changes to the existing situations by enhancing social and cultural bonding through nesting stakeholders in the food system. This does not only address the current food issues, but also enables the society to pursue sustainable living and holistic well-being in the daily life.

1. Environment

By 2050, Hong Kong people will widely support sustainable food production and consumption with real actions. There will be a broad public participation in local farming with citizens taking on the dual roles of food producer/processor and consumer. Apart from farming in the rural areas, Hong Kongers will also fully utilize urban space to produce food in their neighborhood regardless private or public space or residential, commercial or industrial buildings. Households will grow their own food, share with their neighbors, and the producers will also be the consumers while receiving food education and farming skills in the process. Both the general public and the government will recognize that sustainable local agricultural development can bring multiple environmental, economic, cultural and social benefits to the society, including diversification of food supply, provision of employment, education and recreation opportunities, recycling of waste, carbon reduction, as well as rural conservation.

Developing local agriculture to increase food supply will reduce the reliance on imported food and the associated food mileage and carbon footprint. Broad public participation in food production will cultivate a strong sense of environmental stewardship in the society. By 2050, with the growing environmental awareness of the society, more local agricultural lands will be conserved for active farming, and environmentally friendly farming approaches such as organic farming and eco-farming will be more popularly adopted.

Waste reduction will be done throughout the food’s journey. To minimize food wasted in times of crop surplus in local farms, produce will be processed to lengthen shelf-life. Disposable plastic dining ware and excessive food packaging will be avoided. Food waste will be recycled for agricultural use.

2. Diets

By 2050, the widespread community engagement in growing food will allow us to switch to a healthier lifestyle and dietary habit. Local farming will produce seasonal vegetables for consumption according to the local climate conditions. Increased food accessibility and affordability will ensure the right to adequate food for all especially for lower income groups. Adequate information on healthy diets and the processes of food production, processing, marketing and consumption will be delivered through the engagement process so that consumers understand the nutritional value and the social and environmental impacts involved. Citizens will adopt healthier diets with less meat, sugar and salt but more vegetables and fruits. Caterers will source more of their food ingredients locally and offer affordable healthy and sustainable meal options to consumers of all levels. Malnutrition-related health problems and the associated medical expenses will be reduced.

The busy Hong Kong lifestyle of frequently eating out coupled with the help from domestic helpers in meal preparation have reduced people’s involvement in domestic cooking and weakened the family bonding function of our food culture. By 2050, the widespread participation of the general public in growing their own food will not only increase the local food supply but also encourage Hong Kong people to prepare healthy meals at home and enjoy the food with the family. People will better appreciate the food, its sources, its producer, and its food heritage embedded within and will have more quality meal time with family members.

3. Economics

The increase in local food production will rejuvenate the conventional food supply chain into a value-laden chain with enhanced interactions between players in the food system. The multiple roles that food system player exercises (e.g. being both a farmer and food processor; or a branding agent for a network of farms who is also a farmer) will ensure a fair income level. The dynamic positioning of these players will also enhance the resource efficiency and economic effectiveness of the agricultural industry.

Direct procurement will become the norm and the divide between consumers and producers will be greatly reduced with the increased social trust among them. This will facilitate idea exchange and mutual support, i.e social capital for scaling-up local food production and consumption. The networked supply chain will also increase the income of producers, thus improving farmers’ livelihood.

Supermarkets will be selling a large variety of imported sustainably produced and fair trade food products which protect both the environment and the livelihood of farming communities. A culture of sustainable consumption will be implemented with sign of continuity.

4. Culture

In spite of the increased local food production rate, it is inevitable that imported food will still be needed to provide for a diverse food supply that can meet Hong Kongers’ daily nutritional need and ensure Hong Kong’s food supply in times of crisis. However, local agriculture will offer fresher, more environmentally friendly and socially bonded options for consumers. The experience of participating in food production can also empower people to make informed, sustainable and healthier food choices when selecting imported foods, and it will influence the market in the long run.

The general public will be equipped with the knowledge of food source and the production standards. In response to the public demand, producers will disclose further information to consumers and minimize the environmental footprint.

Young people will play important roles in the food system such as farming, developing new processed food products, making innovative use of modern technologies to better connect different stakeholders, designing product branding, and conducting agricultural research.

Women will also play a lot of important roles, including passing on the skills of making traditional food to the younger generation. Schools will place higher importance on cookery lessons, and students will start learning to cook healthy meals and make traditional local food at a young age.

5. Technology

By 2050 a significant percentage of community members will be engaged in farming, food processing and marketing. Among them, those creative and multi-skilled enthusiasts, in particular the young talents with hands on ICT skills, will act as the most effective change-makers. They will play fluid roles in the food system and make innovative use of modern ICT and the social media to facilitate the interaction and collaborative networking among stakeholders in the food supply chain and consumers.

While high-tech agriculture such as hydroponics and controlled environment agriculture will become more developed, small-scale farming will still contribute greatly to the sustainable development of local agriculture. We envision that small-scale farmers in Hong Kong will have adequate access to appropriate technologies such as small farm machinery and small-scale automatic water-efficient irrigation systems for implementing eco-farming and organic farming.

6. Policy

The networked food system will directly drive policy changes to improve land-use planning and agricultural policies to promote the development of local farming as a tool to tackle the interwoven social, economic and environmental problems. Related protocols and regulations, such as building ordinance, green belt zoning, place making for community space will be revised to cater for the establishment of farming-related venues.

Improvements in the food system of Hong Kong require government facilitation not only in the arena of land-use planning and agricultural policies but also population policy, public health policy, education policy, economic policy, environmental policy, social welfare policy as well as innovation and technological policies, etc. There should be an integrated policy mechanism that help ensure the integrity of the food value chain or the food system. Civic engagement and participation should also be institutionalized in the value chain. All these should be among the core parts of the city’s development strategy.

The above have translated the full vision into actionable levers for a food system in Hong Kong that closes the widening disconnections between people and nature, among individuals as well as across generations.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Email
  • Facebook

Describe how your Vision developed over the course of the Refinement Phase.

Our food vision concerns more than food. It is grounded upon co-creative and collaborative approaches which are inclusive, interdisciplinary and integrative. In the process of co-envisioning future aspirations, we engaged partners from various geographic locations who operate on diverse scales of production at different nodes in the food supply chain. The co-envisioning process fostered the discovery of possibilities and opportunities, which flourished our vision with novelties and potentials for sustainability impacts.

The development of our vision was an organic process. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance and imminence of our vision of building a networked food system to enhancing community resilience. A networked food system is built on and at the same time facilitates interactions between nature and human, and among communities of interest, in different parts of the food value chain, with a view to attaining ethical and efficient food production and consumption.

Please provide the names of all organizations you meaningfully partnered with to develop this latest version of your Vision (they contributed at least 10 hours of time to the Vision development during the Refinement Phase).

Farmshare, Reconnect (Social enterprise for local production and social goods)

The Coffee Terrace (Ginger farmer and ginger product producer)

Very Ginger (Ginger product producer)

Taste.Soil (Co-op of local producers and consumers)

Tin Yeah (Retailer, online marketer and influencer of local production)

Yuet Wo Sauce And Preserved Fruits Limited (Traditional sauce and food production and innovation company)

Au Law Organic Commons (Local organic farmer group)

Rolling Books (Kids reading and food education group)

Bright Bird Biodynamic CSA (Biodynamic farm)

Pu Giong Zii (Traditional herbs innovator)

SEE Network (Multimedia company and consultancy)

Colour Brown Coffee (Coffee roaster shop)

Long Coast Seasports (Coffee roaster shop)

Hong Kong Distillery (Hydrosol and essential oil producer)

Island Time (Influencer group in Taiwan promoting new rural lifestyle)

Describe the specific steps you took during the Refinement phase to include different stakeholders to develop your Vision, including a description (age, profile, and total number) of the stakeholders engaged, and how you engaged with each.

Organic Farmers

Local, small-holding organic farmers were engaged as producers (crops & farm products), conservation partners (for habitat management) and also trainers (for food education).

Age range: 30-70; Total number: Around 20


Home-makers

Home-makers in Hong Kong who love food making were invited to join a processing team to develop and produce high-quality processed foods to support local agriculture.

Age range: 40-75; Total number: Around 5


Chefs

Young fine-dining chefs who are keen to promote farm-to-table movement were invited to offer seasonal product advice and develop new farm products.

Age range: <40; Total number: Around 5


Café Owners

Social entrepreneurs who are keen to provide opportunities to youngsters to promote healthy food were invited to collaborate with farmers and food processors to promote local food products.

Age range: <40; Total number: 3


Indigenous Hakka Female Villagers

Indigenous Hakka ladies who have traditional Hakka food making knowledge and techniques were engaged to share with students and members of the public about their food culture.

Age range: >55; Total number: 6


Scientists

Scientists who are interested in the study of local agricultural ecosystems were engaged to provide agriculture system enhancement advice for the team and partners.

Age range: 30-60; Total number: 5


Video Producers

Producers who are interested in local agriculture were engaged to develop the story board and make visual records of rural revitalisation actions.

Age range: 30-40; Total number: 4


Fishermen

Local fishermen who produce fishery products were engaged to explore new fish food products with the team.

Age range: 40-60; Total number: 2


Developers and Property Owners

Private corporates who own and develop commercial property were engaged to explore possibilities of building edible landscapes in their new development projects.

Age range: 30-40; Total number: 5

What signals and trends did you draw from to inform your Vision? Please provide data or examples that back up each signal or trend.

Environment

Climate change has attracted increasing public attention in Hong Kong. Climate events have often disrupted food import, destabilising the food supply to the city. Rapid urbanisation has brought about increasing human encroachment (i.e. housing development) into farmlands. Citizens are becoming aware of the problem of excess food waste and also the importance of sustainable food consumption. There has been a growing appreciation in Hong Kong of the multifunctional nature of agriculture and its implications for sustainability.


Diets

According to Green Monday, a social venture advocating plant-based lifestyle, the vegetarian population in Hong Kong has increased from 2.5% of the total population in 2016 to 3.7% in 2018; in the same year, the flexitarian population accounted for 24% of the total population. Hong Kong has recently witnessed a rapid growth of consumption of “superfood” and other organic food. A handful of agricultural ventures are actively exploring the potential of edible insects as protein-rich food and feed; in fact, MUJI is carrying cricket rice crackers at its online stores.


Economics

Around 90% of Hong Kong’s food supply relies on imports; agriculture accounted for less than 0.1% of the city’s GDP in 2014. While a majority of the citizen-consumers rely on food provided through the supply chain, their food choice is largely monopolised by chain supermarkets and restaurants who are in a strong position to control the prices. About 71,000 Hong Kong households are reportedly unable to afford their most basic food needs.


Culture

Hong Kong citizens’ identity is strongly related to its food culture. Home cooks and local restaurants always emphasise the uniqueness of local ingredients and traditional food. There is a strong demand for a sustainability-oriented food industry which could help contribute to holistic wellbeing. The potential for local agricultural, catering and creative industries to collaborate for the promotion of local food culture and sustainability is substantial.


Technology

The numbers of rooftop gardens and neighbourhood farms are growing in Hong Kong. Local businessmen are also seeking for hydroponic and aeroponic opportunities. The first local plant-based meat brand Omnipork was launched in 2019. Social media marketing and online ordering platforms are on trend in the food industry. Technological advancements will facilitate the emergence of diverse forms of food production and also more efficient marketing channels.


Policy

Local consumers have relied on Mainland China and other neighbouring countries for food supply. The government’s New Agricultural Policy in 2016 was an attempt to boost the sustainable development of agriculture in the city. Farming is now widely recognised as an important biodiversity management strategy. A large area of privately-owned mosaic farmlands was resumed by the government in 2020 due to its high ecological value.

Describe a “Day in the Life” of a key food system actor within your food system in 2050 (e.g., farmer, chef, supply chain actor, food policy actor, etc.).

This is a one-day diary of Emilie, a seven year old girl living in one of the indigenous villages in Hong Kong in May 2050. Emilie as usual started her day with watering the vegetables and fruits her family grows in the backyard. Mum prepared for Emilie her favourite breakfast—some homemade toasts with locally made roselle jam.

Schooling in 2050 adopts a hybrid approach in which Emilie only goes to school two days a week and learns from home for another two days; Fridays are earmarked for field-based learning. Today, Emilie stayed home with mum who was also working from home. After a morning of intensive learning, mum took Emilie out for lunch; on the way they stopped by a community-based co-op to collect some coffee seedlings. The family had joined a home-grown coffee network that provides farming advice as well as processing and sale channels for coffee growing households. Emilie was keen as she planned to focus on this experience in conducting her school project on the implementation of eco-farming certification.

Emilie spent her afternoon on her homework; she of course remembered to harvest some tomatoes to bring to school tomorrow. In response to government policy, every school has their own rooftop farm and kitchen; students are encouraged to share their home-grown vegetables during lunch. Almost all the vegetables the students consume at lunch are grown locally. Emilie also took stock of the remaining tomatoes which she would exchange/sell at the village’s market on coming Sunday.

Emilie, as an indigenous villager, has also inherited some traditional cooking skills from her mum and dad. This evening, Emilie planned to steam some Chinese buns to be served at dinner!

Before they went out for a night safari on an ecological site resumed by the government, Mum asked Emilie and her brother to help with managing the compost which the family keeps as fertilizers for their little family farm.

Environment | How will your food system of 2050 adapt to climate change and remain resilient?

In recent years, Hong Kong citizens have become increasingly aware of the significance of environmental hazards and diseases associated with climate change, and also their adverse impact on food import and food prices. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam banned its rice export to Hong Kong, causing widespread anxiety in the city and, in some occasions, runs for rice and vegetables. In just last year, the African swine fever led to a drop in pork supply and hence an increase in food prices. Currently, locust swarms are hurting agriculture in South Asia, of which the adverse impact might eventually affect Hong Kong. More and more Hong Kong citizens are urging the development of local agriculture as a means to enhance food security. To answer the call, a number of social organisations are now revitalising local farmlands; their efforts are supported by some businesses and social enterprises who see the important roles played by local agriculture. At the same time some young people have engaged in local food production and become the new blood and change-makers for the agricultural industry.


We envision that by 2050, Hong Kong citizens will widely support the vision of sustainable food production and consumption, and act on the vision in their communities. Hong Kong will be able to increase the local food production rate which will not only enhance food security and food safety, but also help reduce carbon emission involved in food miles. In order to conserve the environment while stabilising yields, sustainable farming approaches such as organic farming, multiple cropping, cover cropping, water-efficient irrigation, integrated crop-animal systems, integrated pest management, and farmland habitat management will become popular at the community level. The cultivation of crops that are adaptive to higher temperature and resistant to flood, drought, pests and diseases will be encouraged as a means to cope with the adverse impact of climate change. Farming in controlled environment, such as greenhouse farming and indoor vertical farming, will also become prominent in the local agricultural scene.


We envision broad-based public participation in local farming where citizens take on the dual roles of the food producer/processor and the consumer. The existing farmlands in the rural areas will be conserved for agricultural purposes; the urban space in built-up areas will also be smartly utilised to produce food. People will farm on the rooftops, podiums and even façades of residential, commercial, industrial and institutional buildings. There will be community gardens in open spaces for citizens to grow their crops. Land use planners and landscape architects will have important roles to play in making edible landscapes an integral part of the city. Through engaging in farming activities, the citizens will be connected with nature and one another, and develop a sense of environmental stewardship.


With engagement in food production, citizen will become much more environmentally conscious in making their food consumption choices. They will support local food and sustainably produced imported food, consume fish from sustainable stocks, choose plant-based meat or lab-grown meat instead of traditional meat, reduce consumption of highly-processed food, and avoid generating food waste to the extent possible. Members of the public will be able to recognise sustainability food labels and exercise their consumer power to choose sustainable products; they will also say no to disposable plastic dining ware and excessive food packaging. With green lifestyle generating enough social momentum, the business sector, including food companies and restaurants, will jump on the bandwagon to promote sustainability and to integrate it in their operation.


By 2050, Hong Kong citizens will have developed an appreciation of the value of sustainable production and consumption of food. The society will be committed to reducing food loss and food waste throughout the food journey. Various stakeholders can contribute in this regard. For example, to reduce food wasted in times of crop surplus in local farms, the local food processing industry can help develop ways to prolong the shelf-life of farm products. Markets will be opened for selling edible but not good-looking produce as well as food products that are close to the expiry date. Restaurants will offer dishes which fully utilise the crops. Composting infrastructure will be made conveniently available to the community for recycling food waste into fertiliser.

Diets | How will your food system of 2050 address malnutrition in all its forms (undernutrition, micronutrient deficiency, metabolic disease) for the people living there?

Hong Kong citizens have developed an unhealthy eating habit of consuming too much salt, sugar and fat; the unhealthy diet has caused many health issues. According to a survey conducted by the Department of Health in 2014/15, over 30% of citizens in Hong Kong aged 55 had high blood pressure, and 40% of Hong Kong citizens aged between 18 and 64 were overweight or obese. Hong Kong also has a high rate of related diseases such as diabetes, colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease. The extent of these health problems will only become more serious as the city’s population is ageing rapidly. The need for a more balanced and sustainable dietary habit is imminent. Fortunately, Hong Kong society is becoming more and more health-conscious. Vegetarian meals and “superfood” such as chia seeds, kale and quinoa are getting more popular. People are also more concerned about food safety. It is expected that the local demand for fresh and sustainable food will rise.


We envision that by 2050, dietary education will be widely promoted to the general public; the transparency of food nutrition, food production processes, and distribution chains will have been significantly improved so that consumers are capable of making informed food choices, taking nutritional value and socio-environmental impacts into consideration. As food products containing too much salt, sugar and fat contents are harmful to health, they will be required to carry distinctive warning labels and will be banned for sale at schools and hospitals. These will curb the production of highly-processed food and junk food, and also nudge food companies to switch to healthy food.


By 2050, the development of local food production will allow us to consume more vegetables. Local farming will produce a good variety of seasonal vegetables for consumption, which are fresher and more nutritious than imported vegetables.


We also envision that, by 2050, every Hong Kong citizen will have access to adequate food. The community-wide involvement in growing food will increase food accessibility and affordability. Edible but not good-looking produce as well as good which is close to the expiry date will not be cast away but be sold at lower prices benefitting the lower income groups. Food recovered from restaurants and hotels will be channelled to the needy and the vulnerable. Moreover, the underprivileged groups will be empowered to grow their own food and maybe generate revenue by making food products or meals for sale.


As Hong Kong society has become more affluent, a majority of the citizens often eat out or order takeaway, or rely on domestic helpers for preparing meals. Many citizens have lost, or never had an opportunity to acquire, cooking skills; a consequence is poor diet quality. It is therefore important to improve culinary education for ordinary citizens. We envision that, in 2050, members of Hong Kong society will be in general equipped with minimal levels of knowledge and skills for preparing healthy meals and supporting local produce. Students will receive food and culinary education in schools starting at primary school. Healthy school meals cooked with sustainable or local ingredients will be offered as part of the food and culinary education. Students will also learn to choose healthy and sustainable food products, and to design and prepare nutritious meals. Growing food in schools will be encouraged; students will have opportunities to visit local production farms. Likewise, universities will support sustainable catering and provide facilities and services to encourage students to cook their own meals with sustainable ingredients. The general public will be able to receive culinary training through community cooking classes as well as the mass media and online channels.


Currently food choices on the market are limited because most of the food brands are under a small number of multinational food and beverage giants; the ingredients of many of the food products are very similar. We envision that, in 2050, food choices will be more diversified, with local food as well as eco-friendly and fair-trade food easily available in the market. Caterers will also take their social responsibility to offer dishes with healthy and sustainable ingredients.

Economics | Where and what will the jobs be that support living wages in your future food system of 2050, and how will these jobs impact gender equality?

Agriculture was an important industry in Hong Kong just several decades ago; it has however gone through a drastic decline as a result of rapid industrialisation and urbanisation. In 2014, agriculture accounted for less than 0.1% of Hong Kong’s GDP; the self-sufficiency rate of vegetables was down to 2% in 2016. Over 90% of Hong Kong’s food supply relies on imports; the dependency has raised serious concerns about food security and food affordability.


We envision that, by 2050, Hong Kong will be able to attain a more balanced combination of food imports and locally produced food. While Hong Kong will continue to maintain a reasonable level of food imports from China, Southeast Asia and elsewhere to ensure a stable supply of food, it will at the same time increase the capacity of local food production through supporting high-tech agricultural businesses and promoting local farming. The balanced approach will help turn the conventional food supply chain into a value-generating chain characterized by enhanced interactions between players in the food system. There is already a growing number of slashies in Hong Kong who work simultaneously as part-time chefs/farmers/processors and food designers. We expect that more people will be attracted to take up multiple roles and to collaborate with different stakeholders, forming a closely knitted food supply chain. That individual players taking up multiple roles will diversify and hence enhance the versatility of individual productivity, which will help ensure fairer income levels. The dynamic positioning of these players will also enhance resource efficiency and economic effectiveness of the agricultural industry.


As healthy and sustainable food products become popular, the production of these products will become more lucrative. Consumers will be attracted to foods that are natural and organic, free of additives and preservatives, and with no added sugar. They will look for sustainably produced and fair trade food products which help advance the cause of environmental protection, improve the livelihood of workers, and promote animal welfare. The consumers will also demand more transparent disclosure of ingredient sources and the food journey. As the population of the elderly continues to grow, food allergies will become a serious health issue. One can expect an increasing demand for nutritious food tailor-made for the elderly and free of allergic ingredients. While the conventional large chain supermarkets will probably be selling the more well-known brands, farmers’ markets, wet markets, small shops and niched supermarkets will be enriching the food choices with a variety of alternative sustainable food products sourced from local producers and processors.


With effective use of the social media and online platforms, direct procurement will become the norm. Information and communications technology (ICT) will strengthen the connectivity of both producers and consumers (including organisational buyers), and hence facilitate collaboration. Collaboration will in turn facilitate the exchange of ideas as well as nurture mutual support and trust; this social capital will be instrumental to further scaling-up of local food production and consumption. As producers will have access to market information, they will enjoy a higher income for an improved livelihood.


Takeaway services will become even more popular. As the business of online ordering and delivery of meals grows, more and more eateries and food stores will have strong incentives to collaborate with these food delivery platforms. To cater for the needs of different types of customers, not only cooked food will be delivered but also fresh food and other food products. Some restaurants will be replaced by cloud kitchens which resort to online food ordering and delivery platforms for promoting and delivering their food and collecting big data on customer preferences.


The concept of sharing economy will play an important role in the food system. It will open up the possibilities of farm machinery sharing, kitchen sharing, collective purchasing, small-scale homemade food businesses, and surplus and short-dated food recovery. All these will help better utilise surplus local resources to serve the needs of local communities. Women and young olds who have time and skills to prepare meals can contribute to various community-based food initiatives.


Circular economy will have been developed for the agri-food chain by 2050. The development of local agriculture will generate a strong demand for the recycling of food waste into nutrients. Direct procurement will shorten the food supply chain and thus reduce the amount of food loss and food waste along the chain. The food recovery services made possible by sharing economy will also help reduce food waste. Biodegradable materials will also replace non-biodegradable plastics for food packaging.

Culture | How will your 2050 food system ensure that the cultural, spiritual and community traditions and/or practices in your Place flourish?

Food culture is often a constituent element of cultural identity of a place, the situation in Hong Kong is no exception. While globalisation might have homogenised some elements of Hong Kong’s food culture, we envision that, in 2050, our food culture will continue to sustain and demonstrate its key characteristics: i) it combines a variety of Chinese and overseas cuisines reflecting the status of Hong Kong as a global trade and economic centre; ii) it shows the diversity of cuisines from different parts of China reflecting Hong Kong’s history as a migrant city constitutive of a diverse mix of people from different localities of China; iii) it continues to serve the socializing function of bonding people of different backgrounds from all walks of life.


By 2050, the catering industry will continue to take pride in local food, to treasure local ingredients, and to be innovative in integrating traditional local recipes with overseas culinary practices. The food culture will continue to charm both the locals and tourists. Moreover, the catering sector will go beyond food to pursue other values such as sustainable development. The public will expect the catering industry to play a more active role in promoting environmental and social goods; they are expected to be low-carbon and eco-friendly, to support local farmers, to offer seasonal menus in accordance with the availability of various local produce, to safeguard consumers’ health, to reduce and recycle food waste, to take care of the needs of children and the elderly, to promote gender equality, and to support social inclusion.


Hong Kong will also be sustaining and passing on its traditional food production cultures. We envision that our traditional farming knowledge and techniques which respect nature and emphasise equilibrium and sustainability will be properly recorded and passed on to the younger generations. We will modernize agriculture not by displacing traditional local knowledge but building synergy between traditional and modern. Besides, citizens will learn and also develop an appreciation of our traditional food processing techniques (such as pickled vegetable making and sauce making) and festival food making techniques (such as making glutinous rice dumplings and mooncakes). The popular Hong Kong style milk tea and Chinese herbal tea are among the signature drinks of Hong Kong. The knowledge and skills of making them will be safeguarded and promoted.


As Hong Kong society becomes more and more health conscious, the Chinese traditional view of “food as medicine” will become increasingly valued. The knowledge and wisdom of nursing one’s health with diet regimen will be systematically documented, researched and applied. It will help prevent and treat sub-optimal health, and also facilitate an integration of nutrition education in medical education. More restaurants will incorporate this concept into their menus. Ready-to-cook soup ingredient packs prepared under this concept will be conveniently available in the markets.


Food brings people together; it is a most important aspect of culture. Members of society who share similar sustainability visions and food ideology will form a local sustainable food production network in which different members can demonstrate versatility in invigorating the food system. Besides their roles at work or at home, they may also be a part-time farmer at a nearby local farm or a freelancer helping out at a neighbourhood food processing kitchen. Young people are more capable of multitasking; they can contribute new knowledge and skills to develop innovative ideas for the food sector. They will be engaging in farming, developing new processed food products, making use of modern technologies to better connect different stakeholders, helping with creative branding, design, and packaging, and nurturing social entrepreneurship. Women will be involved in promoting traditional food-making, developing healthy and sustainable recipes, offering cooking classes, engaging in food processing, and transmitting traditional knowledge. Participants in the food supply chain and consumers will collaborate to scale-up local production and consumption and diversify food supply. The connection between producers and consumers will become much closer, thus enhancing urban dwellers’ food literacy and confidence in food safety. Growing food in the proximity will lead to a higher level of engagement in farming and cooking. A higher percentage of Hong Kong citizens will learn about the holistic story of our food, bringing about positive changes in diet and more quality meal time with family. Malnutrition-related health problems will be ameliorated and the associated medical expenses will be reduced.

Technology | What technological advances are needed to transform your food system into one that meets your goals and embodies the values of your Vision in 2050?

Technological advancements will bring about massive changes to the food system. We envision that, by 2050, technology in different forms and domains will be widely applied, facilitating an emergence of diverse forms of local food production. While capital-intensive high-tech food production such as hydroponics, aeroponics, greenhouse farming, plant-based meat and lab-grown meat will become more mature along with the development of impact investment, we envision that small-scale and micro-scale farming will also contribute significantly to the sustainable development of local agriculture in Hong Kong. Appropriate and adaptive technologies such as energy-efficient small farm machinery and small-scale automatic water-efficient irrigation systems will be made available and affordable to farmers for eco-farming and organic farming in a small or micro scale. On-farm renewable energy generation will be developed for low-carbon farming.


Improvements in technology will also encourage domestic cooking. Online apps/tools will provide convenient guides for people who want to learn cooking nutritious meals. The techniques of making traditional food will also be promoted online. Different kinds of multifunctional automatic cooking appliances will make cooking faster and easier; handy and user-friendly cooking machines will allow people to cook at their work place even. Cooking appliances will also become more energy-efficient.


The 3D printing technology for food will be utilised to help people with chewing or swallowing problems take nutritious meals. As the population of the elderly in Hong Kong will continue to grow, we expect that the 3D food printing technology will be developed and become mature for application in Hong Kong by 2050.


To make food journey information transparent to consumers with a view to facilitating food safety monitoring, we envision that technology for food traceability will become mature and widely applied. Consumers will be provided with such essential information as food ingredients, production and transportation chain, carbon footprints, and nutritional contents. The information will allow consumers to better understand the origin of their food and the steps involved in the food supply chain; it will help build trust between stakeholders and empower consumers to make informed food choices.


Restaurants will embrace modern technologies to a significant extent. Automation technologies have already been developed to help with a variety of tasks such as reservation, food ordering, food preparation, dish serving, payment, and dish washing. As Hong Kong embraces knowledge-based economy, these technologies will become more popular in the catering industry and provide the industries with the benefits of lower manpower cost and enhanced services. The big data collected through automated systems will help restaurants continuously improve their business models and marketing strategies. Online procurement platforms will help restaurants source suitable ingredients conveniently and help suppliers promote their food directly to potential buyers.


As many tedious tasks can be handled using automated technologies, chefs and restaurant staff will be able to focus their attention on downstream tasks such as improving brand building, increasing the variety of dishes, engaging in creative design of dishes, sourcing high-quality ingredients, and exploring new cooking techniques. Similarly, as supermarkets and convenient stores become increasingly automated, their management will be able to focus on offering a variety of healthy, sustainable food products, providing food traceability information and enhancing customer experience.


Technology advancements will contribute to reducing waste and facilitating circular economy for the food system. Aquaponics uses fish waste as nutrients for vegetables. By developing local agriculture, food waste can also be recycled to be compost or animal feed. Farm-to-table dining will help reduce food loss during transportation and distribution. With the help of ICT, food procurement and supply will become more direct and efficient, thus reduce food loss in the process. Surplus food can be recovered for supporting the needy. Biodegradable food packaging and dining ware will become the standard of practice.

Policy | What types of policies are needed to enable your future food system?

We envision a governance system that incentivises the multifunctionality of agriculture and facilitates widespread collaboration between stakeholders. On the supply side, agricultural and land use planning policies will have to be adjusted to facilitate the development of local agriculture. For example, existing agricultural lands should be given better protection from urban development. Regulations will be in place to ensure that farmlands be not left idle but fully utilized for active farming. Space will be made available for community-farming in built-up areas. Land system will be updated to better regulate collective farmland ownership.

The government will ensure farmers’ access to basic agricultural infrastructure such as irrigation, roads and electricity. It will also encourage and support agricultural research and development, including the development of appropriate technologies for helping small farmers and small food businesses. Integrated agriculture-aquaculture will be promoted for more efficient use of resources. The government will also help open up sufficient marketing channels in different districts for farmers to sell their agricultural products efficiently and directly. Recognising that food processing is an important way to add value to farm produce and reduce wastage of food, the government will make the food processing licencing requirements more friendly to farmers so that farmers can engage in small-scale processing and packaging. The government will also adjust its policies to allow farmers to reasonably integrate other relevant elements such as catering and accommodation services into their farm sites.

Farming in built-up areas will be promoted. Spaces for community farming will be reserved during the land planning and design stage. Government buildings, public housing estates, schools and hospitals will provide farming and cooking spaces as well as food waste collection points and treatment facilities. Government will gradually extend the same requirements to private developments by tightening the lease conditions.

The government will also endorse sustainable food production practices. There will be registered certifications on eco-friendly farming methods and fair-trade practices for local production. Food and farming education will be included in school curricula as an essential part of the whole-person education.

On the demand side, laws and policies will be in place to ensure a right to food for the entire population. There will be regulations to stabilize food prices. A food sufficiency index comprising different kinds of local agricultural products will be in place to constantly update citizens on the availability of local food. The lower income groups will have access to adequate fresh and nutritious food choices to maintain a balanced diet. Training opportunities will be provided to encourage members of these groups to grow food for themselves and maybe to earn some income by engaging in food businesses.

To enhance food safety, regulations on food traceability will be implemented to track food products from farm to fork. Legislations will be in place to regulate GM food, unhealthy food products, and new foods such as plant-based meat, lab-grown meat, and 3D-printed food. Legislations on standard working hours will be enacted to help citizens achieve a better work-life balance and have sufficient time to engage in domestic cooking. To promote sharing economy related to food, the government will review existing regulations to remove unnecessary restrictions, and to add monitoring mechanisms to ensure a smooth operation of the sharing economy.

With government taking the lead, procurement guidelines on sustainable food consumption will be adopted. A list of unsustainably produced food items that should be avoided will be compiled and updated on regular basis.

Waste reduction policy will also be adjusted; instead of letting the city’s food waste be dumped into the landfills, policy measures that facilitate waste-to-energy will be scaled up. An interdepartmental collaboration approach will be adopted to facilitate effective coordination in implementing different aspects of the food policy.

Describe how these 6 Themes connect with and influence one another in your food system.

Environment & Diets: Citizens will grow their own crops. Their environmental awareness will increase and they will support sustainable food consumption and plant-based diets.

Environment & Economics: Local agriculture will be developed to enhance food security. It will facilitate the development of circular economy.

Environment & Culture: Local agriculture will connect citizens with nature, and nurture a green lifestyle. Restaurants will favour local ingredients and will seek to contribute to sustainability.

Environment & Technology: Technological development will make agriculture and the food industry more eco-friendly. Composting technology will be widely adopted.

Environment & Policy: Agricultural and planning policies will facilitate the development of local agriculture. A food sufficiency index will be in place to constantly update citizens on the availability of local food.

Diets & Economics: There will be a high market demand for healthy and sustainable food and food tailor-made for the elderly. Sharing economy will allow people to earn income by preparing homemade meals for others.

Diets & Culture: Hong Kong’s cuisine will continue to be known for its fusion of Eastern and Western dietary characteristics. The Chinese traditional view of “food as medicine” will become increasingly valued.

Diets & Technology: Improvements in cooking appliances will encourage cooking. The 3D food printing will help the elderly take nutritious meals. Online information platforms will facilitate channelling surplus food to the needy.

Diets & Policy: Food education will be provided to students and the public. There will be policies to encourage on-site cooking at schools and workplaces, and to regulate the selling of unhealthy food products.

Economics & Culture: Traditional farming knowledge will contribute to agricultural development; our diversified food culture will remain an important component of our economy. The society will develop a mutual aid culture for enhancing local sustainable food production.

Economics & Technology: ICT and the social media will help create direct marketing platforms for food. Technological advancements will also contribute to waste reduction and the development of circular economy for the food system.

Economics & Policy: There will be regulations to stabilize food prices, and policies to support and monitor web-based food trade and the sharing economy in relation to food.

Culture & Technology: Techniques of making traditional food will be promoted online for people to learn conveniently.

Culture & Policy: The government will support certifications on sustainable food production and consumption. Such a policy will cultivate a sustainable food consumption culture. The government will also promote and help pass on the local traditional food cultures.

Technology & Policy: There will be policies to support both the high-tech food production and the appropriate and adaptive technologies for small- and micro-scale farming.

Describe any trade-offs you may have to make within your system to attain your Vision by 2050.

Our vision of a networked food system operates in an organic manner at various levels relying on active, frequent and coordinated participation from its members and stakeholders. The system will be very different from the existing food supply chain. The society as a whole—from community members to government structure—would need a paradigm shift to accommodate the new system involving a slew of innovative social-economic and management models. As each member of the community will play different roles at different levels which are closely connected in the system, they will need to be adaptive to these new models. Individual citizens’ time investment in communication at different levels for various purposes may increase; the increased interaction between the individuals might in some occasions result in conflicts and competitions. The distinction between work and leisure would become less obvious. Members may also be required to give up some of the existing short-term benefits of efficiency and convenience in their daily life. Members will need to comply with more formal and informal protocols at different levels; individuals’ accountability will also be elevated in the networked system.


The abundance of food produce and products might also trigger intense competition in the market, adversely affecting the stability and viability of the food business. Technological advancements may cause people to become more reliant on technologies, reducing their ability to solve problems on their own. Increased online transactions might impose issues of cyber security and privacy. Those who have limited access to technologies and e-commerce might lag behind. Some of the labour intensive traditional food production job opportunities might be lost because large-scale productions will adopt more automation technologies.


As the food system becomes more complex, new policies, regulations and laws will need to be in place to monitor the new technologies and socio-economic models, as well as the new forms of interaction among different stakeholders. People will need to be more adaptive to these policy and regulations as well as the fast-changing and complex contexts.

3 Years | Describe 3 key milestones that you would need to achieve within the next three years for your Vision to be on track?

A first of its kind co-kitchen incubation platform will be successfully established in Hong Kong. This platform, located in the rural areas of Hong Kong, will provide training opportunities, food processing facilities, branding and sales channels for capacity building of farmers and processors, particularly the underprivileged groups in the districts. The co-kitchen will operate as a non-profit that draws upon community collaborative efforts in the process. It will incubate both food producers and processors to overcome social stigmas, knowledge gaps, legal obstacles and other barriers that prevent them from entering the mainstream economy. The co-kitchen will help establish a new brand of these local farmers and producers; the brand will help them gain better recognition from society and increase the market values of their products. Perhaps more importantly it will also raise the society’s awareness of local food production. Facilitated by this co-kitchen platform, an increasing number of small-scale farmers will be able to trade their goods and products through the networked food system, shortening the physical, environmental and supply chain distance. The positive impact of the co-kitchen will facilitate the establishment of the first edible landscape in downtown property units collectively managed by its users. The edible landscape will not only provide a pleasant and aesthetic environment for urban biodiversity, but also improve the well-being of its users through their involvement in its management. One may become a producer/processor/consumer in maintaining the landscape. All these will help build a mini networked food system within the community.

10 Years | What progress will you need to make—by 2030—that would set your Vision up to become a reality by 2050?

With the encouraging results of the achievements in the first three years, the scale of the incubation platform and edible landscape will be further expanded to most of the urban areas in Hong Kong.


The team will mainstream the products from the co-kitchen incubation platform in the market and further develop long-term socio-economic models in society to provide alternative food products to consumers, and to gradually transform the sales and procurement patterns of the monopolized chain stores. These efforts will foster changes in the food economy and the food consumption behaviour of citizens.


We will produce an eco-agricultural manual applicable to the Asia context to guide farmers in practising eco-farming. It will facilitate the development of eco-farming in Hong Kong, and further increase the market share of local food products. The adoption of eco-farming in Hong Kong will increase the demand for a systematic composting process to support and complete the food production-consumption-composting cycle. Citizens’ actions will contribute to bottom-up advocacy for a new urban land-use policy in the underground space to include local composting facilities (supported by technological advancements). These will bring long-term impacts to not only the local food system and people’s livelihood, but also the building of a sustainable city.

If awarded the $200,000 prize what would you do with it?

The prize money will be spent on supporting the HSBC Rural Sustainability Programme’s Rural-in-Action Start-up Scheme initiated by our team. This start-up scheme is currently supporting five start-up groups in Hong Kong to act on their innovative ideas to foster rural-urban interaction and sustainability of our city’s food system. The scheme adopted co-creative and collaborative approaches in the incubation process. Training opportunities, community networks, promotion and publicity, and professional advice will be provided to the selected start-up partners. The prototypes developed in this pilot scheme will be ready by the time the results of this prize are announced. The prize money will be shared with at least 10 start-up groups who have proposed innovative ideas relevant to our networked food system vision. To further scale up the impacts of the prize, we will provide assistance to each of the groups in seeking matching funds for implementing their ideas on a larger scale. With the incubation and facilitation of our Centre, a co-creation model between these start-up groups and our team will be fully developed to act on and materialize our networked food vision.

If you are chosen as a Top Visionary, The Rockefeller Foundation would like to share your Vision widely with a global audience. What would you like the world to learn from your Vision for 2050?

Food has always been part of our daily necessity; we, however, often do not appreciate that food production and consumption processes are a constituent element of our civilizations.


Envisioning the future of our food system prompts us to critically reflect upon our needs—physiological, psychological, and self-esteem—embedded in the relationships between human and nature and among members of communities. Our food vision is a sustainable, living and cyclical evolving process of food production and consumption nested within communities of stakeholders at different levels. We believe that a fair and open networked food system can be formed through co-creation and collaboration; such a system will thrive and further reach out to connect more communities of interest. The system will not only help build community resilience, but also drive sustainable development of society in other domains; its impacts go way beyond food, and 2050.


The key to our success is our strong passion for local food, perseverance and faith towards community-based actions that can offer visionary insights to the global community. We believe the vision will be achieved, and inspire other sustainability visions in the years ahead.

Please share a visual that communicates the structure and operation of your food system in 2050. Describe the visual.

This is a simplified representation of the complex food system we envision for Hong Kong in 2050. Among the many stakeholders who will contribute to enhancing the sustainability of the city’s local food system, the six core groups shown in the diagram have the most important roles to play. A networked system will be developed to address many of today’s interwoven challenges. Food, as a common living heritage, will bond the society together for a resilient, inclusive and sustainable future.

Attachments (1)

Full Refined Vision_HK2050+_A Networked Food System for Community Resilience.pdf

In this document, we use three imaginative cases to illustrate our vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for Hong Kong by 2050.

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Sianna Yiu -

I believe that your innovation is valuable because it focuses upon empowering community members to participate in agriculture and food production to help improve the food system of Hong Kong. Witnessing the emphasis on clean eating and improved health infiltrate American culture in the past few years, I have come to believe that culture is a powerful tool when looking to shape the food industry. The strength of this model is that it plays on the strength of culture as a few individuals begin actively producing and sharing food with their neighbors and being communicators of the broader communal vision. Through a few people, the food culture of Hong Kong can change from the bottom up. Upon looking through the different entries in this competition, I was drawn to yours due to the simplicity of bringing the food system 'back-to-basics', evoking imagery of ancient villagers growing their own food, developing new methods, and sharing their crops with others. I see this collaborative approach to food production and consumption being a valuable model not only for Hong Kong, but in other communities as well. Additionally, this food system is not dependent on extraordinary new technology that may be expensive to produce or difficult to implement. It is a simple shift in the way that we already approach food from reliance on imports to a reliance on communities.
One difficulty of this model is that it is dependent on the participation of the community. Individual consumers will need to take the initiative to participate. I think that widespread public participation, as I mentioned earlier, will need to start with a few key individuals. It might be beneficial to incentivize a few individuals and educate them about the initiative extensively in order to motivate them to be key examples of stakeholders/community members. As time goes on, it might also be beneficial to provide some sort of cost-free training in order to equip more people to become involved in food production and become food literate. I think that the largest challenge with this model would be lack of public participation, so I would place a large emphasis on promotion and education about what benefit your system could have on Hong Kong.
The other area that I believe might need to be addressed is how to handle the friction between the continued existence of both local and franchised food establishments and this new home-based model of producing and consuming food. How will the shift happen within supermarkets from their current offerings to sustainably produced and fair trade food products?
If this plan is successful, people will have less demand for the imports and food establishments that they previously relied on. However, old habits die hard. It might take time for diets and mindsets to change. When they do, though, my concern would be that the restructuring of the economy (less business for establishments previously relied on for food) would have profound effects. Ultimately though, I believe it would be a positive change due to the possibility of dual roles in food system players but I think it would be beneficial to develop some sort of way to boost employment opportunities.
The vision that you convey is effective and I believe that this is a cultural shift that will probably be welcomed by many people. I hope that you are able to implement this food system and that the people of Hong Kong are positively affected.

Here is a link that includes a sketch I created that casts vision for your food system:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ignDcNrZvZnlAtNKmID_5pzXZcAWZ737o-CJC0mUimk/edit?usp=sharing

Micaylyn

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Photo of Sianna Yiu
Team

Thank you so much for your encouragement and valuable suggestions! Your comments are of great help. We have considered them and have now submitted our refined Vision.

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