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Micaylyn commented on HK2050+: A Networked Food System for Community Resilience

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: