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2023-24 Restore Fund Program: How the Journey Begins

ZFPA is a hospitality-led organisation aiming to redesign our food system that combats climate change. Supporting and connecting with our primary food production, the farms, we act with the science of regenerative agriculture that provides solutions to safeguard our food system and restore the climate. Having your support from the 1% pledge with our partnering restaurants or food & beverage businesses such as Hyatt Centric, Mott 32, and Mono, we are now officially launching the second round of our Restore Fund Program to support our farmers with their transition to regenerative farming!


Zero Foodprint Asia restore fund roadmap

How the Restore Fund Program works


After reviewing the application and conducting in-person interviews as part of a vigorous selection process, we are now ready to announce the final 6 recipients of this year’s Restore Fund! The grantees are:


  1. Au Law Organic Farm

  2. Cham Shan Farm

  3. Eva Farm

  4. Noah’s Forest

  5. Organic Farmula

  6. Sangwoodgoon


Check out the farm profiles here to find out who they are!


Applications

Unlike last year, this year’s program focused on farms solely in Hong Kong.


Three project applicants who were able to witness remarkable results from last year’s Restore cycle saw their crop quality, length of harvest season, and overall soil health improve under regenerative systems. Moreover, the learning group set up by Homeland Green provided a safe space for each of the farmers to exchange their experiences, and ask technical questions more freely. Practices they have been implementing primarily include nutrient management, good quality compost and mulch application. With last year’s experience, farmer Pat Fan, Eva and Vienna are keen to continue receiving ZFPA’s support while allowing their consultants, TAPs and lab team to fully document the biological progress into its second year.


regenerative farmers from Hong Kong

Last year’s Restore Fund grantees: Pat Fan, Eva and Vienna (Left to right)


Along with the three repeating grantees, we’re also excited to welcome three new farmer grantees to join our program. Many of them heard of us from their farming communities and have been curious about how the processes can lead to such beneficial outcomes. With varying expectations on how they would like to see improvements on their farms, one thing is consistent; all applicants hope to see soil life return and that their crops become more resilient to pests and climate change impacts.


Regenerative farmers from Hong Kong

New Restore Fund grantees: Kelvis, “Big Sister” and Sze Chung


TAP onboard

The program would surely not succeed without the help of our Technical Assistance Providers (TAPs). Guided by Mrs. Josephine Mak Wen-Ning and HLG volunteer consultants like Hilda, TAPs are responsible for not only the documentation and administrative work of each farm’s implementation of regenerative measures, but also the monitoring of the measures’ progress.


This year, we will have up to 8 TAPs assigned to assist our farmer grantees. With Hilda’s support at the beginning of the summer, we prepared a TAP onboard pack which includes information on main duties, project deliverables, meetings and visit schedules etc. Together with Mrs. Mak, the initial training will guide TAPs on how to comprehensively support a farmer’s gradual transition to regenerative farming for a period of 12 months. Our TAPs will also report progress and attend regular meetings to ensure the implementation of the measures are proper and aligned with principles under regenerative agriculture.


Interviews

In August, we conducted 2 visits for farm interviews to learn more about the applicant farms’ needs, situations and feasibility for proper adoption of regenerative farming practices. This is essential for our selection committee to suggest the most appropriate measures and budget for our applicants, and how they can be more prepared for the transition to regenerative agriculture.


Various farm views in Hong Kong

Inspection of farm development, soil health, water source and crop health etc (R-Farm and Kau’s Farm)


We realised under climate change and thus more extreme weather, some of the farms eventually encounter increasing amounts of crop failure despite their rich experiences in organic farming in the past. During the farm tours they gave us, we discussed possible underlying reasons for certain agronomic issues and solutions appropriate for each problem.


Selection process


This year’s selection committee is made up of experts and professionals across the food, sustainable agriculture and environment sector. With their experiences, as well as cultural and technical expertise in understanding nature-first farming, they are able to professionally address the challenges smallholder farms encounter while assessing their ability and eagerness to experiment regenerative practices on their farms.


Our selection criteria includes:


  1. Degree of soil health improvement

  2. Opportunity for enhancing both below-ground and above-ground biodiversity

  3. Readiness for implementation

  4. Possibility for increasing soil carbon sequestration potentials


By evaluating the farms according to our selection criteria, we can learn about the farmers’ readiness to convert, with their full acknowledgment of the anticipated challenges and cultural changes. With some help from our consultant and TAPs, they can then step into the world of regenerative farming with less hesitancy.


The science behind regenerative farming might be new to HK farmers, but our farmer applicants have all shown keen interest and confidence with the need to change the way we farm in HK. As they expect to face further uncertainties into the future whether due to land use change pressures, or non-controllable impacts such as climate change, regenerating not only soils, but the souls of our farming communities has never been more urgent.


regenerative practices including mulching, composting, and nutrient amendments

Regenerative practices: compost making, wood chips mulching and nutrient amendment


We take this chance to congratulate all of the Restore Fund grantees and look forward to following their progress as these projects begin to kick off in October! Please stay tuned and check out our project page on each of the farmer grantees’ profiles as well as further updates!


Together, let’s regenerate!

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