Most of us have known that regenerative farming is feasible and sustainable when it comes to effectively solving crop issues from the root by restoring soil and environmental health. This scientifically proven practice would enable farmers to grow healthier crops while spending less money on chemical inputs to cope with problems such as pests, diseases and weeds.
Take Eva’s farm as a specimen. Eva has been practicing regenerative farming with support from the Restore Fund Program since September 2022. But prior to that, she was already implementing RF practices with Ms. Josephine from Homeland Green's guidance. And we can tell she fully enjoys the outcome of the practices. She actively engages in the promotion of regenerative farming because she believes its practices have truly improved many of the previous issues as witnessed on the farm.
“What I want to do is to let more people know about regenerative farming. It benefits me a lot and I hope more people can learn about it.”
While showing us the crops on her farm, Eva explained that after applying regenerative farming practices like mulching, composting and nutrient amendments, plant health has significantly improved and most crops are free from pests, diseases and nutrient deficiency as witnessed from the shiny, bright green and uniform leaves of her crops. She was glad to replace her old farming methods, like applying chicken manure as fertiliser, with these new farming techniques so that her crops have higher resistance to extreme weather, and more significantly, the fruits are finally free of fruit flies!
Eva’s current regenerative practices: temperature tracking of her own compost (left), and growing legumes and beans for nitrogen fixation (right)
However, she expressed during our interview that one of the biggest challenges she has encountered is that it is hard to convince her family and friends to try regenerative farming despite her harvests being obviously healthier and tastier. They tend to stick with their conventional practices as it is hard for many farmers to give up what they’re used to doing for something new and unfamiliar as their livelihood depends on consistency in yields, and buyers.
Generally, farmers may not have the means to trial new techniques and practices, and instead, they're often sold quick fixes like pesticides and herbicides to treat symptoms. Under our Restore Fund Program, farmers would be subsidised within a 12-month transition period to trial and practice RF on their farms, almost completely risk-free. Even if their yields end up poorly, they would have actually saved up from not having to purchase expensive soil-degrading inputs. She added that even her husband had to spend quite some time getting used to these new farming techniques, but despite that, Eva wishes to continuously learn from trial and error, as she strongly believes regenerative farming to be very meaningful work.
“It’s not for the money, of course. Working as a farmer, there is no such thing as a stable income. But I hope I can continue to grow my crops regeneratively and show everyone it is really working. I want to help promote it.”
Eva proudly presenting her massive gourd and winter melon on her farm
Hong Kong’s confidence in regenerative farming is still developing, but do we have enough time to solve issues of food insecurity while combating climate change if no actions are taken? If regenerative farming can effectively improve crop, environment and human health, what are the best ways for us to continue promoting this to agricultural stakeholders? What can we do to stop environmental deterioration done by industrial systems and demonstrate that growing food that works with nature is, in fact, possible?
We can all make an impact by supporting locally and regeneratively grown food. As consumers, we hold great power to shape our food economy, and gradual conversion of our food choices is one of the best ways to kick-start this process. We can start by supporting food businesses that have joined campaigns engaging in sustainable and regenerative farming, such as ZFPA’s 1% Pledge campaign. Ultimately, our mission is to get everyone involved in climate action by creating a renewable food economy that restores our planet. And despite the challenges ahead, ZFPA looks forward to continuing funding and providing technical support to more farmers in their transition to regenerative farming made possible with your generous participation.
Food is everyone’s business, and we must work to protect it. Together, let’s eat our way out of the climate crisis! For more information, please visit ZFPA’s website and IG: @zerofoodprint.asia