If you’ve been following us here at www.zerofoodprintasia.org or @zerofoodprint.asia on social media, you might have snuck a peek at our industry launch at Eaton Workshop two months ago. Since then, we’ve been busy working on our programs, meeting with farmers, advisors, taking our partners to visit farms and speaking to our industry peers on the importance of regenerative agriculture. However, we still had not had a chance to introduce ZFPA to the local media – all that changed on October 20th at The Mills Fabrica. We hosted close to 60 Chinese press, farmer organisations and those in the F&B industry and set about changing the narrative within the local market.
After a warm welcome from our hosts at The Mills Fabrica, ZFPA Executive Director Peggy Chan kicked off proceedings doing what she does best – dropping facts on the negative impact that the food industry has on the climate crisis, but also giving hope as to how we as an industry can do better. Starting with our reliance on food imports in HK (where over 97% of our food comes from), to how HK used to grow 2/3rds of its food to feed our people back in the 1960’s, and that 95% of what we eat comes from the soil – setting the ground (no pun intended) for the introduction of ZFPA’s mission.
Climate anxiety is an emerging topic, especially amongst the up-and-coming generation.
Peggy discussed the most recent disasters that can be attributed to the ever-changing climate, and how this will become the norm should we continue business as usual. She then further doubled down on how we as a city that imports over 97% of what we eat, that relies on food grown by other countries, are simply ill equipped in the face of climate change. Rising sea levels destabilizing infrastructures will cost governments and businesses billions in reparations.
At ZFPA, we realise how lucky we are to be surrounded by many experts, who are either on our advisory board, board of directors or are in their journey of learning as restaurant partners. We would love to share every conversation and meeting we have with them, as we learn so much from them. For this launch, we had prominent food writer and founder of Island East Market/Capsule 48/Honestly Green, Janice Leung Hayes, moderate the panel. The panelists consisted of soil expert Ms. Josephine Mak from Homeland Green, HK Farmer’s Pride Founder David Leung and Mott 32’s Executive Chef Lee Man Sing. And FYI – they did not miss.
Chef Lee spoke about how this is a new concept for him and his team and that he is learning about the importance of regenerative agriculture not just in the future, but NOW. He is excited at the prospect of working with local farmers and meeting some at our launch has only inspired him to do more. Farmer David as always spoke from the heart about the way our agricultural landscape has changed and how farmers here in HK are ageing and there is a vacuum. If we don’t start to look after our soils, and make farming more appealing for the next generation, HK will lose one of its oldest vocations and our reliance on imports will be 100%. Ms. Josephine speaks with so much conviction and knowledge about regenerative agriculture and how these indigenous practices in itself revives soil ecosystems and why this is important for the future of humanity. She spoke from experience in helping farmers shift from conventional/organic practices to regenerative and the benefits of this.
If we don’t have healthy soils, we can’t grow healthy food.
Today a number of companies are attempting to fulfill challenging sustainability goals and meet the increasing demand of consumers looking to purchase from sustainably responsible and transparent businesses.
Sourcing local is key, but we can’t abide by such a practice if our local foodways have been devastated. The only way we can restore the damage is through supporting farmers and educating our communities about the state of our food system and encouraging them to implement best practices in order to restore it. It’s about time that we truly recognize that we are privileged to be living the lifestyles we do and ultimately, it is our responsibility to initiate transformative change.