Growing enjoyment of hobby farming

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 April, 2011, 12:00am


Don't be surprised if one of your friends invites you home for dinner and serves you home-grown vegetables.

It might not seem possible for urban Hongkongers to grow their own food, but hobby farming is becoming a trend.

People have always loved to get away from the city during weekends, and enjoy the quiet life in the countryside. Now, during their spare time, they are planting fruit and vegetables at leisure farms.

Sam Lau Yuk-san, owner of the Li Sun Garden leisure farm at Lau Fau Shan, Yuen Long, has 0.8 hectares of farmland that he cultivates for fun.

Three years ago, friends who also enjoy farming asked if he would let them plant some fruit and vegetables on his farm. Lau agreed, and as word spread, more and more people asked to farm on his land.

Seeing an opportunity to allow more people to enjoy hobby farming, Lau began to rent out his farmland. He divided it into sections for tenants to plant whatever crops they liked.

'I teach the tenants farming techniques, provide them with tools, seeds and fertiliser and help take care of their crops during weekdays when they are working in the city,' Lau said.

'I charge HK$200 a month for each section.'

Lau collects food leftovers from restaurants to create compost and uses chicken droppings from chicken farms as organic fertiliser.

Children born in Hong Kong's concrete jungle seldom have the chance to get in touch with nature, and the farm provides them with this opportunity.

'Many tenants are families with children,' Lau said. 'Parents want to educate their children about nature, and teaching them to grow food is an excellent way to do so. Retired people who enjoy planting vegetables also rent land from me.'

Tenants can eat their produce on site.

'I have barbecues and hotpots, so tenants can enjoy their harvest here,' Lau said. 'Of course they can also take the vegetables home to enjoy.'

Leisure farms in the New Territories are often no more than 90 minutes from the city by public transport.