The writing of this edition of Urban Diary began with a basket of freshly-harvested lotus seed heads.
Fresh and handsome, their beauty stunned me. They landed at Green Shop on Kennedy Street in Wan Chai shortly before I got there for my regular grocery shopping one recent evening. Very quickly I found out they’re going to be used to make the Mid-Autumn Festival classic treat – lotus paste mooncakes. While the lotus seed heads were grown in Nan Chung which is close to Hong Kong’s border with Shenzhen at Sha Tau Kok, the kitchen for making the mooncakes is at the grocer’s on Kennedy Street.
This little discovery during a shopping routine was the genesis of a video, Grown in Hong Kong, that we’d go on to shoot about mooncakes that are made locally with domestically-grown lotus plants. We managed to beat the clock and released a short version of the video several days before the Mid-Autumn Festival last month. We were able to produce a video so quickly thanks to the kind assistance of Uncle Ho and Fai Gor, two organic farmers who grow the lotus plants in Nan Chung, the staff at Green Shop, as well as Lam Sum and Ocean Ho, respectively the video’s director and sound man.
For this edition of Urban Diary, we have the full version of the film for our readers. We also have the pleasure to introduce to you Fai Gor, as well as Sze-fun, Ah Ping and Ah Ching, three Wan Chai housewives who are part of the mooncakes team.
Grown in Hong Kong tells a story about a new economy that has already taken shape. Thanks to the diligent joint effort of organic farmers in the New Territories and a group of Wan Chai housewives, health and environmentally-conscious city dwellers can enjoy locally-grown and lovingly-made mooncakes under the full moon.
This new economy has great potential to grow and it can diversify Hong Kong’s narrow economic base. It can provide more options to our workforce and bring healthy and environmentally-friendly food to the city. Renewed agriculture in Hong Kong can also help preserve habitats for flora and fauna as well as green spaces for the people
With all these benefits, Urban Diary believes it is important for Hong Kong to have an agriculture policy before we hastily start a new round of new town construction and destroy our precious rural landscapes and natural habitats.