The Story of a Rooftop Farm

7 10 2012

I’ve been working as an editorial intern at the International Herald Tribune, the global edition of the New York Times. Here’s my article on rooftop farming in Hong Kong, published on the the IHT and NYT on 4th October 2012 — coincidentally, the IHT’s 125th anniversary! 

Osbert Lam, owner of the rooftop operation City Farm, on his daily watering round.

In Organic-Hungry Hong Kong, Corn as High as an Elevator’s Climb

HONG KONG — Kimbo Chan knows all about the food scandals in China: the formaldehyde that is sometimes sprayed on Chinese cabbages, the melamine in the milk and the imitation soy sauce made from hair clippings. That is why he is growing vegetables on a rooftop high above the crowded streets of Hong Kong.

“Some mainland Chinese farms even buy industrial chemicals to use on their crops,” Mr. Chan said. “Chemicals not meant for agricultural uses at all.”

As millions of Hong Kong consumers grow increasingly worried about the purity and safety of the fruits, vegetables, meats and processed foods coming in from mainland China, more of them are striking out on their own by tending tiny plots on rooftops, on balconies and in far-flung, untouched corners of highly urbanized Hong Kong.

Continue reading here.

Also related to this article is my IHT Rendezvous blog post:

Up on the Roof, a Real-Life Farmville

HONG KONG — Imagine yourself on a sidewalk in the center of a crowded city. It’s summer, the afternoon rush hour, you’re surrounded by buses, cars and delivery trucks, and they’re blasting you with waves of hot, nasty exhaust fumes.

Now imagine stepping away from that chaotic scene, ducking into an elevator and riding up a few dozen floors where you emerge to find a green oasis of vegetables and flowers — a rooftop farm.

You can continue reading here.

The rooftop farm at night. In the background hang colourful lanterns for the Mid-Autumn Festival.

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