Angelica then briefly introduced the topic and the importance of supporting local farms and producers. Buying local means you get the freshest produce while supporting the livelihoods of local businesses. It enables you to get to know local farmers and support the community. It also reduces food miles and haulage costs, thereby reducing GHG emissions. Purchasing seasonally brings many benefits. It helps fish stocks that may be in decline. Seasonal consumption also means eating in alignment with your natural surroundings which customers will appreciate and enjoy. It ultimately means you are less reliant on food imports which improves food security.
A great turnout from our Food Made Good HK Members and Partners
Given Hong Kong’s unique location, sourcing locally means purchasing within a 500km radius that takes in a large swathe of Guangdong Province. Buying locally-grown food that’s in season gives you the most nutrient-rich and highest-quality ingredients. Food businesses can work with their suppliers to source from local, independent producers. They can also plan their menus around seasonal availability and regularly change their menu to feature seasonal specials.
Seasonal produce can also be stored throughout the year by applying traditional preservation techniques such as curing, smoking, fermenting and drying.
Sourcing locally in Hong Kong means purchasing within a 500km radius
The Go Local initiative to celebrate indigenous food
The first speaker was Katie Chick from HKU’s Centre for Civil Society and Governance who talked about what the university is doing to promote Go Local. She began by stressing the ethical and community benefits of buying locally – then talked about the Incubator Farm that the centre runs in Li Chi Wo with the mission of rebuilding local production capacity and resilience.
This 6-hectare farm seeks to pioneer new modes of farming and food production, and also train people in local agricultural skills. Rice, tomatoes, vegetables, bananas and even coffee are grown here. The farm has collaborated with Coffee Lab Asia to ensure its coffee has a sustainable value chain. The centre also runs its LocoKITCHEN, located near the farm. Moreover it supplies white radish to local restaurants through its HK Robert Go! initiative.
Experimental Farm, Lai Chi Wo has restored 6-hectares of farmland
100% local and seasonal at Haoma Bangkok
The next speaker was Chef DK from Haoma restaurant in Bangkok who needs no introduction. He began by recognising the opportunity that Covid lockdowns created to explore new sustainable food practices – then dispelled the notion that embracing sustainability is more expensive and requires additional work.
Through its ‘No One Hungry’ campaign, the team at Haoma served over 300,000 free meals to those in need during Covid. The restaurant also champions the idea that food is medicine and serves nutritious food to people with serious ailments.
The restaurant grows 100% of the ingredients for its tasting menu in its own gardens, including a lush greenhouse at the rear of the building. Haoma also farms its own fish at the restaurant in a 1,000-litre tank using harvested rainwater and recycled food waste. The fish excretions are in turn used as fertilizer in the restaurant’s vegetable gardens, creating a virtuous circle. Haoma recently acquired some land in Bangkok that is home to 1,000 chickens, 14 goats and 12 cows – allowing it to source higher-quality meat.
Haoma is currently focused on water harvesting, shortening its supply chains by growing everything locally to reduce its carbon footprint, and more efficient waste management at every level. It has also installed 12 solar panels that power the restaurant’s air-conditioners and electrical appliances. Almost everything in the restaurant has been either recycled or bought second hand.
After Chef DK’s inspiring talk, a spirited discussion ensued with many great questions being asked and illuminating answers provided.
Haoma repurposes food waste into fish food
The Sustainability Meet-Up Series is a monthly gathering designed to educate and empower the Hong Kong foodservice community – chefs, restaurateurs, FOH, BOH, suppliers and sustainability leads.
Inspired by our framework, the programme is curated to inspire the community, in novel ways through which they can bring in small but significant changes to their sourcing choices, menu design, supplies, just to name a few. We will be organising talks and activities delivered by sustainable food industry leaders, on various themes linked to UN International Days and our three pillars – Sourcing, Society and the Environment.
Thanks to our support InvestHK and our sponsor Fresh Accounting.