Homegrown Foods (HGF) provides a platform for organic vegetables and fruits from the local farm, those grown by the Hong Kong industry in China, and even organic fruits and vegetables from Italy, they are homegrown by us too! Our product line has local fresh chicken without hormones and antibiotics, 100% locally raised black pork, and local high-quality fish , organic certified fish, local fresh eggs, and handmade agricultural products carefully prepared by our special top chefs, etc.
At the same time, HGF bring some producers of local agriculture together to reverse the current stagnation of local organic agriculture by setting an agricultural benchmark and advocating the benefits of better production methods of regenerative farm with high quality and sustainable supply. Therefore, we prioritise locality, supplemented by organic agricultural products produced in China with integrity, certification and carefully select them on our platform for consumers to choose.
As early as 2014, HGF began to contact local farms who share our vision and Hong Kong farmers who operate local organic vegetables. The coverage extends from the northern New Territories of Hong Kong to Yunnan, Hunan, Shaanxi, etc. Products from these farms have subsequently passed tests such as the Hong Kong Organic Certification Corporation (HKORC), supermarket chains and the Consumer Council, and they stand up still by have stood the test of "time". Our relationship with organic vegetable supply farms has been a well established relationship. We incorporated the clean and sustainable product from Yunnan, China into the product line by mid-2019. Then, we incorporated Uncle Ping and Mr Li's WOrange
Around 2015, I had just left the workplace. Because of the introduction of a lady who was selling produce from local farms in Tuen Mun, I came into the farmland of "Wing Hing Wai" with my friends to become a full-time farmer and started "organic" farming. Frankly, it was just a muddled coincidence to start farming in an "organic" way. At that time, everyone didn't know much about "organic", but we learned about the disadvantages of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. At that time, we planned to apply for the certification of the Organic Resource Center, so we made a promise of "3 Don'ts" - no pesticides, no chemical fertilizers, and no pesticides. herbicides, And then we joined the Organic Farming Support Group of the Fisheries and Conservation Department, and at the same time we participated in some organic farming courses in the industry to learn the knowledge of organic farming to ensure the safety and health of the vegetables grown.
Running an organic farm is not easy—in addition to the unstable weather, organic farmers also have to deal with pest infestation. The corn and broccoli we have planted will be eaten by armyworms. Since chemical pesticides cannot be used, we can only rely on manual capture to deal with various pests on the farm (really! This is the most commonly used and effective method in the organic industry), Therefore, the yield of organic farms is generally lower than that of conventional farms. However, organic farmland brings vitality to nature. When I plow the field with the plow machine, small egrets, crows, feather chickens and other large birds will still come to gather around me, catching leisurely in the field. Worms eat. In contrast, the birds rarely cross over to the regular farms on the other side of the wire. The sparrows are very spiritual, and they can feel that the farmland here is less polluted by pesticides, so they choose to forage here. At night, many fireflies can be seen in the creek in Wing Hing Wai. Fireflies need clear river water and unpolluted agricultural land to survive.
HGF and HE ("餸你健康") were established in 2019. At first, they just hoped that through advanced IT technology, it would be easier to sell local agricultural products to consumers in different regions, so we connected a group of interested people to help build a website and help bridges between farmers and customers. , to sell directly in the form of online shopping. Compared with other platforms in the local industry that pre-order packaged vegetables, we provide more flexible and variety in our selling. In addition to general seasonal vegetables and fruits, we also connect different origins and overseas sources of produce, hoping to increase customer demand and diversify our products. And hope to look far ahead and cooperate with writers and friends from past work, etc., to order to promote health and delicious organic products are introduced to our customers. Through professional thinking and detailed introduction of products, we list the supply farms and organic certification of each product, hoping to use our authority to strengthen customers' confidence in organic agricultural products.
After several years of hard work, the organic market in Hong Kong is not yet mature, and coupled with the lack of natural resource and lands in Hong Kong, it is not yet possible to expand the scale of organic agricultural products. In addition, per each catty of vegetables is harvested and sold, which pass through many processes. Getting one of these processes wrong will result in degraded product quality and more likely to damage the reputation and role of our platform. However, consumers' understanding of agricultural products still remains at the standard seen in supermarkets. Consumers often encounter choy sums with insect bites, apples with chipped skins bitten by sparrows, and judging by whether the vegetables are dark green to determine it is fresh or not, the shelf life of organic vegetables is relatively short, the larvae of a fat moth panicked and asked us to make a replacement or refund, and the logistics of taking time to purchase crops from local farms is not easy, and sometimes the agricultural products are delivered to our customers are prone to time delays. We feel the difficulty of being a platform role and the challenge of dealing with customer expectations, during the course.
Some businessmen misuse the term organic for profit, labeling conventional food as organic for sale, and some platforms misuse "Local Organic Vegetables" "New Territories Vegetables" and other claims, mistakenly selling some agricultural products from the China inappropriately. Ordinary people may not be able to easily distinguish organic produce just by its appearance. In addition, local consumers, citizens from mainlands are always "inertially" attracted by bright promotional words, without verifying the integrity of suppliers and the traceability of agricultural products, and even those who are allergic to pesticides. Symptoms such as diarrhea or even shock may occur.
Due to various reasons, Hong Kong consumers have not established enough confidence in organic food, and the organic certification system and government propaganda are not enough. The bridge in "selling" has not yet been perfected, and consumers' understanding and acceptance of organic food is still low, so it is still difficult for organic farmers to sell organic products to the market and buyers in the most ideal way. Your health and hard work have proved to us that the organic industry in Hong Kong still needs to continue to persist and work hard to expand the space of the organic market.
In addition to protecting the soil environment, "organic" is not a word just for eye-catching produce, organic farming is protecting other biological diversity and human health. For consumers, they demand high-quality food. However, consumers’ demand for local organic agricultural products is still low, which in turn lead to It hinders the confidence of local farmers to plant high-quality agricultural products and the room for the organic market, forming a inter-relationship of narrow market space, few demand for organic agricultural products and limited supply of organic agricultural production.
Now more Hong Kong people pay attention to food safety, and we hope that in the future, more people will be willing to buy organic vegetables and support the local organic market. At present, local organic agriculture is stagnant, and the young generation and many middle-class consumers in Hong Kong do not care much about organic agriculture. I believe that efforts must be made to establish a professional image of farmers, establish a responsibility system for producers, increase consumers' sense of belonging to agricultural products, and introduce more technological elements from production to a land sales platform, so as to inject new impetus into the industry.
Farming in Hong Kong must not make money, and the same goes for an organic agricultural product platform, it is just a small income. Then why we persist and keep improving? "It is, when a customer appreciates our focus on producing organic agricultural products, I am satisfied. This is my greatest reward."
Originally launched in 2007, HGF has served native English-speaking clients for over 10 years. As a service provider with the core value of consumer first, HGF and HE is now serving most of Hong Kong 7 days a week, looking forward to your support.
LI Ka Hung
Founder, Homegrown Market and Healthy Express