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Zero Foodprint Asia Monthly  |  28 February 2022

Zero Foodprint Asia
February Newsletter

Dear Friends of Zero Foodprint Asia, 

What a crazy month it has been. Currently here in HK, we are unfortunately caught in the middle of the fifth and most contagious wave of COVID-19. Restaurants across town are facing some of the most severe restrictions since the start of the pandemic where they are still unable to open for dine-in service after 6pm and have table restrictions during lunchtime service, while bars and nightclubs are taking yet another hit.

We have again seen empty shelves (this time not toilet paper, but fruits and veg) and vegetable prices soared as Chinese truckers had to quarantine at the border, due to vegetables from mainland China making up about 92% of the local market. It is in these times that we realize how much we rely on international food imports in HK and how this can be detrimental to the future of our local food system. Now more than ever, our efforts and dollars should be spent on supporting local farmers, strengthening agricultural policies, and investing in local agriculture infrastructures that regenerate soil. This is key to withstand issues of food security, nutrition, and the impact that climate change will have on all of us.

Our thoughts are with everyone in the industry right now navigating their way through the current climate. Be well and stay determined.

Farmer's Market - Mercato & Bedu

Over the course of the two weekend where we set up shop in front of Mercato 108 Hollywood Road, and Bedu on Gough Street, we were able to help HKFP’s network of farmers sell over 67 KG of produce! These buzzling farmers’ markets are a great way to start conversations about soil health and the importance of regenerative organic farming. Those who have been blown away by the quality and abundance of veg available in HK, make sure to connect with @hongkongfarmerspride on IG to find out ways you can continue to support!


What you don't pay for at the table, you pay for at the doctors
- Sicilian Proverb 

Our Month in a Nutshell

Farm Visit

By now, you’ll have figured out our team at ZFPA can talk until the cows come home about the benefits of regenerative ag. However, bringing people to the farms helps put things into context. These visits play a critical part in helping our stakeholders understand the WHY behind our mission and it really drives home the message of the importance of soil health.

So on Sunday, February 6th we headed out to Eva’s & Cheong Gor’s regenerative farms (who were both featured in January’s newsletter) with our friends across the hospitality sector. The trip was co-led by Farmer David from @hongkongfarmerspride and Alice, a volunteer from Homeland Green to facilitate discussion on the organic & regenerative approaches to farming, specifically taking care of soil and how to conduct soil testing. For most attendees that day, not only was it their first time visiting an HK farm but also their first time tasting ingredients grown regeneratively. Unsurprisingly, all agreed that tomatoes taste way better when they’re freshly picked off the vines, grown in soil that is teeming with life, as opposed to tomatoes wrapped and shipped in from halfway across the world.

Tatler Dining Awards: Sustainability Champion

Much like our local farmers, we don’t do this work for recognition. But every now and again, it is certainly nice to be acknowledged and appreciated. And with that said, we’re so grateful to be awarded Tatler Dining’s 2022 Sustainability Champion this past month! As we mentioned at our launch back in 2021, “it takes a tribe to build a movement” and at ZFPA, we simply could not do this without the backing from our restaurant partners, supporters, allies and the farming community. But this is no time to rest on our laurels. The work is just getting started and we’re anticipating to roll out our first grant applications this next month! If you know of any HK/GBA farmers who require educational and financial support to help restore soil health and grow better produce on their farms, reach out to us directly!

 Meet our Folks

Mrs. Josephine Mak - Homeland Green

Mrs. Josephine Mak is ZFPA's soil biology guru! She is the Founder and Chairperson of Homeland Green, a Hong Kong based NGO promoting regenerative agriculture and soil conservation across Asia. With her extensive background in education, she has grown into the role of a Regenerative Farming Educator and Soil Health Expert. Her wisdom and love for life and nature shine through time and time again - those who have experienced her presence would know exactly what we're talking about because an hour spent with Mrs. Josephine is undeniably invaluable and super educational! Mrs. Josephine has been supporting us every step of the way and we are indebted to her willingness to provide guidance and knowledge for young people tasked to face and solve the climate crisis in the next half-century. Homeland Green is a tax-exempt charitable institution in HK. They are a forum partner of the 4 per 1000 Initiative and a member of @regenerationainternational. Their major activities are voluntary land restoration work in Inner Mongolia and Hong Kong. For more information about Homeland Green and regenerative farming check out their Facebook or website

 Industry News 

Regen AG in the Textile Industry

Textile Exchange report titled “Regenerative Agriculture Landscape Analysis is the first-ever one that gives the fashion and textile industry a framework and toolkit to credibly understand, implement and describe the benefits of work in this space.

“To advance the field of regenerative agriculture overall, apparel, textile, and footwear companies should also increase information-sharing with the food and beverage sector, ensuring that apparel brands influence the latest policy developments, financing models, and research initiatives.” 

 

The Mushroom Initiative

The Mushroom Initiative non-profit organization was one of the first regenerative farming institutions Peggy and Joel connected with during the pre-planning phase of ZFPA. Chi and her team have a small plot of land in Tai Po and their team utilizes this farm to conduct research and training to advocate for actions that help to reverse climate change through means of enhancing soil carbon storage and restoring soil biodiversity. They experiment with different types of companion planting and work with the local wet markets to collect eggshells, excess dairy, and unused fruits and vegetables that they then bring back to the farm to compost and create soil amendment fertilizers with.

And much like ZFPA, the Mushroom Initiative team chooses positivity in times of overwhelming pessimism, believing that we can play an active role for a better future.


In a robust metropolitan city like HK, it’s wonderful to learn that there are organizations like TMI, supported by academia, that place preserving soil health as a key role for climate action. Check out this 2-part video series they produced with @PatagoniaHK a couple of years back!

PT 1: Patagonia x TMI 改變氣候變化的方法 
PT 2: Patagonia x TMI 香港的再生農耕

 Resources 

ROC Farmer Directory

For our international readers, Regenerative Organic Alliance just came out with their first, brand new farmer directory. Here you can find all ROC farmers around the globe and learn where the newest farms are popping up (hopefully soon all over the world). The map will show the location, name of the operation, website, crop, or product.

“Land is not merely soil, it is a fountain of energy flowering through a circuit of soils, plants, and animals" - Aldo Leopold
Thank you for sticking around and stay tuned for more news!
Let's solve climate change with good food!
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