The fresh taste of green

The fresh taste of green

A local organic farm produces deliciously healthy veggies

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The farm, where volunteers come from all walks of life, teaches children methods of organic farming.
The farm, where volunteers come from all walks of life, teaches children methods of organic farming.
Photos: HKFYG
Organic farming and food are very trendy these days. At the Organic Farm of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, however, volunteers practise what they preach.

The farm is located within the Tai Lam Country Park, near Yuen Long, and covers 15,000 square metres. It produces 3,000 catties of vegetables every month and grows more than 50 different kinds of seasonal vegetables and fruits. Every weekend volunteers flock to the farm to help out. The farm also offers educational tours for schools.

Tony Tong Chi-yan is a young man who enjoys living a green life. He is one of the guides at the farm. "I introduce the different crops grown here," he notes.

"I encourage visitors to think about their attitude towards food and the environment and promote the concepts of green living and sustainable development." Volunteers at the farm come from a diverse background. "Students, parents with kids, retired people - they all come together to enjoy farming," he says.

Tong has a higher diploma in translation, but the chance to work close to nature and lead a green life has convinced him to take a job at the farm. "We are far away from the busy city. There is no television. We seldom use air-conditioning and we eat food we plant ourselves. I like that a lot," he says.

Work on the farm is made as green as possible. All chores are done by hand with simple tools such as spades and hoes. The only machinery available is a diesel-powered plough.

The fertilisers are horse dung collected from riding schools and soya paste from bean product factories.

Farmers also collect food leftovers and allow them to decompose to form compost, a natural fertiliser. They shun all chemical fertilisers.

There are many organic vegetables on sale at markets, yet many of them do not have proper certificates to prove they were grown organically, Tong says.

The Organic Farm offers high-quality organic vegetables, which are recognised by the United States Department of Agriculture's National Organic Programme.

"We are the only local organic farm to earn such recognition," Tong says. "We grow vegetables that fit the taste of local families. We provide a delivery service to our clients, allowing them to have fresh vegetables which we pick in the morning and deliver on the same day."

Organic vegetables are not only healthy but they taste excellent, too. Tong insists that the taste of organic vegetables is much richer.

"I think this may be because of the longer farming period," he says. "Vegetables farmed with chemical fertilisers are harvested quicker than organic ones."

Tong has learned a great deal about plants through his work on the farm. "Before I started working here, I could hardly tell the different types of vegetables, apart from some common ones. Now I know them all."

He adds: "I have also learned about the various uses of plants. I even know how to make herbal tea for myself."

To find out more about the farm, visit organicfarm.hkfyg.org.hk

For a chance to visit the farm, click here

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19:16pm

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