同學反思:家農體驗工作坊

CHAN Chak Long

Laws / Year 1

Each time we are having a meal, have we ever thought of where the food in front of us came from? Participating in this workshop, we have tried to grow edible vegetables at home. Throughout these days, witnessing the plant growth has been inspiring and satisfying. The following are some thoughts to share.

Starting from day 1 of this project, it is already a fresh experience. Planting might seem a simple task, but there are lots of details affecting the growth of a plant. For instance, one of the steps is to mix the soil. Being crucial to plant growth, soil provides anchorage and nutrients to the plant. Mixing grains of different sizes ensures the soil could hold sufficient water without drowning the roots. Although it is not visible under the soil, essential life processes are happening before we even notice. We also have to consider other conditions, such as measuring the light intensity of sunlight and making fertilizer to enrich nutrients in the soil, which are no easy tasks. For example, the composting process was quite a hiccup since the process was going slower than expected. Nevertheless, unexpected incidents are often common in nature. These preparation procedures could already show the attention that is required to provide a suitable environment for the plant to grow, not mentioning the continuous hard work afterwards until the day of harvest. It is indeed an impressive work to cultivate crops and we should appreciate the efforts which bring food to our table.

Another fascinating part of this workshop is to track the growth of the plant. We have been given some lettuce and choy sum seeds, which require great care as they were so small in size. Frankly speaking, we do not often see vegetables in their premature stage. When the seeds germinated and form a shoot, it looks likes the seedlings of many other dicotyledonous plants, instead of the choy sum we usually see. As it continues to grow, its characteristics are gradually shown. Have we ever wondered, how could the similarly looking young plants grow into to distinctly different flowers or even trees? One of our classics may give us an answer. The key lies in the tiny seed we put into the soil. As James Watson has said, “Life is just a matter of physics and chemistry”. (139) What makes choy sum a choy sum is determined by the complex DNA passed from generations of parent plants and stored in the seed. When the plant matures, it will again produce its own seeds and pass the traits of a choy sum to future generations. This once again shows how delicate and marvellous our nature has evolved.

Approaching a later stage of the activity, the thicker and taller the crops grow, the more competition for sunlight occurs within the small area inside the pot. Despite tangling with one another, the plants grew quite well and developed large leaves to support themselves. We know that the setting in our home would be quite different from normal farmland, being more crowded and less illumination indoor. Seeing how the plants strive to survive in such a harsh environment is actually encouraging. Such toughness and adaptation to difficulties by the plants are exactly some positive attitudes that we could learn from. This is especially true in this pandemic where our daily life has been disrupted. Through taking care of the plant, bonding has been formed with the plant and it delivers positivity when being stuck at home could be depressing.

After all the efforts put into our crop, it will eventually be harvested and eaten. Yet how would you feel if the farmer is the one starving? It triggers reflection when discussing the relationship between the agriculture sector and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Uneven food distribution and exploitation of labour pose hurdles to achieve equality and eliminate poverty. Growing monoculture crops with large amounts of chemical fertilizers, serious impacts are brought to both “life on land” (SDG15) and “life below water” (SDG14), like leaching of soil and eutrophication. Excessive human alterations would bring harm to the ecological balance. Just as Rachel Carson has expressed in her Silent Spring, we should be thoughtful and aware of the possible consequences that our actions bring. (141) As responsible consumers, we can relieve these problems by buying food of fair trade or organic crops and avoid wastage of uneaten food. Most importantly, we should try and understand the various sustainability problems around the world, not limited to agriculture. Many a little makes a mickle. Small efforts by individual could also make big changes!

All in all, it has been a fruitful experiment participating in this workshop and planting choy sum at home. Let’s hope that the choy sum will continue to grow well and healthy!

Works Cited
Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring. 1962, In Dialogue with Nature: Textbook for General Education Foundation Programme, edited by Chi Wang Chan, Wai Man Szeto, and Wing Hung Wong, revised 2nd edition, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2016, p. 141.
Watson, James D. and with Andrew Berry. DNA: The Secret of Life. 2003, In Dialogue with Nature: Textbook for General Education Foundation Programme, edited by Chi Wang Chan, Wai Man Szeto, and Wing Hung Wong, revised 2nd edition, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2016, p. 139.

 

 

CHOI Hoi Yi

Biomedical Sciences / Year 2

As a person living in this fast-paced modern world, rushing around with the daily grind of life has become my habit. With little time to slow down, pay attention to small things and immerse in thoughts, I have neglected many elements in life, including nature. Frankly speaking, the only knowledge I had about agriculture were those learnt in geography classes back in secondary, and ever since, I hardly paid attention to this sector. Recently, I have seen news reports about the shortage of vegetables in local markets, while prices of imported vegetables surged mainly due to the pandemic. Since I joined the activity and learnt some of the concepts, I became more eager to dig into such an issue. As I dug deeper into agricultural issues at a local level, I realized there are lots of existing problems.

Farmlands and agricultural methods are some of the aspects that account for the problems faced by the agricultural sector nowadays. Without the use of good farming practices like crop rotation, integration of livestock and crops, conscious designs for farmlands that support sustainable development and permaculture, local farmers face a lot of problems such as higher costs for growing crops, infertile soil due to planting the same crops in a certain area, and so on. To meet market demands, there may also be an overuse of pesticides, which are contaminants that contribute to the transformation of farmlands into brownfield lands. From these, it is obvious how important it is to demonstrate permaculture in farmlands, such as designing different uses of zones from zone 0 to zone 5 based on environmental and operational factors, so as to ensure high productivity and effectiveness with minimal resources used.

In this era of consumerism, not only do the price and quality of products matter, but also the values and ideas the products represent, and the latter is becoming more and more prominent. As our knowledge and awareness towards the environment enhance, more of us pay attention to our dietary habits. Advocates have encouraged meatless meals and going green, which means turning to consume vegetables rather than meat, as it is claimed that this could help the environment. When this idea was instilled in my mind, I did not drill down, so I just believed in what was said completely. It was until the question ‘Is consuming vegetables an environmentally-friendly habit?’ was raised that I sunk in thought. Undeniably, quite a percentage of the global carbon footprint comes from the production of meat and livestock farming. But I come to realise that although this is true, it does not make consuming vegetables environmentally friendly either. Looking into farming practices and the requirements for growing crops, lots of resources like water, soil nutrients and energy are needed. The consumption of resources and the generation of resources certainly have impacts on the environment, and thus, I do have reservations about the answer to this question, as it may not be as simple as what I had once thought.

After the activity, I hope to make some changes in my daily life as the ideas introduced allowed me to gain insights. “Problem is the solution.” This is the attitudinal principle in permaculture. In permaculture, there is no such thing as waste, since ‘waste’ can be utilized once in the right condition. I used to throw away many ‘wastes’ after they have been used, but have never thought of utilizing them in another way. Used tea leaves, coffee grounds, outdated newspapers, they all seem useless after being ‘used’. However, I just realized how useful they can be when they are used to make the compost for planting my Choy Sum. Many things in daily life can be used in other ways, and I shall not be blinded by my own perception towards the uses of things, like what Zhuangzi has said. And after all, we are unable to define what is useful or not, as everything can exist in other forms. They can be useful in one context, and gradually be regarded as ‘useless’, but it can become useful in another context. The identification is simply due to the fact that we are all blinded by our own horizons, and is actually meaningless, so it is better to embrace everything without differentiation and discrimination.

Five of my Choy Sum grew successfully, but their sizes are still very small. Maybe due to what was said in some of the sessions about ‘having to take care of the plants just like taking care of children’, taking care of them made me feel like a parent. I planted them in the balcony and watered them every day since there was direct sunlight which made the soil dry up quickly. It was interesting to realise that the first few things that came to my mind when there was a typhoon or strong wind were the plants, thinking if they were safe or not and quickly moving them back into the house. Through planting with my own hands, I do understand the feelings of farmers, putting in so much effort and care to plant for so many crops, with an addition of pressure and stress, worrying about the harvest and whether the weather would destroy the plants. Thus, I would be a responsible consumer from now on, try to notice small details in life and think deeper about them, especially when I have meals. Instead of gobbling down my meal in no time, I could spare some more time and eat slowly, appreciating everything contained in the meal, which is everything in the universe.

 

 

FANG Bao Ying

Journalism and Communication / Year 1

The time after dinner these days was spent nurturing the growth of a plant, it was quite enjoyable. It gave me an opportunity to break free from the clutches of the technological world.

Spend just a minute on the train, you will find yourself surrounded by phubber. Nowadays, the development of technology has been reaching further – into the way it has become an indispensable part of our lives. Nevertheless, it is understandable that citizens of metropolitan cities like Hong Kong are not aware of the importance of preserving the natural environment as barely do they have an opportunity to get back to nature from their modern technological lives.

However, the home-planting activity granted me a golden chance of getting closer to nature. I put the two pots on the windowsill in my kitchen. Every time when I washed the dishes, I excitedly looked at them to find the signs of the lettuce sprouting from the seeds. As I continued watering them every day, it developed from just a tiny seed to become a spear and eventually grew up. This process drew me closer to nature as I felt pleased of giving a life to the nature. At the same time, I have a deeper understanding of why Thich Nhat Hanh is saying that everything on earth is interdependent with one another. Sunlight, water, fertilizer, soil, my personal effort and all the things on earth are the essential elements for the growth of the plant. When around the leaves are something withered and yellow, it does not necessarily mean that I am the ‘plant killer’, so I look forward to joining more planting activity!

 

 

 

李雯懿

新聞與傳播學 / 一年級

在體驗中,首先對於生命有了更多理解,更深刻體會生命的兩面,既脆弱又強靭。一開始的種植過程一波三折,照顧倖存的菜心幼苗時,常常掌握不好水的份量,淋得太多水會變黃,曬太久太陽又會萎,覺得菜心很嬌貴,因此一開始很束手無策。後來菜心長大逐漸發現不用特別淋很多水施很多肥,原來他們也好像會自動般健康長大。特別是其中一粒種子在播種時不知道掉到哪裏,卻竟然很快發芽了;甚至後期原有的幾粒種子都長大後,有一天起床發現莫名有棵初生的幼苗突然在菜心旁發芽,不止多賺了一棵菜,也令我深深為生命的承傳感到神奇。幾十天的時間令我更有耐性去照顧生命,甚至覺得,會為他們改風水名等等,看着菜心從種子生長成一盆比自己臉更大的植物也很有滿足感。

同時,過程中亦常常令我聯常起人類在和其他自然生命共處時的角色。在種植過程中經常令我想起之前看過的一本書《人類大歷史》,當中提及到農業革命,人類精挑細選物種,又要用化肥又要用殺蟲劑,其實很多時只是為了追求人類眼中的理想型態,在自然中扮演上帝。自己也為了騰出空間而殺幼苗,有幾塊葉子被潛葉蟲蛀了便要捨棄及時止損以吃到最健康肥美的菜心,正如在蓄牧業中,也會馴化動物,挑選出不乖的動物殺雞儆猴,留下幼犢及母牛以繁殖更多食物,甚至文本中的人工選擇,其實也是建基於這種人類的自我。

尤其是過程中農民的大量辛勤耕作,反而養肥了一班養尊處優,嬌生慣養的(其實自己也是其中一員),農民到頭來的飲食可能更糟糕。其實城市人也在扮演上帝,以低廉成本的不公平貿易輕易換取他人勞動成果,理所當然地進食,吃不完便捨棄。因此,有時也不禁認同家人說的「自給自足」論和「耕田才是未來生存之道」論,其實很多時我們不一定需要如此鋪張心急,慢慢種菜欣賞自然的神奇也未賞不可。

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

吳欣穎

心理學 / 一年級

在參加這個工作坊前,我家中也種過其他觀賞用盆栽,最後不少因疏忽照料、水分不足而枯萎。那些枯枝和乾土現在還在露台上,沒人處理過。但這次種植菜心卻比以往任何一次種植更加順利。除了因為有講師指導,或許也因菜心是蔬菜,我們一家都抱著有朝一日能加菜的期盼,付出了比以往更多的心思照料它,使它至今仍在茁壯生長着。這不禁使我反思:難道我們只是因為菜心能吃才更悉心照料它嗎?其他花草盆栽也是植物,為何我們這麼容易就忽略了它們呢?我想,這大概是人類自私和狹隘之處吧。可食用的蔬果能幫我們填肚子、增加營養攝取,相比只供觀賞的盆栽,蔬果對我們而言的實用價值更高,我們便更願意花時間精力照料蔬果。這對植物的「差別待遇」與文本六中Rachel Carson指出人類對植物的狹隘態度相似:人們只會保留有即時利用價值的植物,而清除他們覺得無用、不應出現在此時此地的植物。在我眼中,這是對植物這類生命的不尊重和不負責。我們一旦撒下種子,便要對其生命負責,用心照料,至少可以減少因人為疏忽而令植物枯死的機會。雖然我們不能馬上改變人類對植物的狹隘態度,但我們還可以身體力行,懷著尊重生命的心照顧好每一棵植物。

 

吳淑儀

中國語言及文學 / 二年級

起初,我是為了UGFH的學分而去參加,但是我最後所獲得的遠比這分數多。

首先,是次活動使我對UGFH的文本有更透徹的認知。在「心經」中,指出萬物皆有共生的概念,然而在讀文章之時,其實我並不能完全參透其中的義理。例如玫瑰與垃圾兩者,怎可說是共生的關係呢?當我參與此次的工作坊,藉著把水果皮、咖啡渣化作種植的養份,我才明白原來日常的「垃圾」可以轉化成我們日常必須品的一部分,而這正是「共生」關係的體現。

然後,這次種植活動讓我反思農民遭受不公平貿易的問題。活動中,許多同學都付出諸多的心血精神,才能栽種出三至四棵的菜心。但是在平日逛菜市場時,不難看見一大斤菜只售10元、8元,再扣除商販的抽成,可想而知農民最後的收益是少之又少。農民是付出最多者,但卻偏偏收益最少,揭示全球化貿易的不公。

最後,對我個人而言,是次活動亦有增益。我的農作物並不如其他同學般生長得十分旺盛,甚至最後亦不能發芽生長。但是在每天為它澆水時,都會想它快點生長。雖然最後無所收獲,但是這種盼望卻成了每天的期待。所以是次活動使我獲益甚多。

 

潘啟廸

社會科學院 / 一年級

我本以為這次的體驗大多是關於大自然、原始的生活等,但一切比我想像中還要豐富。農業似乎不是如此的單調和片面,而是有著數之不盡的議題和現象,值得我們反思。

我對種植沒有很大的信心,自問不太理解植物的生長條件和特徵,所以起初只是抱著試試的心態。但上過第一課後,我漸漸知道這個體驗學習不是務求我們種出幾高或幾強壯的蔬菜,而是要在過程中感受與自然、社會的關係,也可思考作為人類的價值和意義,層面十分廣闊。那株植物不但有著其獨特的生命,也可從中看到上一株生命的延續和成長、辛勞的農夫等。各種事物就如一行禪師所指,是環環緊扣、互即互入,我們應當以親身體驗來深入明白世界上的各種事物。

基於植物的獨特價值和對世界的意義,見證一株植物的成長變得更有意義。在起初的種植階段,我都定時澆水和讓盤栽盡量吸收更多陽光,使他能夠在最良好的環境慢慢長大。記得在首次澆水的三四天後,菜心的幼苗便已迫不及待地破土而出,令我十分滿足和興奮,就像見證小生命的誕生。同時,這也令我的壓力增加,擔心他日後的情況。某一晚,我擔心菜心苗會抵擋不住半夜的強風,便將它放入屋內,關掉了所有窗戶。怎料,第二天因為空氣不足和水分缺失而令本來挺著的菜苗都倒下來。當時,我真的十分自責,不知道如何補救,只能盡最後一分力去澆水。而同時,生菜種子遲遲的不發芽也令我更為氣餒,好像植物都不受我控制。

後來聽過其他同學的情況,得知生菜種子的問題,才令我鬆一口氣。而透過幾課的體驗學習,也令我漸漸不再執著於植物的收成,而嘗試從中獲得其他啟發。例如,可持續發展目標的討論具啟發性,讓我思考食物或農業對於社會長久運行的影響,而可持續發展也不是離我們很遠。當然,工作坊也學習了不少農業的基本知識,如製作堆肥、處理菜蟲等,也是對農夫日常工作增添了一份理解。

其實,世界上很多的事物也不能被我們所控制和主導,植物會凋謝,人也會離開人世,但我們依然在過程中可尋找到價值,真正認識和思考世界。當放下一些執著,將其轉換為體驗和珍惜,或許會找到更多樂趣,也會對很多事物有一番新的理解。唯一剩餘的那株菜心苗依舊再生長,我也不知道它在什麼時候才會結果,但我相信在這次體驗學習中已經獲得了不少果實,使人滿足。

 

鄧詠而

護理學 / 一年級

我們大部分人或許都沒有耕作及走入田園的經驗,我也就是其中一個,所以當得知可以參與這個家農體驗工作坊的時候,我便立即決定要參加。在疫情下,雖然未能回校園種植,但慶幸仍有機會在家種植。在這49天的種植日子中,我不僅學會一些基本的在家種植技巧,亦從中得到不少啟發,明白農業與可持續發展的關係以及植物對人類及社會的意義。

很可惜的是,我這次未能夠成功種植菜心。開始種植的時候,我發現原本的四顆種子,有兩顆不幸已爆裂,另外兩顆雖然已發芽,但卻看似非常瘦弱,及後縱使我馬上替它們澆水和給予它們足夠的陽光,葉子只是開始變黃且枯萎,最後也無法使它們繼續生長。當時的我看着已枯萎的兩株幼苗,腦海中浮現出責怪自己的想法:是我不夠細心照顧它們嗎?還是有哪一個步驟我做錯了?是我抹殺了它們繼續生長下去的機會嗎?但儘管我如何責怪自己,我亦明白是無補於事,唯有在下一次種植的時候更加小心照料植物,每天都定期觀察植物的變化,需要時採取適當的行動。這次失敗的經驗也讓我上了寶貴的一課,希望我下一次種植的時候能夠做得更好。

雖然未能夠感受收成的喜悅,但這次的工作坊仍讓我獲益良多,亦深深啟發了我。參加工作坊前,我只知道需要定時澆水及給予植物足夠的陽光,但工作坊讓我得知從泥土的選擇到施肥都有一些技巧可讓植物生長得更好:如泥土方面,可將黑泥、珍珠岩和蛭石混合,以增加土壤的透氣性;我們亦不用經常都澆水,而是應該在泥土變乾的時候才澆水,避免植物因泥土太多水而死亡;堆肥的碳氮比例最佳為30:1,橙皮、枯葉及咖啡渣都是一些好的堆肥的原料;以及最後如何將堆肥混入泥土。種植植物就有如照顧小孩一樣,需要注意不同的細節,盡量給予植物最好的生長環境,悉心照料它們,才能讓它們茁壯成長。

在這次工作坊裏,亦有提及永續農業的概念,當中指出沒有所謂「廢物」,如糞便經處理後可作為堆肥的原料,亦着重善用生物資源和每一個元素,如用過的水,淨化後可用作灌溉,就可用最少的水份達到最大的效益,及能量循環等的原則,以照顧現代及下一代的需要。農業與可持續發展息息相關,農業關乎可否有穩定的糧食生產,影響自然環境及氣候、陸地及水裏的生態系統,甚至對一個地方的社會及經濟有所影響。在這個農業逐漸式微的21世紀,我們又應否思考農業對發展可持續社會的重要性,以及參考與應用永續農業的精神?

卡森的《寂靜的春天》曾經提到地球上動物的生存是由水、土壤和植物支持着的,倘若沒有植物,我們人類就不會有生存必需的食物,人類便會無法生存,但卻很少人記起這個事實,人類對植物的態度是狹隘的。這次的家農體驗工作坊十分有意義,除了讓我們享受種植的樂趣,亦讓我們思考農業耕作對人類及社會的影響和重要性,反思我們應如何看待植物。我期望將來有機會真正走入田園耕作,嘗試永續農業,感受生物與生物之間微妙的關係,反思人在大自然中的角色與地位。

 

WU Hoi Lam

Biomedical Sciences / Year 1

This Home-planting workshop was not as easy and simple as I expected, but complicated, deep and inspirational. Although we could not have planting sessions face-to-face at school, home-planting in turn allowed me to witness and notice every change of my Chinese cabbage as it grows, exposing me to more thinking and reflection.

The first reflection was simple yet important – appreciation. This experience taught me to appreciate the hard work of farmers, appreciate the food we can easily get access to and be grateful to what we own. Most of us have difficulties during planting, not to mention we are only planting six of them. It is hard to imagine how much workload a farmer has every day, dealing with acres of farmland.  Every dish of vegetables or food we have every night may add up to a few months of time and uncountable care and effort from farmers. The concept of being grateful was always in our minds, but we may not truly understand the reasons behind. I had a chance to experience agriculture fully hands-on, from mixing the best soil, thinning out the young seedlings, I learnt much more knowledge related to planting and a large number of variables such as light intensity, soil quality, ventilation, water supply needed to be considered. The soil has to be mixed with vermiculite and minerals for better water absorption, the light intensity indoor and outdoor could have a difference of million times, the process of producing fertilizers requires the reaction of bacteria and release a stinky odour. It reminded me of the stereotype where people often consider farmers as having less knowledge and lower education level. Parents might have mentioned that “You should study hard, or else you are going to become a farmer!” However, after the home-planting session, I disagree and I believe farmers must have excellent knowledge related to agriculture. I believe agriculture was no easy job and required numerous knowledge. An example was Permaculture, where Zoning of agricultural land assisted in efficient energy planning. Such a system was compact and well-thought, implying various knowledge was applied. My appreciation and gratefulness towards the hard work of farmers and food I could enjoy were augmented after this precious experience.

The introduction of permaculture in this programme had inspired me to reflect on the current human lifestyle. As science and technology prosper, human beings are depriving the natural environment – excessive exploitation of resources like trees causing deforestation, underground petroleum and emission of harmful chemicals like greenhouse gases leading to Global Warming. Nature was actually the base of our daily lives, providing food, water, shelter and resources. It was ironic that our lifestyle was destroying her. Not only nature but our lifestyle also deprives the resources and rights of our future generations. This was one of the reasons why sustainable development was promoted. Many scientists and environmentalists have predicted an accelerating rate of our Earth deteriorating in the future decades, meaning that such environmental problems were indeed closely related to us and the next generation. I was shocked by the statistics, where we humans only took a few decades, counting from human civilization or industrialization, to destroy the Earth who produced the resources using four billion years. The sea level in 2020 has risen 73.27 mm compared to the 1993-2008 average, where some ocean basins might have a sea level rise of 6-8 inches. (Lindsey) Why does sea level matter? Around 10% of the world’s population, indicating more than 600 million people lived in coastal areas with less than 10 meters above sea level; 40% of the world population meaning nearly 2.4 billion people live within 100 km to sea level. (United Nations) With our selfish actions only considering our instant convenience and pleasure, the consequences of our actions were already predicted to retribute on us. Sadly, I observed that the majority of the population had not yet realised how close the problem was. Although public education and promotion have been carried out in a large-scale, public awareness has only remained on the acknowledgment level. Many people know about the environmental problems we are facing, but how many of us really took action? From this home-planting experience, I will try to alter daily habits to become more environmentally-friendly. Small changes like not using straws, recycling may be insignificant but definitely lead to a noticeable effect if I continue and proceed with them every day.

Not only does the rise in sea level affect people living in coastal areas, but also the whole world. A significant drop in available land will result in people having no shelter and reduced agricultural land. Not being exaggerating, however, decrease in farmland together with the exponentially rising world population, food shortage may occur; further accelerating the problem into inadequate resources, regional conflicts and competition. As I mentioned, Earth was the basis for life to occur and I admit we could never override nature. To alleviate these problems, the United Nation proposed 17 Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. From the 17 goals, they indirectly reflect how important agriculture was related to our world – excess use of pesticides affecting the ecosystem, food safety affecting our health, environmental pollution and ecological impact, monopolization leading to poverty of farmers. It could be proved that agriculture was potent and pivotal to humans as it sustained our lives, but also towards the world.

Nevertheless, in this day and age where society has transformed into a knowledge-based one, farming was regarded as a low-ended job. I found it ironic that those agricultural-based countries producing food were the least-developed and underprivileged regions, and residents are those who are starving. The reasons undoubtedly include the transformation into a knowledge-based and market-oriented economy, and most importantly the denudation and unequal treatment towards farmers. This will also be a reason why organizations like Fair Trade were established, to protect the rights and interests of farmers and producers in less developed countries. Consuming Fair Trade products or agricultural products from those underprivileged regions may be a way for us to contribute our humble effort towards the issue.

In conclusion, I absolutely learnt and reflected a lot through this activity. On a personal aspect, I was reminded to appreciate and be grateful and will take action to contribute to environmental protection starting from daily life habits. From a wider perspective, my view towards agriculture and farming has been revised. I now hold so much respect towards farmers and understand the pivotal role agriculture plays to human and the whole ecosphere we are living in. My actions may not bring about an enormous change, but it was also to shoulder the responsibility as a world citizen living on Earth. And most importantly, I reflected on the relationship between human beings and the Earth and I believe that coexisting in harmony, just as the natural system was, in a perfect balance.

Reference

Lindsey, Rebecca. “Climate Change: Global Sea Level | NOAA Climate.Gov.” Climate Change: Global Sea Level, 14 Aug. 2020, www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-global-sea-level.

United Nations. “Factsheet: People and Oceans.” The Ocean Conference [New York], 5 July 2017, www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Ocean-fact-sheet-package.pdf.

 

YIP Long Ching

Global Communication / Year 1

It may seem ludicrous, but a university student, in the past 2 months, has failed to produce a 5 dollar-equivalent product—a batch of choi sum.

As invited by my UGFN teacher, I participated in the Home-planting Experiential-learning Activity which started in early October. My first thought is “how hard would that be? A sprinkle of seeds on the soil and watering will do.” However, I am sadly mistaken by such naïve thought, and have learnt many intricacies of agriculture.

During the course, I have been taught the principles of sustainable agriculture, permaculture and food security problems. Although these may seem too far from our daily lives, the teeny-tiny choi sum demonstrated how difficult it is to perform farming smoothly and without errors, let alone the massive food production and agriculture that is ongoing and bearing the responsibility of feeding the whole world’s population.

The experience reminded me of Carson’s text on how precious and delicate our environment is—precious that it feeds us and sustains the complex food web, delicate that a drop of DDT can make itself unproductive and destroyed. I felt like nature has been so nice to me in offering so many resources, and also felt guilty that we tried to manipulate but ended up screwing up it.

I may not be a green thumb, but this workshop undoubtedly changed my view deeply in paying more attention to the present-day agricultural practices and related issues.