同學反思:天台見田園

 

以農耕體驗經典的第三次體驗團,二十多名同學在考察荃灣工業大廈天台種植的都市農莊後,回到中大許讓成樓天台一起組裝種植箱及混合泥土等共建田園。體驗過後都寫下了對實地考察及經典文本的反思。以下選輯了四位優秀的短篇文章讓大家一同思考:

 

林嘉誠
工程學系一年級

科技進步、城市發展的同時,往往伴隨而來的是一個又一個的矛盾和衝突。在土地供應量不足情況之下,市區的綠色區域常常成為了高樓大廈的犧牲品。在體驗活動之中,這個天台田園像是一個在路混凝土上生長的小花,它的生存是一個又一個的考驗。面對一個又一個的惡劣的天氣和環境。

在觀察天台的植物的同時,我彷彿像是親身體驗到一行禪師在詮釋《心經》時所指的「互即互入」。在一個天台植物之中其實又是隱藏着另一個的天台植物,甚至不物理上存在於天台的植物。一棵天台植物所擁有的其實並不僅於自身,而是所有。健康植物的存在自當是不健康植物存在的必然條件,反之亦然。在是次的活動之中,我首次體驗到何謂禪師所指的「空」是空掉了孤獨的自我,是一個相當樂觀的概念。

 

戴思悅
專業會計學一年級

當日完成《天台見田園》活動後,令我最深刻的部分就是在許讓成樓天台幫忙搭起種植箱的過程,因為這部分是最辛苦的時候。我們幾個人只是要搭一個箱但是已經覺得很累,令我更加感受到在荃灣天台農莊的農友要把整個天台種滿農作物所花的功夫是很多,而他們亦願意去做,可看見他們真的對種植充滿熱情,而且相信他們是做得開心。我認為這些願意把耕種作為職業的人比起從商的人來得更開心,就如阿里士多德提到牟利(商人)的生活大概不會比耕種的人開心,因為財富不是我們尋求的善,對比起來,我認為農夫是會把耕種作為目的或他們的善,所以應該會更為快樂。這亦令我反思其實我們大部分人追求名利榮譽的意義是什麼、從商又是否才是成功的人、做農夫的人生活又是否真的更開心?

 

LEUNG, Yee Kei Peony
BBA-JD Programme/ Year 1

In concrete jungles, we don’t expect to see vibrant plant life. However, a small oasis can be found on rooftops of industrial buildings around Hong Kong, as seen during the visit on 26th January to a rooftop farm.

One particular thing that struck me was the passion of the farmers. It cannot be easy for the farmers to make a living in an environment as inconducive are extremely hostile, greenhouses are seen as illegal structures, and the government is apathetic to rooftop farming, which are all factors as to why they cannot really turn a profit with the things they grow. It may seem unrealistic to many of us to continue operating a business that continuously runs up a loss, but not to these rooftop farmers. Their passion is evident in their relationships with the other farmers, the competition for secondary school students they host to spread awareness, even the care they put into building the many parts of the farm like the drying room and the shop, all in the hope that one day more people will know of the work they do. To me, the only reason the farmers would continue their work despite losing money relates to the Ladder of Love in Plato’s “Symposium”. Their love for the work they do and their passion for farming has exceeded physical and mental beauty and knowledge itself. Instead they love the Beauty evident in ecosystems that surround them, which is the highest rung of the ladder. This pure, undiluted essence of Beauty is the only reason, to me, they are willing to continue this hard, thankless job without evident compensation.

Moreover, the concept of rooftop farming itself reminds of Eryximachus’ concept of love being the reconciling of different elements and creating harmony from discordance, as plant life coexist with the concrete buildings around it, and is dependent on facilities and technology to flourish. From dead, inanimate buildings, beauty is brought forth in the form of beautiful plants. This seems like a form of love, and this product is to me the moderation Eryximachus proposed to be necessary.

One of the farmers overheard me saying I loved butterfly pea flowers and gave me a pod of three seeds, which I accepted after much hesitation. His passion for farming was even more evident then, so much so that he was willing to allow me to experience it for myself as well. I look forward to putting these seeds in soil and seeing them flourish, to experience the satisfaction that poured out of the farmers at the prospect of reaping what they have sown.

 

Wong Sung Hei
B.Sc. in Quantitative Finance/ Year 2

As a student studying at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the busy academic works and studies made us too busy from experiencing the work life of special industry in Hong Kong, the field trip of visiting the rooftop farmland was undoubtedly a great opportunity for me to understand better of the life of rooftop farmers and their insights. After the field trip, I was astonished by the creativity of establishing a farmland over the rooftop of urban area in Hong Kong. I have understood the struggling of Hong Kong farmer, due to the changing climate in and the lack of flat land in Hong Kong, it is getting harder for the farmers to treat farming as their life-long career. Yet, farming will bring quite a lot of benefit to the city, such as a greener city and better air conditions.

At the same time, after the field trip, I have started to pay more attention to the fairness of profit distribution to the farmer. Farmers undoubtedly play an important role in terms of producing foods. However, even the high market price of the products we are buying, farmers might not share a substantial proportion of the price as their profit. It is essential to respect the contribution of farmers. Without farmers, we are unable to maintain our lives.