Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Farmers' markets in Singapore and Hong Kong

A very stark difference in the use of plastic can be seen when you view the videos of the farmers' markets of Singapore and Hong Kong side-by-side. I am grateful to my friend , CY Ong, for editing the videos for me.

One more thing I observed when I visited the farmers market in Hong Kong is that the vendors were mostly the farmers themselves. They could answer in detail my questions on their farming practices. Many of them were small family farms. While some were certified organic by accredited certifying agents, the rest were proudly self-certified. They explained that they did not need a third party to certify for them. They'd rather do it through direct customer-farmer relationship. Also, being small family farms, they did not have the resources to go through the long, tedious and expensive process of organic certification.

Over the past few years, the organic label is becoming more and more of a marketing tool. We should be wise enough to distinguish "industrial organic" from genuine organic. Industrial organic farms are moving far away from the original definition of organic agriculture by USDA National Organic Standards Board (NOSB): “Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony."

For consumers, it is better to know your farmers and understand their farming practices, which are so important to our health and that of the environment.

In agriculture, it seems that "Small is beautiful." is more true than "Bigger is better."

Have you heard of Akinori Kimura's MIRACLE APPLES and Hong Kong's 鶴藪白 (a variety of bok choy)? The stunningly delicious apples and the flavourful bok choy were both grown by small farmers who really took care of their soil and farms' natural environment.

If you would like to experience better the sights and sounds of the two farmers markets, please watch the original videos:

Singapore farmers' market

Hong Kong farmers' market

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