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Hongkongers take to the land to cultivate a sense of identity, as political expression withers

“Before 2010, it was mostly retirees who joined. But these few years, the proportion of young people joining has increased,” Lam tells HKFP. Politics, he observes, is partly behind the phenomenon.

The rejection of mainland produce in favour of buying – and growing – local has for some people become a way of expressing solidarity with the pro-democracy movement when few methods remain.

BeWater Mart – its name a nod to a 2019 protest mantra meaning to respond fluidly – sells almost exclusively Hong Kong-produced goods. Besides vegetables, the shops’ shelves are lined with everything from local craft beer to accessories to organic soap.

“Often, we say we love Hong Kong. But what does that mean?” Chung, 32, asks, adding that one’s consumption choices are strongly tied to identity.

There is a common refrain on many local farms, Tsang says: “Hong Kong people grow Hong Kong veggies.”

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