Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, Hong Kong
When the Ant stings the elephant — impressions, preparation and thinking in Hong Kong as it prepares for the 1st bioregional convergence.
To offer permaculture, or to run a convergence here in Hong Kong, is really an act of sheer defiance and audacity. Hong Kong sits almost central to the world’s greatest consumption and finance centres. Think of the neighbours: Tokyo, Singapore, Taipei, Beijing. And, concomitantly, some of the biggest problems are here too. Flying in from the southern hemisphere and one and one half hours from Hong Kong you hit the cloud of pollution — similar to the island of plastic in the sea. It comes from Chinese factories fuelled by Australian coal, and, world consumers of oil products.
Consumption is a way of life. Cars, consumption and air-conditioners control human lives. It is extraordinary to see human adaptability within a few generations from farming and fishing to living in 80 storey buildings framed with concrete.
Against this background of glitter, waste, business and busy-ness, the team at Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Gardens (KFBG) has taken the initiative to offer this first bioregional convergence. Compared with other meetings and conferences occurring in Hong Kong, this is minute. And yet the team are determined to use the occasion to offer the best information, maximum networking, and highest level of support to the participants. What a spirit!
The enthusiasm and excitement is rising as is the determination to provide valuable experiences for participants to take home and work with in the future. Another theme is "unity" and some special traditional Chinese customs have been prepared — such as cooking with traditional cooks, where unity and community are goals of the tasks. A dragon will be designed and participants invited to use it as a timeline to record the history of permaculture in SE Asia. The mood will be set by offering a Permaculture Festival the days before the convergence. And, appearing from skyscrapers in Hong Kong is a diverse range of green people, organisations and services. This will to showcase permaculture and green groups, e.g. volunteers supported by KFBG rescuing food from the market at the end of the day — taking it to a volunteer kitchen and then cooking and providing quality meals for impoverished elderly men of which there is quite a big population. The kitchen sits under a 70 storey building; all quite amazing.
This is really not a bioregional convergence because its organisation is more like an international one with about 15 nationalities registered — so it is a zonal convergence between the international and the more local bioregional one. Idy Wong and the team yesterday said they feel their goal and responsibility is to stimulate more local bioregional convergences and to assist countries to host their own. To this end the team has developed valuable guidelines and a checklist based on their experience of organising this one.
We are anxious to hear from anyone who has taught permaculture at any time in SE Asia. Please comment below if you know someone, or if you have taught in the area yourself, and you will get an honourable mention.
And there a few places still available so if you know someone who should come, please encourage them now.