2018 Annual Report
Established in 2013 on the World Day to Combat Desertification (17 June), HomelandGreen was incorporated in Hong Kong under the Companies Ordinance on 5 August 2013. As a Hong Kong based non-profitmaking association of volunteers, HomelandGreen pursues the objective of enhancing public awareness of the threat posed by desertification and land degradation to the world’s sustainable development. For the year ended March 2018, our motto ‘Be just to the earth, for the good of all beings’ 『善待土地・惠澤眾生』has been put into practice through collaborating with local and overseas institutions and organisations with similar missions; working with local farmers on regenerative soil improvement projects; supporting civilian tree planting projects in Mainland China to combat desertification; organising talks and workshops to disseminate the relevant knowledge and skills to the public; and sharing our studies and research findings through our website and other social media. The activities we have conducted can be classified into 7 categories:
- Liaison work
- Studies and visits
- Voluntary tree planting
- Educational services in the form of talks and workshops for the public and sponsorship of study trips for voluntary project leaders
- Research project
- Production of materials for distribution and sharing on internet and social media
1. Liaison work
- For the year ended March 2018, HomelandGreen continued with the collaborative partnership with NPO-GreenLife (綠色生命) which helps to support and coordinate all our voluntary tree planting activities in Inner Mongolia, China. The Chairman and two directors attended the 15th Anniversary ceremony of NPO-GreenLife on Saturday, 18 November 2017 in Shanghai and met with commendations that further strengthened the partnership.
- Free subscription with Farming Secrets, Australia continued and useful information on regenerative farming thus received was constantly shared with local organic farmers.
- Professional partnership with Soil Foodweb Institute (Australia) (SFI Aus) continued and was further strengthened with the visit of Mr Chris Ellergy, CEO of SFI Aus to Hong Kong on 10 April-4 May 2017 during which he co-organised free talks and workshops for local farmers interested in regenerative farming with the support of local organic farming communities. Several professional networks with local practitioners were set up as a result. Mr Ellery paid HomelandGreen another visit in November 2017 and further collaboration was explored. The Soil Foodweb Institute Hong Kong Limited (SFI HK) was established in March 2017 which had facilitated the partnership with SFI Aus.
- As a result of the talk and workshop series jointly organised with SFI Aus, professional liaison has been established with the Federation of Vegetable Marketing Co-operative Societies (菜聯社), Hong Kong Organic Association (香港有機生活社), 大江埔農村重建計劃, E-farm (川上農莊), Produce Green Foundation (綠田園基金會), Au Law Organic Farm (歐羅農場), Society for Indigenous Learning (鄉土學社) and Cham Shan Farm (杉山農場). A Soil Learning Community social group was formed with members from these organisations comprising some 30-40 local practitioners.
- Free supply of organic vegetable and fruit residues and high nitrogen wastes from HealthWorks (健康工房) to support our compost project continued.
- Constant free supply of dry plant materials from the Management Office of Woodland Crest to support our compost project continued.
- Free supply of post mushroom substrate from a Yuen Long mushroom farm to support our compost project continued.
- Subscription as participating member to Bionutrient Food Association (BFA) of USA to widen our international network of regenerative farming continued and was strengthened when Mak participated in the BFA 7th Annual Conference in Southbridge, Massachusetts on 28-30 November 2017. Contact was established with Mr Dan Kitteridge, founder and CEO of the Association.
- Met with Dr Elaine Ingham of the Soil Foodweb, Inc. and was given the contact for translation work and possible collaborative on putting her online programs in Chinese.
- The Chairman attended the First Conference of Regenerative International in Montreal, Canada on 13-15 October 2017 and met with Ms Alexis Baden-Mayer, Political Director of Organic Consumers Association and cleared up all copyright issues in connection with translation of their publications and subtitles of their videos, etc. HomelandGreen was later accepted as an affiliation of Regeneration International.
- The Chairman visited The Mushroom Initiative (菇菌圓), a charitable mushroom farm in Lam Tsuen, Tai Po and future collaboration in the promotion of regenerative farming was explored with the CEO.
- Collaboration with the charitable Blessing Farm (築福農場) in Fanling concluded in 2017 because of traffic inconvenience.
- Society for Indigenous Learning (鄉土學社) by the side of Indus River (梧桐河), Sheung Shui continued to house the compost site of HomelandGreen throughout the 2017 period.
- An agreement was signed in February 2018 with Outdoor Wildlife Learning Hong Kong (香港戶外生態教育協會), an NPO for collaborative projects to promote soil health and regenerative farming should their application for Sustainable Development Fund be successful in 2018.
2. Studies and visits
- Visits were paid to the various farms, including Cham Shan Farm (杉山農場), Senior Buddy Charity Farm (老友記慈善農莊) in Shui Tsan Tin (水盞田), and the Mushroom Initiative (菇菌圓),a charitable mushroom farm in Lam Tsuen, to share with practitioners knowledge and practices of regenerative farming.
- The Chairman attended the First Conference of Regenerative International in Montreal, Canada on 13-15 October 2017.
- The Chairman attended the Bionutrient Food Association 7th Annual Soil and Nutrition Conference in Southbridge, Massachusetts on 28-30 November 2017.
- The Chairman attended the Annual Conference of ACRES USA in Columbus, Ohio on 5-8 December 2017 and made contacts with many leading figures in the world of regenerative farming and the top managements of governmental as well as grassroot organisations for the same cause, clearing up copyright issues in translating their works into Chinese and published through our own website and Facebook. Lots of resource materials in the form of books, videos, brochures, pamphlets and resource packs were brought back for future study and promotional work.
- The Chairman and two directors attended the 15th Anniversary ceremony of NPO-Greenlife in Shanghai on 18 November 2017. HomelandGreen was awarded「突出貢獻獎」. HomelandGreen helped with the translation work of the 2017 Annual Report of NPO-GreenLife.
3. Voluntary tree planting
- Application for the Committee on Youth (COY) Funding Scheme for Youth Exchange in the Mainland 2017-18 was met with approval. A total of 52 secondary school students from six schools, namely Ho Lap College (10), QESOSA Secondary School (10), HHCKLA Buddhist Ma Kam Chan Memorial English College (10), HKMLC Queen Maud Secondary School (10), HKSKH Bishop Hall Secondary School (6) and Tin Shui Wai Methodist College (6) and nine students from tertiary institutions managed to take part in a six day tree planting trip to Duolun, Inner Mongolia on 25-30 June 2017 with subsidies from the Home Affairs Bureau and Committee on Youth. The group was received by NPO-GreenLife, partner of HomelandGreen under the leadership of Mm Yi Jiefang, Patron of HomelandGreen. The group was led by six volunteers of HomelandGreen and the six teachers from the participating schools. School visits and visits to historical and ecological sites were also arranged in addition to voluntary tree planting. The group was received by high officials of the Duolun Government and the event reported in the local evening TV news. All participants and volunteers gave very positive feedback on the benevolence and arrangement of the trip and most of the schools expressed wishes to join again should similar trips be organised in the future. A reunion of the participants was organised on 9 September 2017 which was well attended at which participants and teachers shared their learning and commitment to further environmental conservation action in the future. Video reporting of the trip was uploaded to the HomelandGreen website and Facebook.
- Tree Planting in Duolun 2018
4. Educational services in the form of talks and workshops for the public and sponsorship of study trips for voluntary project leaders
- Two public talks for farmers, two one and a half day workshops for practitioners, and one public talk for public were respectively held on 18, 19, 20, 22-23 and 24-25 April 2017 with Mr Chris Ellery of SFI Aus and the Chairman in English and Chinese. The activities were co-organised with the Federation of Vegetable Marketing Co-operative Societies (菜聯社), Hong Kong Organic Association (香港有機生活社), 大江埔農村重建計劃, E-farm (川上農莊), Produce Green Foundation (綠田園基金會), Au Law Organic Farm (歐羅農場) and Society for Indigenous Learning (鄉土學社) and very positive feedback was received. A network, comprising 30-40 forward looking organic farmers attended the talks and workshops, was formed as a result to continue the dialogue on the promotion of regenerative farming in the local scene. Follow up work was planned in collaboration with the Federation of Vegetable Marketing Co-operative Societies (菜聯社) and 大江埔鄉公所慈善基金會農村重建計劃.
- HomelandGreen sponsored a tertiary volunteer who had helped out in the 2017 Duolun tree planting trip to attend the First Conference of Regenerative International on 13-15 October 2017 in Montreal, Canada. The sponsored youth has become a frequent volunteer to support HomelandGreen activities.
- HomelandGreen sponsored another tertiary volunteer of the 2017 Duolun tree planting trip to attend the 7th Conference of the Bionutrient Food Association in Southbridge, Massachusetts on 28-30 November 2017 and the Annual Conference of Acres U.S.A in Columbus, Ohio on 5-8 December 2017. The sponsored youth is a frequent volunteer to activities organised by HomelandGreen.
- The Chairman was invited by the CEO of Senior Buddy Charity Farm (老友記慈善農場) to give free consultancy service on 3 February 2018 in terms of soil analysis, soil improvement and the practice of regenerative farming. As a follow up, the farmers were given a free session on thermal composting on the following Friday.
- A workshop on regenerative farming was conducted for a group of 25 secondary school students on 20 November 2017 at Society for Indigenous Learning (鄉土學社). The workshop was very well received by the teachers and student participants.
- A workshop on regenerative farming and soil restoration was conducted for some 40 trainees for the 第二屆農夫訓練班organised by the Hong Kong Organic Association (香港有機生活社) on 18 March 2018. The Chairman was presented with a vote of thanks at their Spring Reception. Quite a number of participants have become volunteers to help prepare compost at HomelandGreen’s compost site at the regular Friday afternoon compost sessions.
- A workshop on regenerative farming was conducted for FVMCS (菜聯社) on 28 March 2018 with some 60 participants and was very well received. A group of volunteers for regular Friday compost work also formed as a result.
- A consultative visit was invited by the CEO of The Mushroom Initiative (菇菌圓) on 6 February 2018 at which future collaborative with HomelandGreen to promote regenerative farming in Hong Kong was explored.
- A workshop on soil restoration, composting and compost tea making was conducted for some 40 voluntary tree planters for a plantation site monitoring activity organised by the 大江埔生態農業教育社區計劃 (Tai Kong Po Land Education) on 17 December 2017. The workshop was very well received, and another similar activity would be planned for mid May 2018.
- A study group on regenerative agriculture based upon Dr Arden Andersen’s book ‘Science in Agriculture’ has been initiated with volunteers to our composting project and young farmers participating various workshops in March 2018 and meets on a biweekly basis. The Chairman gives consultative service to this group from time to time upon request.
- The chairman spoke at a live radio program of Metro Radio (新城電台) on 6 April 2017 on the principle of regenerative farming and soil restoration upon the invitation of the chairman of Hong Kong Organic Association (香港有機生活社).
- The Chairman made two radio recordings with the 「抱擁大自然」 programme of RTHK upon their invitation on the voluntary tree planting project in Duolun and the promotion of regenerative farming in Hong Kong of HomelandGreen. The episodes were broadcasted in May 2017.
5. Research project
- A school project on soil restoration and regenerative farming was launched with Tai Po Old Market Public School (大埔舊墟公立學校)with the support of several young farmers sponsored by HomelandGreen to be trained in Australia in 2016. Between 1 March and mid-June 2018, ten two-hour sessions were conducted for some 20 primary pupils at different levels at which basic concepts and practices of regenerative farming were introduced. Data on progressive improvement of soil and plant growth would be collected with a view to serve as reference points for similar trial outs at other local farmers. Initial response from kids and school management has been very positive after the first two sessions conducted on 1 and 22 March 2018. It was encouraging to see three P6 students from the school received the Hong Kong Young Scientist for Innovation Award by practising the use of compost tea and mushroom substrate provided by HomelandGreen.
6. Production of materials for distribution and sharing on internet and social media
- HomelandGreen produced resource materials in the form of videos or translated work from overseas professional bodies on soil restoration and regenerative farming and continued to share with the public through social media (Facebook) and the HomelandGreen website. Response to our postings on Facebook has been very positive and encouraging ever since its launching and had some 8,000 followers by March 2018 and is constantly on the rise.
- To facilitate the work of HomelandGreen, domain homelandgreen.cn was registered in addition to homelandgreen.hk.
- Application for tax remission status for HomelandGreen was filed with the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) in June 2017 with the assistance of Hui & Lam Solicitors. IRD sought further information and advised to amend certain articles of the Articles of Association. The required information was submitted to IRD for consideration in January 2018 via the solicitor. In response to IRD’s enquiry in May 2018, further information was provided in June 2018 via the solicitor.