Cover Photo: Affa Chan/Tatler Hong Kong

Nikki Ng, group general manager of Sino Group, shares her hopes for a green future

It was Christmas Day 2014 when Nikki Ng’s interest in urban farming first began. Her mother had given her a book by surgeon-turned-gardener Dr Arthur Van Langenberg called Growing Your Own Food in Hong Kong, an introduction to urban home gardening.

“With Dr Arthur’s book in hand, and the help of my good friend Max Wong, a social worker and community farmer who believes in farming as a form of therapy, we started our own little farm on my rooftop [at home],” she says. Within two years, Ng was growing more than 40 types of fruits and vegetables, from red and yellow watermelons to tomatoes, sweetcorn, aubergines and an assortment of herbs.

 

Inspired by the bountiful harvests at home, Ng brought the idea of an urban farming project to her team at Sino Group—and Farm Together was born. It’s an initiative, Ng says, that “shares the joys of farming and reconnects with Hong Kong’s agricultural roots, the amazing nature and biodiversity of Hong Kong with our residents, tenants, colleagues and guests.

“People are increasingly looking for wellness solutions to help them cope with greater stress in their lives,” she adds. “This project allows farming and horticulture to act as a means of therapy and relaxation for people.”

Today, Farm Together runs ten farms including four at Hong Kong Gold Coast, three in east Kowloon, two in Hong Kong Island and one at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore.

Spanning 35,000 sq ft of real estate, the initiative generates around 1,000kg of produce annually, which is distributed to residents and charities including St Barnabas’ Society and Homes, which provides services and support to Hong Kong’s homeless population.

“The pandemic has taught us the importance of spending time with loved ones, the need to have a more compassionate society, and the importance of scientific and technological advancements to save lives and safeguard health,” says Ng. “It also highlights the condition of our planet due to climate change and global warming. It has been a clarion call for us to make collective efforts. We need to reflect on the way we live, work and travel to decarbonise and develop green solutions.”

Sino Group is committed to its “Creating Better Lifescapes” philosophy, says Ng. The focus is on building the business in harmony with the environment. That means striving for net zero carbon by 2050, introducing a new green mortgage plan with the Bank of China, reducing single-use plastics reliance in all areas, and reducing the amount of waste produced. Sino Group’s new buildings in Hong Kong will be required to achieve Beam Plus certification—which acknowledges building sustainability in Hong Kong—and strive for Well certification, a global standard that recognises spaces that protect well-being. There are also plans to introduce eight more farms to continue planting seeds for sustainability. After all, says Ng, quoting an African proverb, “The Earth is not ours; it is a treasure we hold in trust for future generations.”

Learn more about the Farm Together initiative here

  • PhotographyAffa Chan
  • HairGary Chung
  • Make-UpGary Chung