Small Group's Work

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Overall comments: On the whole, good effort. You can refine your problem statement to identify the key obstacles behind home farming, and expand on the benefits home farming (e.g. not just for environment but also for individual/ society). You can continue to refine your prototype - I encourage you to look at existing home farming kits out there, and look more carefully at your target audience and their specific needs. Specific comments on your submissions attached below.
R3 Group work_Comments.pdf2195.7KB

R3 – Resilience

Group members: Cui Jingran, Wan Tze Yeung, Ye Zhi Mian, Wu Jirawong, Kho Patrick Thomas

Empathy

Empathise with stakeholders

  1. A teenage girl growing sprouts at home
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She started growing sprouts last month. She said it is very easy to do so and you can harvest and eat them in one week’s time. She used a container with holes to grow the beans which she had it at home originally. Here are some tips she shared on growing sprouts at home:

  1. Put a towel inside the containers which have holes so that the beans can develop roots.
  2. Do not soak the beans in water because they cannot push upward if too much water is given. Water them 3 times a day is enough.
  3. Cover the beans with a book to give pressure to them so that they can grow upward faster.
  4. Cover the container with a towel on the top and put it in a dark place as the beans turn a bit red when exposed to too much light.

2. Sara--A young public speaker and vegan advocate

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Sara started going vegan when she was eleven years old, after discovering the horrible treatment of farm-animals from a documentary film. She runs a social media page advertising her vegan lifestyle and recently made a speech to a school community to promote veganism as a way to reduce animal cruelty in food production. In her speech, Sara describes the dark, tiny 2 square meters space where several young calves or pigs usually spend their months-long life since birth, before getting brutally slaughtered by humans. She constantly urges us to rethink the ethics behind what goes on our plate everyday, whether it be an ordinary slice of cheese or a pair of chicken wings. Because it is difficult to directly alter the processes in large food industries, Sara thinks the best and easiest option is for us, the consumer, to first change our eating habits.

3. Yuki Chan: An expert on food resilience and sustainability

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Interview with Yuki:

Q1: What types of challenges did you encounter when you first started growing those fruits and vegetables?

  1. Sunlight - Find out the amount of sunlight your growing area receives, ideally you will receive 6 hours of sun (LUX of 6000-10000 - you can measure with mobile app e.g. LightMeter) to grow most of the vegetables/herbs. If you have not enough sunlight, growing will be more challenging, you have to consider crops that requires low sunlight like mint.
  2. Space - Decide what to grow depending on space you have, whether it’s a rooftop, a balcony, a window sill, how big is your container. For small pots, consider growing herbs (Basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano etc) or small plants. It is also possible to grow vegetables like lettuce and other salad vegetables in a home setting, if you have a decent size planter. Apart from sunlight, a lot of time the reason why your vegetables doesn’t grow big/bear fruit is because of small soil volume which limits the growth of roots and nutrients absorption. Many fruit species are not suitable for home-growing unless you have a big garden/farmland. Fruit trees require a lot of soil volume so it’s better to be grown on land instead of in planters. Also, if you grow from a seed, it may take at least few years for the plant to bear fruit. However, it is still possible to grow certain types of fruits (which are not trees) at home, like strawberries, but it requires a lot of attention and care.
  3. Climate and Season - Growing crops from seeds/seedlings that are not local may lead to bad results. Always try to get seeds/seedlings which are harvested/raised locally so that your plant can adapt to local climate and grow strong. Different crops have different needs in temperature and humidity, so only grow seasonal crops to maximise success rate (If you are researching on this, remember not to reference sites from europe/america/abroad as their seasons are extremely different from Hong Kong. So find local sources or nearby regions)
  4. Pest control

Urban farming are prone to pest problems which are quite different from farmlands. Common pest problem we face are aphids, caterpillars. Many times it is because the plant is weak due to insufficient soil volume or lack of pruning and are more vulnerable to pest problems. Never use chemical fertilisers and pesticides for growing food you eat! Check out IPM - Integrated pest management for more details.

Many more….

Q2: What types of plants/vegetables/fruits would be the easiest to grow for normal Hong Kong households?

Depending on what growing area/situation you have:

Window sill: herbs e.g. basil, rosemary, thyme, mint, spring onion, parsley, coriander etc

Balcony: salad vegetables (e.g. lettuce, rocket), cherry tomatoes, okra, small eggplant etc

Garden - a lot more...

Q3: Is growing those plants very costly and time consuming?

No, should not be. Can get potting mix and seeds from local shops at a reasonable price - try to get from reliable and regional source to minimise carbon footprint. For sustainable growing practices, avoid using too much extra energy like UV lights, aquaponics settings etc. Always make use of natural and recycled resources - make good use of sunlight, rainwater, grey water reuse, collect useful food waste like coffee ground and eggshells as fertiliser/soil conditioner for plants. Time consuming? depends on your preference and what you grow.

Q4: How are the products compared to the ones sold in supermarkets?

You know exactly how it is grown, what is put into the soil and what’s in your plant! Low carbon footprint, no packaging!

Q5: Do you think that everyone should at least try growing their own food?

YES!

4. An organic food shop owner

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In the shop, there are products that help growing vegetables at home. The price is relatively high.

Q1: What are the challenges faced by Hongkongers if they want to grow vegetables at home?

A: Space! Space is really an issue. In order to grow vegetables, you have to have places large enough for it. Otherwise it is impossible to grow enough food for the family. Another problem is the pests. Due to the climate of Hong Kong, there will be lots of pests in summer with frequent raining. Winter is the best time to grow vegetables but again there is not enough space.

Q2: What are the easiest types of food to grow in Hong Kong?

A: If you mean something that can be harvested in a short time, tomatoes are quite easy to grow and they can be harvested in 2-3 months. Yet there are also things we should pay attention to. It is not as easy as putting the seeds in soil and they will grow automatically.

Summary of investigation

To get to know how organic farming work at home in Hong Kong and find out what are the difficulties prevent us to do it, we interviewed some people who are working on it or intend to appeal to people to plant organic food at home.

We learn from the two who are familiar with organic farming both point out a large obstacle to organic farming at home in Hong Kong – limited space. It’s a fact that people always have small housing space in Hong Kong, so there may be hard for them to find a place for them to plant something at home . Meanwhile, even though we can grow food at home, we still can hardly feed ourselves.

Apart from that, we found many other challenge to face. Pest problem can be hard to deal with since we wish not to use pesticide while they are easy to survive in Hong Kong’s warm climate. Sunlight can also be a challenge because there can be few windows in many people’s home so the access to sunlight is limited. And may people in Hong Kong are busy with their work so that they may not have time and energy to do home farming. Besides, some people have no confidence to grow food successfully and give up the idea.

However, since we interviewed who are standing for organic home farming, there’re still many ways to deal with these problems like starting with vegetables that are small and easy to grow. These measures add feasibility to our project.

Define

Word-Map

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 Mind-Map

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Problem statement

Hong Kong people need a way to grow vegetables at home because it can reduce chemicals and carbon emissions.

Rejected problem statements

  1. Rejected problem statement 1

Hong Kong people need a way to grow vegetables at home because it’s fun to do so.

  1. Rejected problem statement 2

Hong Kong people need a way to grow vegetables at home because of excessive vegetable packaging.

  1. Rejected problem statement

Hong Kong people need a way to grow vegetables at home for healthier and safer vegetables.

Ideate

Ideas

Untitled

Ideasfeasibility (0--5)5--most feasibleViability (0--5)5--most viableDesirability (0--5)5--most desirable
Green Smoothie Sampling and Recipe Book
4
3
3
Micronutrient Food Pills
3
4
2
Local Food Awareness Campaign
5
3
1
Rooftop Farmland
3
4
4
Salad Food Carnival
4
3
3
Veganism Awareness Campaign
5
2
1
Insect Tryout
2
4
5
Green Master Chef Competition
4
4
2
Vegetarian recipe workshop
4
3
3
Tutorial for growing vegetables at home
5
4
4
Selling seeds
4
3
5
Home Farming Kit
5
5
5
Smaller dishes campaign
4
3
3
Promoting fairtrade food products
3
5
3
Turning food waste to compost
4
3
5
Smoothie free-giving
3
3
4
Vegan Food Eating Contest
3
3
1
Raise awareness of GMO
4
4
1
Tea festival
3
3
5
Leftovers recipe book
3
3
3
One day vegan challenge
3
2
4

Tea festival 

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Rooftop farming

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Green Master Chef Competition

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Green Smoothie Stand

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Raising Awareness of GMO

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Insect Tryout

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Smaller dishes Campaign

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Home Farming Kit

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The 1 idea we voted for

-Home Farming Kit

Our team will design a home farming kit comprising a set of seeds and small containers for people to use conveniently at home. We are planning to sell the kits to the local community.

Reason

Our group chose the Home Farming Kit because the tool will allow people to start growing their own vegetables straight away.

Prototype

  1. What are we testing?

Home Farming Kit:

  • 5 types of seeds e.g. sprouts, cherry tomatoes, spring onions, chinese spinach / hin choy, okra
  • a container like a pot or a container with holes
  • tutorial: step by step manual on how to grow different types of vegetables
  • Whether the local community will have a positive response using the kit we designed.
  1. What are the assumptions?

That there is space for it within their homes

The user desires the vegetables included in the kit

They will afford it

They will actually use it

That growing at home will allow people to reduce the need to buy traditionally farmed vegetables with chemicals.

  1. Evaluation Framework: What are the questions you need to answer to evaluate the efficacy of your prototype? Metrics?
  • Can the seeds actually grow and develop into edible vegetables? Test grow sample seeds and observe growth.
  • How much yield can the farming kit produce? Tests grow with a few kits and measure the yield in grams/number of vegetables.
  • Will there be serious pest problems? Interview the user for feedback on their experience.
  • Would the public be willing to adapt to this new lifestyle of home-growing veggies? Carry out questionnaires and collect responses.
  1. Results of Prototyping: What went well? What were the "happy accidents"? What are the areas for improvement?

What went well--most of the seeds began to sprout except the cherry tomatoes. The seeds seem to work fine.

Areas for improvement? The tool kit needs to be redesigned because we couldn’t find a container that is durable enough yet low in cost. We need to also consider the most appropriate size for the container since we want to maximize the yield while not taking up too much space in people’s homes.