PEOPLE WHO FARM ON THE ROOF
The current rooftop farming population in Hong is about 1400 people. Managers of ‘open’ farms have reported that their farms are oversubscribed and both membership and the extent of farm area worked by individual participants has had to be restricted. (Ground level community gardens have similar multiple year waiting lists).
In interviews, farm managers identified participants as either ‘regular farmers’, typically visiting the farm four or more times a week for a total of more than 3.5 hours, or ‘occasional farmers’ who visited only once or twice per week for less than 1.5 hours total.
From questionnaires completed by rooftop farmers to date, key demographic groups are young professionals (18-25 yrs old), middle age workers (35-55), and the recently retired (55-75). The elderly (65-85) were widely viewed as a group likely to become much more involved (as the density of farms in the city increased), due to their greater free time and interest in health issues.
Nearly all farmers reported their level of experience as ‘very little’ or ‘none’. Even very regular farmers (who saw themselves as enthusiastic amateurs) reported their experience only as ‘somewhat competent’. Farm mangers did not consider expertise to be a limiting factor in the development of rooftop farming as instruction and support was readily available, and because the key outcome for participants was social rather than productive.
Participants reported their key motivations as: (1) learning new things; (2) pleasure in growing things; (3) social interaction; and (4) opportunity for outdoor recreation.
In ‘open’ farms, some 64% of participants travelled less than 400m to the farm (<10 minutes) from their point of origin (home or work), with 96% having journeys of 800m (20 minutes) or less
If you are a farmer, tell us why you love farming in the following questionnaire. Should you have any enquiries, contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org (Mr Mathew Pryor).