Making urban farming more sustainable in Hong Kong
JLL is supporting our clients in contributing to sustainability and community through the urban farms that we operate in Hong Kong.
Self-sustaining and financing model at YKK Building
Support clients in contributing to sustainability and community
9,000 sq. ft. at YKK Building
Property owner YKK (HK) Limited had a vision of demonstrating how feasible it is to farm in an urban environment, and to produce organic vegetables that benefits the city and its residents. This vision sowed the seeds for their urban farm atop YKK Building II in Tuen Mun.
What’s unique about this 9,000 square foot urban farm is that it is maintained and operated through a self-sustaining and financing model. Working closely with the property owner and their tenants, JLL has established an exclusive fund with proceeds from recycling and selling cardboard boxes and related materials discarded by the tenants.
The fund is then used to purchase seeds, equipment and soil needed to cultivate the farm and support the project’s day-to-day operations and maintenance.
“We are the first property management company in Hong Kong to involve its buildings in an urban rooftop farming initiative. We are proud to play a part in creating a more inviting community in a city regarded as one of the most densely populated places in the world, and helping to improve its urban landscape,” says Chi-keung Chan, senior director of property management at JLL Hong Kong.
“The rooftop farm helps turn the building’s under-utilised space into a place where our tenants can come together, hence strengthening our community bonds. It also allows us to enjoy the fun of farming, and take time away from our busy lives to learn about growing food. We find it rewarding to work together in growing the produce, and then sharing the harvest with local charities and those in need,” says Sotomi Funasugi, director and factory manager at YKK (HK) Limited.
Since 2014, JLL has been engaged to operate a rooftop urban farm at the Bank of America Tower in Central which was built in conjunction with social enterprises Time to Grow (now Rooftop Republic) and Sowers Exchange.
Rooftop farm at the Bank of America Tower, Central, Hong Kong
Drawing on the expertise of our NGO partners, planter boxes, a water irrigation system and additional fencing were installed for the safety of volunteers and the plants. The water irrigation system is fitted with a timer setting to nurture the growing crops between regular visits by local organic farmers.
The harvest that we reap is donated to Feeding Hong Kong, a local non-profit organisation dedicated to redistributing surplus food to people in need. Since the inception of the farm in 2015, we have donated over 900 kg of fresh, organic produce to benefit those in need in our community.
The farms provide a platform for community service and education involving staff and the community. Students from local schools have been invited to visit and join seed planting and harvesting workshops, where they can learn about the process of growing vegetables and the importance of supporting local farmers.
These rooftop farm projects align with the shortlisted United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3, 11 and 12 that have been incorporated into our global sustainability agenda – good health and well-being, sustainable cities and communities, as well as responsible consumption and production.