Jessica Fong is the founder of Common Farms, a company that’s on a mission to transform food systems in dense urban cities. Previously involved in scaling F&B companies, she experienced the unsustainable practices the food industry is notorious for firsthand, which led to her launching Common Farms in 2017 to provide the local market with fresher, more sustainable alternatives to imported greens.
Common Farms grows specialty herbs, garnish leaves, microgreens and edible flowers in their Aberdeen urban farm. They supply to some of Hong Kong’s most popular restaurants – from Roganic and Amber to Frantzén’s Kitchen. Not only are Common Farms’ produce fresher, but it’s also grown without any harmful herbicides or pesticides, using only organic soil and fertilisers.
True to its name, Common Farm’s ambition is to make ‘farms more common’ in Hong Kong, specifically in the city. In our latest edition of ‘8Shades Of‘, we spoke to Jessica about her motivations, eco habits and her favourite microgreens!
1. In one sentence, tell us what you do!
I’m building a company called Common Farms and we are setting out to transform highly dense cities, starting from Hong Kong. We do this by growing fresh produce in the city centre.
2. Why are you an 8Shader?
I didn’t set out to work in sustainability, but once you discover an unsustainable practice, you start to find a more sustainable way to go about it.
I was originally working in F&B, which is notorious for its unsustainable methods. After I learned more about them, I decided to find an alternative, more eco-friendly way to approach it.
3. Your best eco habit?
Intermittent fasting is part of daily ritual. Practicing intermittent fasting is good for my health, and also for the environment because it means that I don’t over eat. I think this reduces overconsumption and reminds me to be more mindful of what I’m eating. I also really enjoy taking public transport, so I do that as much as possible.
4. Guilty not-so-green habit?
I like things very clean and I sometimes use too many paper towels. I also don’t cook much and order food often, which unfortunately comes with a lot of plastic packaging.
5. Fave eco product?
Washable and reusable bamboo makeup remover pads that replace cotton pads. Another eco-product that I use often are my reusable face masks, which means I don’t have to throw one away everyday.
6. Fave veggie dish in HK?
This one is hard cause there are so many. I love any dish piled with vegetables and fruits, and plant-based meals that don’t feature overly processed plant-based food.
One food item that has changed my perspective in the most pleasant way was Tina Barrat’s homemade vegan cheese, which she makes from scratch. I tried it for the very first time when I went to one of the lunches she hosted in Cheung Chau back in 2017.
When it comes to greens, I also love the onion chives we grow at Common Farms.
See also: 8Shades of… Tina Barrat of Ma…and The Seeds of Life
7. What’s next for Common Farms?
We will be moving to a much larger space that’s around 10,000 square feet, which is five to six times bigger than our current space. There will also be a wider variety of greens, but we can’t reveal too much yet!
8. What shade of green are you?
I’d say mint green because there are so many nuances when it comes to sustainability, and I’m still learning like everyone else!
NEXT: See all of our ‘8Shades Of‘ interviews
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