Academic journal article Austrian Journal of South - East Asian Studies

"Plant Some Plants, Plant Some Hope, Plant Some Future". Urban Gardening at Lingnan University of Hong Kong: An Interview with Prof. Kin-Chi Lau

Academic journal article Austrian Journal of South - East Asian Studies

"Plant Some Plants, Plant Some Hope, Plant Some Future". Urban Gardening at Lingnan University of Hong Kong: An Interview with Prof. Kin-Chi Lau

Article excerpt

Prof. Kin-Chi Lau is currently Associate Professor at the Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University, Hong Kong.1 Her areas of interest cover cultural studies, contemporary China studies, and comparative literature as well as critical pedagogy and gender studies. She promotes the idea of a transition campus at Lingnan University and is one of the initiators of the organic Urban Gardening Project2 there. She is also a founding member of the Global University for Sustainability.3 Rainer Einzenberger conducted this interview with Prof. Kin-Chi-Lau on the topic of urban gardening in Hong Kong via Skype in March 2015. Michaela Hochmuth was in charge of the editing. The interview portrays the Urban Gardening Project, its history, structures, and organizational characteristics. It engages with the participants of the project and their challenges and difficulties in realizing it. The broader and complex concepts of food sovereignty, food security, and 'commons' build the contextual background of this dialogue.

Prof. Kin-Chi Lau ist derzeit außerordentliche Professorin am Institut für Kulturwissenschaften an der Universität von Lingnan, Hong Kong. Ihre Interessensgebiete umfassen Kulturwissenschaften, zeitgenössische China-Studien, vergleichende Literaturwissenschaften sowie kritische Erziehungswissenschaften und Gender Studies. Sie treibt die Ideen des transition campus an der Universität von Lingnan voran und ist diesbezüglich eine der Projektinitiatorinnen des Stadtgartens für biologischen Anbau. Darüber hinaus ist sie Gründungsmitglied der Global University for Sustainability. Rainer Einzenberger führte dieses Interview mit Prof. Kin-Chi Lau zur Thematik des städtischen Gartenbaus in Hong Kong via Skype im März 2015. Michaela Hochmuth war für die Editierung verantwortlich. Urbane Landwirtschaft erfreut sich in Südostasien angesichts wachsender Besorgnis über Klimawandel und fortschreitende Urbanisierung sowie im Kontext einer Wiederaufwertung bio-ökologischer Anbauformen als "gutes" Essen einer wachsenden Popularität. Das Interview zeichnet das Stadtgarten-Projekt, dessen Geschichte, Strukturen und organisatorische Merkmale nach. Es beschäftigt sich mit den Akteuren und Akteurinnen sowie deren Herausforderungen und Schwierigkeiten im Zuge der Umsetzung des Projekts. Die umfassenden und vielschichtigen Konzepte von Ernährungssouveränität, Ernährungssicherheit und commons stellen den kontextuellen Rahmen des Dialogs dar.

Rainer Einzenberger: You initiated an organic Urban Gardening Project at Lingnan University in Hong Kong in 2014. What was the intention of the project and how did the idea for this project come into being?

Kin-Chi Lau: We started this project in September 2014 but prior, we had been very much concerned with questions of food security, food safety, and food sovereignty. These issues have been our main concern ever since we convened two forums on questions of sustainability. In December 2011, we held one main conference called the South-South Forum on Sustainability4 at Lingnan University in Hong Kong and in December 2012, we had the second forum in Chongqing at the Southwest University. To these two forums we invited over 200 scholars and activists from over 30 countries across different continents, including Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia from South America; South Africa, Mozambique, Mali, Senegal, Egypt from Africa; Thailand, India, Nepal, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Korea, and Japan from Asia; as well as countries from Europe and North America. So the concern about food sovereignty and sustainability has already been there for many years.

As for the project at the university, the main idea is that it would be a pedagogic project by which students could gain more understanding not only about plants and gardening, but also about issues of global warming and climate change. Lingnan is a small liberal arts university. We have about 2,700 undergraduates, 3,000 associate degree students, and maybe 2,000 postgraduate students. …

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