Class of 2022

Jessica Fong

Gamechanging Producers

31 / Hong Kong

The vertical farming advocate feeding Hong Kong with fresh local produce

One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Hong Kong might be the last place where you’d think you’d be able to source local fresh produce. In fact, on an average day, between 95 and 99% of the produce that is consumed in the city is imported. Jessica Naomi Fong set out in 2017 to change this situation.

Having started out in the food and beverage manufacturing industry, Jessica witnessed first-hand the issues surrounding food quality and wastage that affected not only Hong Kong, but also the global supply chain. Inspired by Italy and other countries with vibrant agricultural systems, she decided to bring fresh produce to her city – albeit in an unconventional way. Common Farms was born in 2017 with the aim of making high quality, pesticide free, nutritious and freshly grown food more accessible to the Hong Kong community all year round, thanks to a network of urban vertical farms that are breathing new life into idle industrial spaces.

Jessica’s farms use organic soil and compost, LED lights and aquaponics technology to grow over 10 times the amount of produce of an equivalently sized outdoor farm, while using 95% less water. The low-carbon-footprint produce is then distributed across Hong Kong, from the city’s top restaurants to people’s homes, empowering the community to eat less processed foods. Commons Farms is on the way to securing the city with a trustworthy, locally produced source of high-quality produce that also avoids the negative impact in terms of carbon footprint and food waste – Jessica’s dream come true.

“Traditional farming is unpredictable, uncertain, dictated by the weather, the climate and other elements that are out of our control. We can now grow precisely what the market wants and needs and ultimately shorten the food supply chain that is currently unnecessarily costly, inefficient and wasteful.” – Jessica Fong

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