農業、農村、農民和農產，並不是一件一件孤立單一的可量化經濟及政策單位，圖表和檔案並不是其唯一甚至恰當的終點及形式。百分之二的蔬菜自給率，難免灰暗，也不特別刺激想像及意志。如果我們都偏向認為滴水穿石等不及，又或現實太凜烈、太銅牆鐵壁，今年的片目，何不就試看為介入食物系統的不同位置或姿態？關心勞工問題的，有《The Harvest》（2011）、想了解食物安全及台灣麻鷹大量死亡之間關係的，可看《老鷹想飛》（2015）、想了解當下香港台灣日本青年農夫的鬥志與困惑的，要看《移步廣碧》（2016）、有興趣廚藝教育，《Pressure Cooker》（2008）告訴你美國草根黑人學童的學廚之路、《Natureplay》(2016）對照美式講求競爭及北歐較親近大自然的教育理念，對兒童及未來社會走向的迥異效果、《風之波紋》（2015）是一幅人物肖像，也是一個城市人嵌入農村裏農事周期、傳統建築技術、新舊社群的慢而淡的紀錄、《The Farmer and the Chef》（2014）拍攝了一個小農場與一家餐廳並不一蹴而就的關係。與其空積極的說，甚麼人都有關心的理由，不如說誰不與食物系統打着某種形式的交道。
Grow to be Humble, Grow to be Bold:
The 3rd Sangwoodgoon Food and Farming Film Festival
Written by Chow Sze Chung, Translated by Jessie Ng
Every year, the Mid-Autumn Festival marks the beginning of farmers’ hard work. It is the time when farmers start to grow the farm products to be sold in the forthcoming Chinese New Year. This year, flower growers in Pat Heung have started to plant gladiolus corms in the fields, thereby creating a rich scent of wheat flour in late October. As for us Sangwoodgoon, we grow daikons. Not only did we prepare the compost and hay required, in our fields where rice had just been harvested, but we also plowed and left the soil for some sunshine before sowing several seeds in every hole. Nevertheless, two typhoons passed Hong Kong in mid-October, one brought heavy rain and the other brought fierce wind. Together, they tore down almost all the farmers’ hard work. In the coming Chinese New Year, there will surely still be gladiolus and daikons in the market. If you find any local products, you should know that they represent the extra perseverance and hard work of the local farmers. They are the products grown in hard times.
On the other hand, the local agriculture magazine, Planting Hong Kong, has launched its first issue this year. Created by TV Yuen from Mapopo Community Farm, together with folks who care about local agriculture and the development of the New Territories, the magazine was made happen mostly on the basis of voluntary work. Even the distribution was done bit by bit on a small scale, with each member selling ten copies to friends, bookstores or local stores. The process of disseminating Planting Hong Kong has simultaneously linked up different parties. The connection between the magazine and people or local stores brings gradual changes. It is a process of organisation as if farmers cultivating an abandoned or destroyed land with green manure or corms.
In fact, two years ago during the 1st Food and Farming Film Festival, we mentioned that we see the production and screening of documentary as a process of organisation. Documentary filmmakers do not only connect the subjects being filmed. As a medium between the subjects being filmed and the audience, these filmmakers connect the two parties by creating a communication beyond conventional visual consumption. We also believe that screening events are attempts of creating new communities. However, these ideas were rather romantic that were yet to be actualised at that time.
Fortunately, our festival events became more encouraging and memorable last year, especially with the two screening events carried out at Society for Indigenous Learning (SOIL) and New Choi Yuen Village respectively. The events created a knowledge exchange venue for people of different ages, social backgrounds, and people with different values. The events also brought music, storytelling, cooking, film and local agriculture together. At night, the villages became a wonderful theatre for us to traverse history. Didn’t these events contribute to creating new communities?
Although we only take the chance to organise events annually under this film festival, we hope that the events could ignite some bonding, ideas, emotions and actions in daily life. As we spend more time on farming, we become humbler but bolder at the same time. There is a Chinese idiom, similar to 'dripping water hollows out stone’, to express that with persistence, we can overcome all kinds of difficulties. The idiom indeed does not tell how much time it would take for the dripping water to wear away a stone like that. This belief might be too romantic, but everything takes time to develop.
Agriculture, villages, farmers and farm products are not just separate and quantifiable economic units. Graphs and documents are not the only ways to describe and understand them. When our food self-sufficiency ratio goes as low as 2%, it is difficult not to feel discouraged. Nonetheless, even if you tend to think we are running out of time for changes to happen, or that the reality is too cruel to face, the films this year may bring you some new perspectives to reflect upon our food system. With The Harvest (2011), you may learn more about labour problems; with Fly, Kite Fly (2015), the relation between food security and the high number of deaths of black kites in Taiwan; with Agroway (2016), the ambition of young farmers in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan, and the struggles they face; with Pressure Cooker (2008), the culinary education experience of black children from grassroot families; with NaturePlay (2016), the differences in the development of children and society between the United States and Northern Europe, the former’s education policy emphasising competitiveness and the latter emphasising experiencing Nature. Whereas Kaze no Hamon (2015) documents the personal story of a city dweller experiencing the periodic agricultural schedule and traditional architectural skills among new and old communities, The Farmer & the Chef (2014) portrays the complex relationship between a small local farm and a restaurant. Undoubtedly, all of us are involved and participating in the food system in certain ways.
I would specifically like to mention the two screenings at Mapopo Community Farm this year. This summer, Henderson Land Development Company Limited repossessed a part of farmland on Mapopo Community Farm. Members and supporters of the farm community fought a tough war in heat and humidity, but the media only represented the incident as a dispute over private land, avoided to bring up the fundamental problems of the development of North East New Territories. The two films to be shown at Mapopo Community Farm concern respectively issues of farmworkers and an old building after a natural disaster. Although the films are not directly related to the farmland repossession, we hope that through the film-watching experience, the events could encourage the audience to build reciprocity and learn more about the site of Mapopo and its current context. Protesting is not farmers’ mission, but it has become the fate of farmers across time and space. Despite the urgency of protesting, we should bear in mind that things take time to develop, and we should find appropriate, effective and proactive positions for ourselves in order to be the resilient produce under hard times.