Visits to Sangwoodgoon (生活館) and Oi Yuen Villa (愛園別墅)
The Society is excited to present a day in the New Territories! We begin with a visit to Sangwoodgoon, an organic farm experimenting with new concepts in farming and healing our planet earth. Toting nature’s best, we will then visit Oi Yuen Villa, a private colonial estate once described as a “Ladies (Golf) Club House”. Under their veranda, we will enjoy a catered lunch of farm-to-table vegetables, freshly roasted piglets and some Hakka regional specialties.
Sangwoodgoon: A pioneer farming community for a sustainable future
Ghandi once said, “be the change you want to see in the world”. Sangwoodgoon (生活館) meaning “living pavilion” in Cantonese, lives the change they want to see in Hong Kong.
Established 4 years ago, Sangwoodgoon members have incorporated permaculture principles into farming, planting vegetables according to their seasonality and experimenting with rice plantation in order to create a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA). Members began to develop their own interest and research field through regular farming routines. These included fermentation, photography, traditional food processing, agricultural history of Hong Kong, positive designs and film festivals. They strive to be a pioneer farming community preparing for the inevitable energy decline and its effect on global capitalism.
On a global level, Sangwoodgoon is part of a movement of small scale organic farmers who wish to lessen our civilization’s reliance on depleting natural resources and reduce dependency on industrial farming and its harmful effects to our planet.
On a local level, they are linked with groups of environmentalists who seek to preserve farmlands and natural reserves, not only to strive for a 30% vegetable self-sufficient target (current vegetable self-sufficient rate is 1.8%), but also to grow vegetables in ways that are healthy for human consumption, healthy for the soil, and healthy for the water, creating a sustainable way of living in harmony with nature.
On a human level, they wish to live a healthy and enriching lifestyle that builds a culture based on cultivating and sharing the planet’s environment with other plants, animals (humans being one of many), insects and micro-organisms. During this farm visit, you will witness how farmers experiment with new concepts of farming and heal the planet with every small step. After all, we as humans are part of nature.
Oi Yuen Villa
The Oi Yuen Villa (愛園別墅) was built before 1919 as a blend of Tudor and Classical architecture styles. Old records described it as the “Ladies Club House” which indicates that it might have been historically associated with the nearby Fanling Golf Club. It was owned by Jardine Matheson & Company Limited from 1922-1946. In 1957, it became the private residence of Mr. Hui Oi-chow (訐愛周, 1881-1966) and renamed Oi Yuen Villa.
A prominent businessman from Zhanjiang, Mr. Hui was a generous philanthropist active in charity and education in Hong Kong and China. In 1981 the Hui Oi Chow Science Building (許愛周科學館) at The University of Hong Kong was named in his honour. Today, his family continues his tradition of giving and service to the community. For our visit, the Hui family will kindly open their home to our members as part for our New Territories outing. The large estate with mature trees and open grounds will be a perfect setting to enjoy a lunch of delectable specialties and freshly harvested organic vegetables of the season – a rare farm-to-table treat for Hong Kong urbanites!