When Geoff Lawton says this is the best Permaculture demonstration site on the planet, then you have to stop and listen.
“Where is it exactly?” I asked, as I’ve never heard of this place. I didn’t know the Chinese were even into permaculture.
“Kadoorie Farm” he said and he insisted we go there and film. “It’s in Hong Kong on a massive mountain. The whole place has been redeveloped. You gotta see it”.
Geoff was teaching there four years ago and was blown away by what they managed to achieve. He described it as a “Permaculture Disneyland” that was very neatly manicured. It had been completely re-vegetated into a food forest with numerous water falls, ponds, rare turtles, terraced gardens on steep slopes, a compost and biochar system, a waste-water treatment plant and wetlands and so much more. It is an amazing site that was built so far ahead of its time with an emphasis on teaching local people.
Two brothers, Lawrence and Horace Kadoorie in 1951 took on an idea to redevelop a trashed and degraded mountainside on 148 hectares with the emphasis on helping people to help themselves through training, supply of agricultural inputs and interest-free loans.
The end result of our trip is a 16 minute video, that has Geoff as your tour guide, take you down the mountain slope, from the very top, through a forest system where the water is captured and irrigated down the steep terraced slopes, to the very bottom of the wetlands and nursery system. Geoff stumbled across an ingenious potting system they were using with great success that he dubbed the “airpot” as it allows plant roots to grow out laterally, and not be constrained, allowing faster growth once replanted in the natural system (Nursery Quality to Tree Planting Success).