Food Boundaries, Pandemic, and Transborder Relations : Hong Kong’s Food Localism and Colored Consumption

香港的食物本土主義與跨境政治 : 新冠疫症與顏色消費

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-41
Journal / Publication亞太硏究論壇
Issue number68
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


This paper seeks to examine food localism through the changing transborder relations between Hong Kong (HK) and China. Before the 1980s, HK was still a city producing much of its own food. Since China’s economic reform and opening, an increasing amount of fresh food from China has been crossing the border into HK. The availability of cheap vegetables and meat intensified market competition, and the rapid urbanization and internationalization of the local economy have
contributed to the rapid decline of local food production. At the turn of the millennium, HK witnessed a revival of interest in local vegetable production. Both civil efforts and government-led programs have boosted the momentum of local agriculture, with a focus on organic food production. Despite the fact that HK still largely relies on imported food from China, there has been a subtle moral boundary between “local food” and “food from China”, which sees locally grown food as cleaner and safer. During the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in early 2020, there was increasing demand for fresh local food. Such a wave of local food consumption coincided with a political economic development, namely the “yellow economic circle” which emerged during the 2019 social protests, supporting local production and democracy and opposing pro-China businesses and red capital. Despite the ambivalence of these colored economies, food localism keeps evolving along the blurred lines between the local, the translocal, and the global, and is part and parcel of the ongoing contestations of HK’s transborder politics.
本文從香港與中國的跨境政治變化探討二十年來食物本土主義在香港的發展。自上世紀 1980 年代中國改革開放以來, 香港便越漸倚賴從中國輸入的廉價食材, 本地農業生產迅速下降。1990 年代末, 在本地環保及崇尚有機耕種人士, 以及政府的推動下, 人們對本地農業再度產生興趣。事實上, 香港人對本地及中國生產的食物一直持有微妙的道德界線, 視前者更清潔、更安全。2020 年疫症爆發, 人們對本地新鮮食物的需求不斷增加, 出現大量網購平台。這股需求結合了 2019 年社會運動產生的「黃色經濟圈」, 為食物本土主義、顏色消費、跨境政治帶來新的衝擊和發展。

Research Area(s)

  • Food localism, Transborder politics, Coloured consumption, Yellow Economic Circle, COVID-19 pandemic, 食物本土主義, 跨境政治, 顏色消費, 黃色經濟圈, 新冠病毒疫症