Food Boundaries, Pandemic, and Transborder Relations: Hong Kong’s Food Localism and Colored Consumption
研究論文 Research Paper
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.