HONG KONG—It’s not easy to find the Mango King. “Do you want to go the safe way? Or the quick way?” asks Michael Leung, a designer and urban farming advocate, as we walk past the wholesale fruit market in Hong Kong’s Yau Ma Tei district, halfway up the Kowloon Peninsula. We opt for the quick way, which takes us through a tangled web of highway off-ramps and access roads. Two decades ago, this area was open water, but land reclamation and infrastructure works have turned it into an uninviting no man’s land next to one of Hong Kong’s most crowded neighborhoods.
Somewhere in this mess of traffic is a leftover patch of land that has been turned into an illegal farm.
“We call him the Mango King because he loves mangoes so much,” Leung says after we dodge an oncoming taxi. The Mango King is one of a growing number of urban farmers in Hong Kong, maximizing the city’s tight spaces to produce his own food. He currently grows sweet potatoes, 45 papaya trees, five mango trees, three banana trees, and two lychee trees on 700 square feet of land.
Hong Kong’s Guerrilla Gardeners (Slate)