YOUTH MEKONG WORKSHOP

On July 19 th 2019, Y-Farm (Youth Farm Network) cooperated with Green Summer to organize a workshop with the topic “Eco-farming and its market”. The activity intended to create a meeting place for youth from Viet Nam and Hong Kong to discuss and exchange opinions and initiatives on youth development, sustainable farming, and its markets. Although having a background in
finance and economy Hong Kong students would love to dive deep into this topic which is totally different in Hong Kong as the market is dominated by imported food. Meanwhile, students from Viet Nam are from a number of fields such as agronomy, plant protection, medicine, tourism, foreign trade.

In the morning, youth from Viet Nam visited Viet Nam History Museum at 2 Nguyen Binh Khiem street, Bến Nghé ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh city. The group felt curious and excited about the origin of human in general and Vietnamese in specific via a number of artifacts which are showcased to recall the past when old civilizations blossomed and demolished.

Then, the group moved the Ben Thanh market which is an iconic place of Ho Chi Minh city. Students had the chance to comprehend the hustle and bustle of this market without loosing its spirit in good service towards the customers.

In the afternoon, two group of students gathered up at BMS meeting place. Following the personal introduction, Ms. Suong organized the “eye-contact” game to break the ice among attendants and warm up the workshop. The barriers among people seemed to disappear as laughs echoed in the small room.

Then, I (Mr.Khang) did a presentation in “Eco-farming and its market”. It can be said that this theme may be not new to youth from both groups due to the widespread information on the Internet. However, the basic principles of organic farming as well as the reasons why organic farming has developed could be a myth. The main purpose of the presentation was to uncover those things.

The next part was discussion. We divided everyone into 3 groups, each group would answer a question including: “ what is the role of organic farming in environmental perspectives?”, “What is the role of young people in contributing to organic farming?”, “What are the differences and similarities in the perception of HongKonger and Vietnamese on organic food?”. It could be seen
that the discussion turned heated when each group showcased the answer and debated with other groups to protect their opinions without loosing the common ground.

The main point of the discussion part was not to find the one-size-fit-all answer but the different perspectives from students having diverse backgrounds.

To put everything into practice, we moved to Farmers’ market which is a safe food store to give the youth the picture of eco-farming products’ markets in this biggest city. The students were awed by the number of products ranging from fresh fruits to processed food with VietGAP, USDA Organic, Canada Organic and EU Organic certificate.

The final destination was Vinamit Organics which focuses on producing dried fruits from organically certified ingredients (EU and USDA certificate). In this store, youth had the chance to taste the free samples from a number of products.

At the end of the day, we had to say goodbye although we hoped to lengthen the meeting. Grabbing a short few seconds, youth from both groups exchanged their personal contact to stay in touch. Shaking hands, hugging, and be looking forward to join the next meetup were seen at the last moment.

 

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