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​​Public asked what to do with nine-acres of farmland in Richmond

Henry Yao, MLA for Richmond South Centre, said this farm project showcases that Richmond is a place where people look after each other.

What’s going to happen to a nine-acre parcel of farmland on Richmond’s Finn Road is up to anyone with a good idea, according to Tom Torng, communication director of the Tzu Chi Foundation, the Taiwanese charity that owns it.

The only stipulation is that the land ultimately serves the public good.

"Whoever has an idea to make this land useful, and benefiting more people, is welcome to share their thoughts with us," said Torng. 

Over the past few weeks, local MLAs and representatives of various organizations have visited the farm, according to Torng. 

"We all share the same vision: using this land to enrich more people's lives by bringing more food to their table or educating our next generation about the importance of farming," said Torng, adding that "it's going to be an exciting project."

Henry Yao, MLA for Richmond South Centre, along with members of Urban Bounty (formerly known as Richmond Food Security Society), visited the farmland on Thursday to look for ways to collaborate. 

"This project showcases that Richmond is a community of people who look after each other," said Yao. 

In April, a businessman donated this piece of land to Tzu Chi Foundation, a group formed by Taiwanese immigrants to support newcomers, as well as the general public. 

The businessman’s only mandate was that the land be used in such a way as to benefit the most vulnerable in society.

Since then, dozens of volunteers from Tzu Chi have been working on the farm from dawn to dusk growing berries, fruits and vegetables.

Now that winter is here, and volunteers are taking a pause from gardening, the group is asking the community at large to brainstorm with them to come up with the best use for the land.

"We are happy to collaborate with local churches (and other organizations) to bring more fresh food to everyone's table. We are also eager to welcome more students to take a field trip here to understand that farming plays an essential role in our country's economy. 

"We are open to all suggestions. The project won't be complete without input from you," said Torng.