Back in 2017, Hongkonger Jessica Naomi Fong learned how to grow vegetables from online videos and started a 300 sq ft indoor farm on the outlying island of Cheung Chau in the hopes of cultivating high-quality local produce.

Fong, now 33, started out growing tomatoes and now runs Common Farm, which supplies produce such as edible flowers and herbs to fine-dining restaurants and hotels across the city.

Her farm two years ago expanded to a 10,000 sq ft space in an industrial building in Yau Tong, Kowloon. The government last December also encouraged her to apply for its pilot indoor commercial farm, a 5,400 sq ft site near a residential area in the New Territories.

But the farmer turned down the invitation, citing its limited size and uncertainties about whether neighborhood residents would buy her produce, as her micro greens, often used as garnishes, were typically priced at HK$10 (US$1.28) per gram. Regular, full-sized vegetables sell for about HK$20 for 600 grams at wet markets.