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tree1.jpgPerhaps Peng Chau agricultural development started in the era of lime ash kilns. The primary group involved in cultivation were the Hakka. They endured bitter hardships but worked extremely hard and were thrifty.They got out to the fields at sunrise and rested during the midday heat. Besides planting vegetables and paddy rice, they raised pigs and poultry, like chickens, ducks and geese in order to basically be self-sufficient. Some Hakkas also fished or sold goods from makeshift shops and stores.

tree1.jpgThe ancient Chinese respected all aspects of nature whenever a new place was settled. The first immigrants to Peng Chau who were serious about settling down were the Hakkas. The verbal history handed down tells of immigrants checking the feng shui of the island, checking for fertile agricultural land and a source of fresh water, and noticing the island has ranges of hills on many sides of the island which helps shelter the island from the most violent storms.

Once the location has been selected, first a sacrifice is offered to the mountain spirit and the land asking for "the right of residence". Then an offering of obeisance to the world and to the ancestor, officially informs the land, the local gods, and everything living there that they are temporarily invading. Then the new residents would build a house and plant a feng shui forest. The feng shui forest would include fruit trees that would grow very large and medicinal plants and bamboo to shield the rooms from excessive sun in the summer and the cold northerly winds in the winter. Once this was done they would clear the fields for planting paddy rice and vegetables and dig the irrigation trenches and fish ponds. Simultaneously they would erect the ancestral land tablets in hopes that the mountain spirit will bless them.

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