Hello Kitty Becomes an Organic Farmer
Popular in trinket, sticker or logo form, Hello Kitty has taken on a new role: organic farmer. Just call her Alice Waters, in animated cat form.
Hello Kitty Go Green Organic Farm in Hong Kong has been open since last July. Farmer Raymond Cheng opted to partner with Sanrio to make his 50,000-square-foot organic farm a tourist attraction and educational hub for both kids and adults. Part interactive learning center, part theme park, the farm entices those otherwise uninterested in organic farming into Hello Kitty’s adorable world of freshly picked fruits and vegetables.
“At the farm, Hello Kitty is everywhere and is responsible for many things. Her standee greets visitors at the entrance. She waits on walkways, telling directions. She gives farming tips at the plots on instructional signs. She’s on the guide map, at the cafe and at the store (along with Kitty scarecrow dolls and other souvenirs). Her image even appears on melons from this farm,” reported Modern Farmer in January 2015.
Cheng started his farm in 2010 upon realizing that a lack of organic food and food safety issues were a major problem in China and Hong Kong. He started out farming on the weekend to improve his health and eventually quit his day job to pursue farming full-time.
Though food contamination from polluted soil and air is a huge issue in the region, most did not see the appeal of Cheng’s project. Before adding Hello Kitty to his farm plots, weekends would see about 100 customers interested in buying or growing organic crops on the land. Since the feline friend’s addition, 500-1,000 visitors come each day, Cheng told Inquisitr.com. Hello Kitty makes $759 million in annual revenue from over 50,000 branded products in over 70 countries, so the cat's influence is undeniable.
Perhaps this is what it takes to make organic farming mainstream: a corporate partnership and a cute face to smile at carrot crops. Hello Kitty has donned overalls and a brimmed hat with her signature red bow and become "Go Green." Go Green also has a pig named Mcnugg on the property, extending corporate influence beyond an animated kitten.
Cheng’s is the first themed organic farm in China and his contract with Sanrio runs through 2016. While attracting children to an organic farm indeed seems more productive than bringing them to a traditional theme park, is this what it will take to acquaint future generations with organic farming?