Chinese Government encourages urban agriculture
A pumpkin grown by a family in Nanluoguxiang. Photo: Courtesy of the Nanluoguxiang community.
“Things that you grow yourself are extra tasty.”
By Li Shuang and Chen Jing
September 14 2010
The Beijing Agricultural Bureau is trying to encourage the cultivation of mini-farms on balconies and in yards by offering residents free seeds and farming equipment. Growing one’s own greens can help to reduce carbon emissions, clean the air and release stress.
Starting this Saturday, Beijingers can go to their residence committees to receive a limited number of seeds and fertilizer offered by the bureau.
The information hotline 12316, which used to only serve Beijing’s rural population, is now prepared to field any questions posed by urban farmers.
“We want Beijingers to become balcony farmers because it is a healthy and low-carbon lifestyle,” said a spokeswoman surnamed Su with the agricultural bureau. “The vegetables and fruits you grow in your home are completely organic and safe to eat.”
Equipment includes a seed tray and bottled liquid fertilizer, custom-designed for balcony farmers by experts at the Beijing Academy of Agricultural Sciences. The kits come in three sizes: a six-square-meter kit suits ground-floor residents with yards, while the two-square-meter version fits most balconies and has a handy fertilizer drip system. “With our fertilizer, you won’t have pest problems,” Su said, but was unable to elaborate on why.
Offered seeds include cucumber, cherry tomato and melon. “With the fertilizer we offer, cherry tomatoes can be ready for harvest within a month,” said Su.