New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Category — China

Urban Agriculture Makes China’s Cities More Livable

timnight
In the Shapingba district, a house and surrounding gardens are lit by urban light pollution as skyscrapers loom large from a nearby housing development project that are gaining most of the lands in this part of town. Photo by Tim Franco. Click on image for larger file.

Over the next decade and a half, 350 million people, more than the entire population of the United States, will be added to Chinese cities.

By Jianming Cai
Professor, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR), Chinese Academy of Sciences
In Dawn of the Smart City – Perspectives from New York, Ahmedabad, San Paulo, and Beijing
Wilson Centre 2014

Excerpt:

For almost all of its long history, China has been a predominantly rural society. While in Europe the number of people living in cities surpassed those in
the countryside during the late 19th century,1 China only reached that mark in 2011. But now that it’s come, China’s urbanization is at a torrid pace.

Over the next decade and a half, 350 million people, more than the entire population of the United States, will be added to Chinese cities. Infrastructure is struggling to keep up, surrounding farmland is being encroached, and pollution is a major public health problem. One-fifth of China’s arable land is contaminated4 and three-quarters of the surface water flowing through urban areas is unsuitable for drinking or fishing.5 From many corners there have been calls for a change to more human-centered development that emphasizes social inclusiveness and environmental improvements alongside rational economic growth, rather than dominated by it.

[Read more →]

June 28, 2014   Comments Off

Tiny Farms and Gardens Sprout in Chengdu, China’s Urban Rubble

chendu
In rapidly urbanizing Chengdu, the old agricultural ways of the region are reasserting themselves. Photo by Sascha Matuszak

Chengdu’s middle and upper-middle classes are discovering an interest in alternatives like biodynamic farming.

By Sascha Matuszak
Resilient Cities
June 6, 2014

Excerpt:

In this case, tiny gardens sprout along the muddy banks between construction pits and half-built towers. Locals hack gardens out of the ruins of old homes and factories, and separate them from each other with makeshift walls of stone, wood, bamboo and the flotsam of an urban riverbank. These gardens are the work of the previous generation: men and women in their fifties and sixties, people who were foot soldiers in the Cultural Revolution, sent down to the countryside from the cities to learn the ways of the farmer. The majority have bought homes in the new apartment complexes along the river, and the gardening is “just for fun,” they say, something to do while their grandchild sleeps and their son is off at work.

[Read more →]

June 19, 2014   Comments Off

Urban Farmers in Chongqing, China

chq1
Wang Chengyun, a Chongqing resident, pauses for a photograph while helping his uncle clear an open plot on a construction site to use it for farming. Photo by Tim Franco. See all photos here.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

By Tim Franco
China File
May 1, 2014
(Must See! Mike)

Tim Franco is a French-Polish photographer based in Shanghai. Since 2005, he has been fascinated by the transformation of Chinese cities. He documents change through urban photography and keeps tuned in with the underground art world and the social implications of urbanization. For the past two years, Franco has been working on a long-term project looking at the fast urbanization in Chongqing.

Excerpt:

As its leaders often remind the world, China has twenty-two percent of the world’s population, but less than ten percent of its arable land (as much as one fifth of which, it was recently reported, is severely polluted). People find ways to make up for the shortfall. For centuries officials have complained of peasants cultivating marginal lands, and for just as long Chinese farmers have been geniuses of agricultural improvisation, making use of whatever land they could find when they needed it.

[Read more →]

May 5, 2014   Comments Off

Urban Farming in Beijing

nakonzJonas Nakonz.

“Beijing is definitely challenging. It’s dry. It’s hard to find good soil in the city.”

Mao
CRI English
Mar 17, 2014

Excerpt:

“I think the main challenge in Beijing doesn’t come from the size or the population. Beijing has pretty rough climate with very cold winters and very hot summers. Technically, it’s a bit more challenging than more temperate regions.”

Nakonz says he still has hope that urban gardening will become more popular. He says he has already seen evidence of this around the city.

[Read more →]

March 24, 2014   Comments Off

Value Farm – Shenzhen Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture 2013

value1
See more photos of the project here in full size.

The concept is transplanted onto a full-scale 2,100m2 open site within the factory premises as “test ground”.

Design Team: Gary Law, Bill So, Sam Wong
Curator (program): Tris Kee, Faculty of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong
Executive Partner: Chi Fai Fung, Farming Consultant

Value Farm creates value by cultivating the land as a collective effort. The project intersects issues of urban transformation, architecture and urban agriculture with an international cultural event, and explores the possibilities of urban farming in the city and how that can integrate with community-building. It forms part of the Shenzhen Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture 2013 (UABB), within Ole Bouman’s Value Factory located at the Shekou Former Guangdong Glass Factory in Shenzhen, a site that is itself undergoing radical transformation.

[Read more →]

March 10, 2014   Comments Off

Peri-Urban Farming For Beijing—Towards Sustainable Production

chinaperi

The success and massive scale of DQY eggs indicates that China food production is moving rapidly towards more environmentally sustainable and international standard-based processes.

Global Harvest
November 27th, 2013

Excerpt:

As part of the OECD-China Workshop, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture arranged a day-long study tour for attendees to visit several Chinese state-run cooperatives producing vegetables and eggs for the Beijing consumer market. These cooperatives represent some of the most advanced and successful examples of cooperative production in China. The visit provided a dramatic vision of the future of farming in China as the nation transforms from a traditional, smallholder-based production system to a more modern form of peri-urban farming for cities.

[Read more →]

December 1, 2013   Comments Off

Chinese Farmers – Replica Eiffel Tower – Ghost Town

chinaparis

Faux Paris in China – Photos by Aly Song

By Aly Song
Reuters
Aug 2, 2013

A farmer carrying a rake walks down a dirt road past a replica of the Eiffel Tower at the Tianducheng development area in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. Tianducheng, developed by Zhejiang Guangsha Co Ltd, started construction in 2007 and was known as a knockoff of Paris with a scaled replica of the Eiffel Tower standing at 108 metres (354 ft) and Parisian houses.

[Read more →]

August 3, 2013   Comments Off

Pitfalls Abound in China’s Push From Farm to City

chinrural
Built by the government over the past two years, the new Qiyan is a showpiece in the Chinese authorities’ plans to move millions of rural citizens out of the mountains and into apartment blocks in urban centers. Photo by Sim Chi Yin.

“We want to teach ordinary Chinese people to bid farewell to several backward ways of living.”

By Ian Johnson
New York Times
July 13, 2013

Excerpt:

Mr. Li is directing one of the largest peacetime population transfers in history: the removal of 2.4 million farmers from mountain areas in the central Chinese province of Shaanxi to low-lying towns, many built from scratch on other farmers’ land. The total cost is estimated at $200 billion over 10 years.

It is one of the most drastic displays of a concerted government effort to end the dominance of rural life, which for millenniums has been the keystone of Chinese society and politics. While farmers have been moving to cities for decades, the government now says the rate is too slow. An urbanization blueprint that is due to be unveiled this year would have 21 million people a year move into cities. But as is often the case in China, formal plans only codify what is already happening. Besides the southern Shaanxi project, removals are being carried out in other areas, too: in Ningxia, 350,000 villagers are to be moved, while as many as two million transfers are expected in Guizhou Province by 2020.

[Read more →]

July 15, 2013   Comments Off

Leaving The Land: China’s Great Uprooting: Moving 250 Million from Farms into Cities

chinaurban
Chongqing, one of the fastest-growing and biggest cities on earth, with a population of 29 million. The old buildings under the high-rises are destined for demolition in the near future. Photo by Justin Jin. See slideshow here.

Almost every province has large-scale programs to move farmers into housing towers, with the farmers’ plots then given to corporations or municipalities to manage.

By Ian Johnson
New York Times
June 15, 2013

Excerpt:

Beijing — China is pushing ahead with a sweeping plan to move 250 million rural residents into newly constructed towns and cities over the next dozen years — a transformative event that could set off a new wave of growth or saddle the country with problems for generations to come.

The government, often by fiat, is replacing small rural homes with high-rises, paving over vast swaths of farmland and drastically altering the lives of rural dwellers. So large is the scale that the number of brand-new Chinese city dwellers will approach the total urban population of the United States — in a country already bursting with megacities.

[Read more →]

June 18, 2013   Comments Off

Urban farming on brink of corporate era

aero
Aquaponics is a water-based system of farming, which uses fish waste to fertilise vegetables without the need for soil. Photo by Tom Levitt.

A mix of new and old technologies such as aquaponics and polytunnels are helping to make profitable city-based farming a reality in the world’s biggest cities

By Tom Levitt
China Dialogue
03.04.2013

Excerpt:

One of the world’s largest aeroponic farms has been running for more than a decade in Singapore, producing cut and bagged salads and herbs for local supermarkets – perishable products that are difficult to import.

According to local urban farming expert He Jie, professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, the ability to grow vegetables without soil makes aeroponics well-suited to a dense, urban setting.

[Read more →]

April 8, 2013   Comments Off

Farmingscrapers in Shenzhen, China by Vincent Callebaut Architects

farmsc1

Asian Cairns, Sustainable Megaliths For Rural Urbanity – Shenzhen 2013, China

By Vincent Callebaut Architects

Six multifunctional farmscrapers

The six gardening towers engraved in a Golden Triangle pile up a mixed programmation superimposing farmingscrapers cultivated by their own inhabitants. Like our Dragonfly project in New York, the aim is to repatriate the countryside in the city and to reintegrate the food production modes into the consumption sites. The megalithic towers are based on cairns, artificial stone heap present on the mountains to mark out the hiker tracks. Clever exploits of the construction, these six towers pile up housing, offices, leisure spaces in the monolithic pebbles superimposed on each other along a vertical central boulevard.

[Read more →]

March 9, 2013   Comments Off

Meet Rooftop Farmers in Beijing and Hong Kong

The Perennial Plate – Episode 110: A Tale of Two Rooftops

Filmed and edited by Daniel Klein, Mirra Fine
Created by theperennialplate.com
In Partnership with Intrepid Travel
(Must see. Mike)

“As a series we’ve covered a number of urban farms, it’s a subject that’s near and dear to our hearts as urbanites. Farms in the city, and particularly rooftop farms seem to be an obvious way to make positive change in our food systems. For that reason we wanted to see what two iconic Chinese cities had to offer. We found a burgeoning new movement with two charismatic folks at the forefront. Meet our farmers from Beijing and Hong Kong.”

Link to The Perennial Plate here.

January 6, 2013   Comments Off

China’s Insect Factories Hoping To Feed The World


Sweet ‘n sour maggots. (World Entomophagy)

UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are increasingly looking to entomophagy as a substitute for meat and fish

By Harold Thibault
LE MONDE/Worldcrunch
27.09.2012

Excerpt:

KUNYANG – Li Jinsui is an ambitious man. He invested 250,000 euros of his own money in this insect factory, sitting amidst the hills of Kunyang, on the outskirts of Kunming, the capital of the southwestern province of Yunnan. With seven patents, production officially kicked off in 2009.

Since then, no visitor comes by without being offered a plate of bamboo worms, one of the dishes in his catalogue. Yunnan Insect Biotechnologies also offers dried larvae, protein powder from insect exoskeletons and actual insects for human and animal consumption.

Li could be a pioneer. Experts from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are increasingly looking to entomophagy as a substitute for meat and fish but also as a cheaper alternative to animal feed, especially in fish farms.

[Read more →]

November 20, 2012   Comments Off

Green fingers and green houses in China


Li Hongwen, 31, has planted more than 20 types of vegetables on his balcony in the Shunyi district of Beijing. Feng Yongbin/China Daily

A growing number of people have taken to “urban farming” in the wake of a series of food safety scandals.

By He Na
China Daily
2012-09-19

Excerpt:

Han Qunhui’s home in Changsha, Hunan province, is situated in a large community where most of the buildings look the same. Even friends who’ve visited several times before have been apt to get lost in the “maze” of houses.

But that’s all changed recently. Now, visitors can find Han’s home quickly, even if they still have no idea of her building and room number.

The change is due to Han’s balcony: It resembles a green tent hanging outside the fifth floor, with towel gourd vines, rows of beans and agaric vegetables overflowing the open balcony, where large bowls of endive, lettuce and shallots also grow.

[Read more →]

September 19, 2012   Comments Off

Urban Farmers Union in Beijing, China

Kickoff meeting was on August 11, 2012

Co-organized by HomeShop and Jonas Nakonz

From their website:

A gathering to exchange information on urban farming in Beijing. It’s an opportunity to meet likeminded people, learn some facts and d.i.y. techniques, and share knowledge and experiences. How can we access soil and fertilizer? Where can we get seeds? What materials can we use for containers, and where can we put them? How can we work together to make it easier and more fun?

[Read more →]

September 5, 2012   1 Comment