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Category — China

China: Villages changed into cities liberating women from farm drudgery


She spent her childhood working in the fields, feeding the family’s pigs. The destruction of rural China became for Xiao Zhang a liberation – and an opportunity. This is the story of how her life changed as much as her country.

By Carrie Gracie
BBC News
June 22, 2015
(Must See. Mike)


She’d started helping with the farm work almost as soon as she could walk and when she was 11, she dropped out of school.

“Every family was poor but we were poorer,” she says.

“My mother was often ill. As the eldest I always had to help out, feeding the pigs, working in the fields, looking after the little ones.

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July 1, 2015   Comments Off on China: Villages changed into cities liberating women from farm drudgery

China’s children learn about city farming


Many students, both in elementary school and high school, gather there to learn some knowledge about hydroponics, study the importance and prospect of UPA, and enjoy the vegetable picking together with their parents.

By Jia NI
Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences
May 22, 2015

Excerpt from “Food For Cities”

As far as I know, the Urban farming/Urban Peri-urban Agriculture(UPA) is becoming more popular and attracting more attention from the city governors. Take Beijing for example. Since the beginning of this century, the local government, as well as academics and universities, have invested a lot of money and intellectuals in the relevant areas, hoping not only to improve the urban-rural linkage, but also to educate children by setting up some demonstration parks for the citizens, especially for young students.

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June 2, 2015   Comments Off on China’s children learn about city farming

Vertical farming offers solutions for China’s cities

The design of a vertical farm shown during an expo at the Hainan International Creative Harbor in Haikou, Hainan province in 2011. (File photo/CFP)

It is estimated that by 2030 there will be 800 million people living in China’s cities who need a safe and stable supply of nutrients. By that time, vertical farming practices in cities may play a role in contributing to the supply.

Chinese Times


Lin Jinyi plants 800 head of lettuce in his 15 square meters of living space in Hangzhou and can harvest as much as 500 kilos of the vegetable at a time. Without using any growth hormone or chemicals, all the 39-year-old Lin does is hang the plants on poles. It is the purest form of soil-free cultivation.

A former employee of Google China, Lin is now a “modern farmer” who guides Chinese farmers in building vertical farming systems.

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May 27, 2015   Comments Off on Vertical farming offers solutions for China’s cities

Kickstarting Beijing’s Urban Farming Movement

Photo: SCMP.

The project’s initial objective is to have 30 households participate

By Margaux Schreurs
The Beijinger
Apr 23, 2015


The Sanyuanli Garden Project, run by the French Youth Economic Chamber of Beijing and RISE, a student environmental association, is doing exactly that on April 26 with their first shot at spurring on an urban farming movement in Beijing. Urban farming has the ability to solve a lot of troubles that residents (especially the elderly) in Beijing face: they will have a way to keep moving, a method to relieve stress, and will help contribute to lowering PM 2.5 levels in the long run. And as a bonus, will supply the city with some much needed aesthetic improvement.

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May 1, 2015   Comments Off on Kickstarting Beijing’s Urban Farming Movement

10,000-sq-metre roof top farm makes waves in China

A large farm has been built on top of a factory in southwest China’ s Chongqing Municipality. The farm features crops, livestock and even a tractor.

The Economic Times
Mar 6, 2015
(Must see. Mike)

This 10,000-square-metre farm in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality may look ordinary at first glance.

But this is an exceptional farm situated on top of a sprawling factory that manufactures doors. It is big enough that a tractor is needed to help with farming.

The factory’s staff grow crops there, as well as raise poultry and livestock.

Factory official Lu Xiaoqing explained the company’s rationale for setting it up. “It would be a waste if we left the big rooftop unused. That’s why we created a farming project that involves our staff,” he was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.

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March 6, 2015   Comments Off on 10,000-sq-metre roof top farm makes waves in China

Urban Agriculture Makes China’s Cities More Livable

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


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.

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June 28, 2014   Comments Off on Urban Agriculture Makes China’s Cities More Livable

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

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


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.

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June 19, 2014   Comments Off on Tiny Farms and Gardens Sprout in Chengdu, China’s Urban Rubble

Urban Farmers in Chongqing, China

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.


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.

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May 5, 2014   Comments Off on Urban Farmers in Chongqing, China

Urban Farming in Beijing

nakonzJonas Nakonz.

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

CRI English
Mar 17, 2014


“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.

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March 24, 2014   Comments Off on Urban Farming in Beijing

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

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.

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March 10, 2014   Comments Off on Value Farm – Shenzhen Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture 2013

Peri-Urban Farming For Beijing—Towards Sustainable Production


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


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.

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December 1, 2013   Comments Off on Peri-Urban Farming For Beijing—Towards Sustainable Production

Chinese Farmers – Replica Eiffel Tower – Ghost Town


Faux Paris in China – Photos by Aly Song

By Aly Song
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.

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August 3, 2013   Comments Off on Chinese Farmers – Replica Eiffel Tower – Ghost Town

Pitfalls Abound in China’s Push From Farm to City

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


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.

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July 15, 2013   Comments Off on Pitfalls Abound in China’s Push From Farm to City

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

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


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.

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June 18, 2013   Comments Off on Leaving The Land: China’s Great Uprooting: Moving 250 Million from Farms into Cities

Urban farming on brink of corporate era

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


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.

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April 8, 2013   Comments Off on Urban farming on brink of corporate era