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Category — 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Farmingscrapers in Shenzhen, China by Vincent Callebaut Architects


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.

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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
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


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.

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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


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.

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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?

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September 5, 2012   1 Comment

Hundreds of millions of residents in China abandon farming for better paid work in cities

Labourer working on a construction site in the summer heat in Ningbo, east China’s Zhejiang province. China’s countryside is facing a widening wealth gap as hundreds of millions of rural residents abandon farming for better paid work in cities, according to a report released on August 21.

China study warns rural wealth gap near ‘danger’ level

Aug 22, 2012

SHANGHAI: China’s countryside is facing a widening wealth gap as hundreds of millions of residents abandon farming for better paid work in cities, a report said, warning rural inequality was approaching “danger” levels.

The Centre for Chinese Rural Studies said inequality in rural areas was growing given the difference in incomes between those who farmed and those who flocked to cities as migrant workers.

“The difference in rural residents’ income is getting bigger and pressure on living expenses is increasing,” the centre said in a statement reported in state media today.

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August 23, 2012   Comments Off

Organic Farming in Urban China: Reflections from a Study Tour

Little Donkey Farm.

There are also plots here for people to rent and grow their own

By Stephen Couling
Post Growth
22nd July 2012


Signs of a healthier, cleaner and greener China are around us. We are walking, one morning, from the bus stop some way north of the Summer Palace in Beijing to visit Little Donkey Farm, a 15 Hectare organic, open-field operation set up in 2008 in Houshajian West Village in the Haidian District in north-west Beijing. Here is Beijing’s first-ever Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) scheme. It also had partnerships with the Haidian District Agriculture and Forestry Ministry and the Renmin University School of Agricultural, Economics and Rural Reconstruction Department. The stated mission here is “to include agriculture in the tertiary industry of culture and heritage through mobilising not just farmers, but citizens, NGOs, and governments to join the sustainable agricultural movement.”

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July 29, 2012   1 Comment

Balcony farmers are taking root in China

Beijing residents grow vegetables and plants on their building’s roof. Photo by Xinhua.

With growing wealth, concerns about food safety and the fever for online shopping, more urbanites are taking to farming on their own terms.

By Zheng Jinran
China Daily
June 23, 2012


The perfect storm of two major trends in China – online shopping and growing concerns about food safety – has given birth to a generation of urban farmers.

More urban residents, many of whom are young people between the ages of 25 to 35 living in metropolises such as Beijing, are growing vegetables and herbs on their balconies or rented farmland in the suburbs, and turning to Taobao, a major online shopping service provider in China, to start their apartment gardens.

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June 24, 2012   Comments Off