Friday, November 5, 2010

Bottom-up Organic farming in Wash Post

A November 1 Washington Post article describes young professionals in Shanghai who are trying to become organic farmers. Interesting piece with nice photos.

The Washington Post article describes "bottom-up" organic farmers in the western mold of educated people who want to get back to the land. The organic "movement" in China is mostly a quite different "top-down" mode--government agencies and companies see a market and a way to improve food safety and then rent land from farmers or organize a bunch of farmers into a "production base" to grow organic food. In the industrialized "top-down" approach used in China the farmers have little concept of what organic agriculture really is.

Chongming Island, where the farmers are operating their farms, is an interesting place. It used to be carved up into state-owned farms and a lot of Shanghai residents were "sent down" there during the cultural revolution. Now it has become a big eco-showcase for Shanghai, complete with lighted map and comprehensive plan.

No comments: