National Geographic : 2018 Feb
106 national geographic • February 2018 fanxiang qingnian—young people returning to the countryside. They now have an organization dedicated to supporting their interests, Wotu Sus- tainable Agriculture Development Center, and a magazine catering to them called Sustainable Farming. China’s organic sector has boomed, with sales growing as much as 30-fold since 2006, according to a recent industry analysis. Research- ers say that at least 122 community-supported agriculture (CSA) projects, with farmers following the same model as Jiang, have sprung up, but the movement claims there are hundreds. Nation- wide a few Western-style farmers markets are operating, all in large cities. them. After beginning his business without pesti- cides and fertilizers, he now uses them sparingly; customers balked at pitted vegetables and un- dersized fruit. “I have this emotional bond” with farming, says Jiang, who has a degree in social work. He worked three years in an office, which he hated. Eventually he returned to farming— much to the dismay of his parents, who equate the fields with drudgery. “I cannot afford a luxury life,” he says, and he’s OK with that. Jiang is part of a phenomenon of rural-born, college-educated Chinese going back to the fields. Though small in scale, it is still common enough that there’s a phrase for its participants, In Qujie, in southern Guangdong Province, children eat a hearty breakfast of noodles, eggs, and meat outside their school. Many families now have two working parents, leaving less time to make meals at home the traditional way.