National Geographic : 2018 Feb
Feeding china 103 of windows overlooking the grounds, about a dozen of us seated at a heavy wooden table with a rotating center. I was given the seat of honor, at Wang’s right, and we grazed on the 27 dishes arrayed on the lazy Susan, including grapes and dragon fruit from the park’s greenhouses. Wang offered me red wine and, in keeping with Chinese custom, praised me warmly. It was the most lav- ish meal I ate in China. eVen as china striVes to scale up its agricul- ture, many affluent urbanites have leapfrogged ahead to a distrust of industrial farming. A compelling example of this can be found north of Beijing, where Jiang Zhengchao, the son of Jiang and Ping, is helping build the latest ad- dition to China’s agricultural future. Behind two squat concrete buildings next to a roaring freeway, he tends five acres that make up his patch of China’s agricultural quilt. Jiang grows nearly a hundred crops—water- melon, eggplant, taro, and sweet corn among them. He takes some to wholesale markets, but his primary business is persuading middle-class Beijingers to pay him in six-month installments for weekly delivery of safe, farm-fresh food to their door. He also rents plots to people who want to grow food, and for an extra fee, he will tend Noodles dry at a factory owned by COFCO, a state-owned enterprise, in Zhengzhou, in east-central China. Chinese consumers now eat some 90 million tons of processed food a year, increasingly preferring its convenience.