Our Programme Foci

Ecological Agriculture

Foster community understanding and practices of ecological agriculture

Agriculture is more than the source of people’s food; it acts as a bio-cultural connection between people and nature. It also embodies the key ecological and social problems of our age. To establish a resilient community that is sustainable, one of the major tasks is to practice ecological agriculture and hence create a food system that is orientated to local production and local consumption.

Under the mode of industrial agriculture, food is not necessarily produced to meet the demand of local residents. Thus, nature and the community are disconnected, and that in turn dismantles local food networks and infrastructure. This undermines the sustainability and resilience of both the nature and community regarding their capacity of responding to future pressure. Hence, one of our major strategic approaches is to regenerate agro-ecological and community relations. We also focus on ways to re-orient agricultural innovations based on traditional wisdom.

The galloping pace and massive scale of urbanisation in China over the last two decades has resulted in a problem of food supply. Urban sprawl results in the continuous encroachment of arable land. Cities strain resources by relying heavily on fossil fuels for the production, transportation and storage of food to feed the soaring urban population. People in cities have little control over the food they eat. Urban communities are particularly vulnerable to external shock with such an unsustainable food system. Therefore our work will be further broadened from agriculture to a local food system that emphasises rural-urban support.

In the past, we have promoted ecological agriculture which is free from chemical fertilisers and pesticides and is eco-friendly. We have encouraged the revival of traditional agricultural wisdom and supported the conservation of traditional crop varieties. We have provided training to farmers, developed learning courses and appropriate technology. We have supported young rural returnees to practice ecological agriculture in their home villages, and we have also promoted and supported community supported agriculture (CSA).

In the coming five years (2015-2020), we will continue to foster the practice of ecological agriculture and enrich community understanding about agro-ecology and its cultural functions. We will also promote local production and local consumption, establishing a food system that can build a resilient community. We will explore how traditional farming wisdom facilitates agricultural innovation, foster rural-urban support and affective linkage; and help the formation of networks among groups and individuals that practice ecological agriculture.