Seminar on CSA Experience: Practitioners from Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan Assemble to Share Experience and Knowledge

Over the past decade, economic bubbles around the globe have burst, one after another. The negative impact has been felt in every corner of the world. Under consumerism, the economy has been led along a path of unrestrained development which has come to be the core value of our mainstream societies. This path has now come under strong criticism. Protest actions such as "Occupy Wall Street, say no to capitalism" and actions against globalisation and urbanisation have swept the world. The idea of developing local economies for sustainable living was previously upheld by only a few idealists. Now it has gradually become seen as a means for communities, and even governments, to improve the welfare of their people. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), the key factor of which is a dynamic local economy, emerged as early as the 1950s and 60s. It has been practised in communities in the West and in Japan for a few decades, and with its multiple values and functions, it has proved to be a viable route towards sustainable development. Even though the economic paths that Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan have taken in the last three decades are different, we are faced with common ongoing social problems created by mainstream development ideologies, and such problems cannot be completely eliminated. In the past decade, PCD has been using CSA as a platform to encourage young people in China to reflect on their values and on the direction of the development of our societies. In this process we have found that CSA has an indispensable role to play in agriculture, urban-rural interaction, food safety, protection of natural ecology, traditional culture… and even the harmony and happiness of human beings in their everyday lives.

In the middle of last October, Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden and PCD jointly organised "Touching the Ground, Taking Root—A Seminar on CSA Experience". Over 120 leading CSA practitioners from Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan gathered in Hong Kong. For five days and nights they engaged in lively exchange which filled the participants with ideas, knowledge, skills and experience. They were also rewarded with the friendship of like-minded practitioners. We are glad we were able to provide this platform, and the opportunity for exchange between those who seek happiness for humans on the basis of a sustainable development. We will discover the ripple effects of the seminar from future feedback and sharing of participants. For now, the e-newsletter has invited some participants to share their thoughts on the three themes of the seminar—community; farmers and urban-rural interaction; and going local. We hope these articles will bring insights to other CSA practitioners who could not participate in the seminar.

  1. Memories of the Body, Culture of Everyday Life
    - Fongie (Facilitator, Taiwan-Hong Kong-Mainland China Seminar on CSA Experience)

  2. Cross-Sectoral Participation, Youth Solidarity: Practice and Reflection of the Taiwan Rural Front
    - Chen Ying-en, Vickie (Member of the Taiwan Rural Front)

  3. The Crux of Urban-Rural Interaction: "Transmit Information, Resolve to Cultivate Humanity"
    - Li Zhao (Programme Manager, Liang Shuming Rural Recontruction Centre)

  4. "Going Local" Campaign Led to a Revolution to Preserve Farmland
    - the Experience of the "Pak Heung People Eat Pak Heung Vegetables" Project

  5. A Wonderful Journey of Green Karma in Hong Kong
    ─ Lai Qingsong (Founder, Ko-Tong Rice Club, Taiwan)

  6. CSA: Emerging Citizen Actions in Response to Mainstream Development
    ─ Fongie (Facilitator, Taiwan-Hong Kong-Mainland China Seminar on CSA Experience)

  7. Touching the Ground, Taking Root
    - Seminar on CSA Experience Programme

Programme Foci
Sustainable Living

Hacking Our Way Through Brambles on the Road Back Home—A CSA Intern Goes Home to Do Farming

As farming is being devalued, grown ups are sending their children to the cities. However the happy memories their children have of life in rural areas cannot be wiped out. CSA intern Yao Huifeng decided to go home to build a new life and to fight for the future of his home village. After farming for more than a year, he has found that the road he has taken is filled with brambles. Nevertheless there is joy in his heart…… [More]

Returning to a Simple Life on the Fertile Land beneath Song Mountain, Farming and Studying beside River Ying

Wang Ning, who had had great ambitions for his life, grasped the true meaning of life after he recovered from an illness. He realised that food had to do not only with health. Through food production he could make a more solid contribution to society and his country. During his visit to Hong Kong in 2009, he realised there were many like-minded practitioners. Consequently he felt he had found the path of life. He decided to go home to do farming and to set up the Farmer Scholar Library…… [More]
Cultural Reflection

Let’s "Dapinhuo" -– Solving Problems Together through an Eating Spree. Reflection on the Use of a Traditional Platform for Intervention

Dapinhuo is very popular in rural villages in Yunnan. Villagers often get together for a big meal in the course of which they will share and discuss, in a lively and merry atmosphere, matters that concerned them. PCD colleagues have tried to make use of this platform to discuss with villagers ecological problems that emerge in their everyday life. In this process, they reflected that…… [More]
Ecological Agriculture

Trendy Guys Raise Ducks

Liufang is a village in Liping County, Guizhou Province. Two straightforward and honest young men went home to Liufang for the Chinese New Year Festival. Boldly they told their parents that they wanted to stay home to rear ducks, and tried to win their support. After some setbacks they set up the Trendy Guys Duck Rearing Team, with four members, and started to sell organic ducks. The spirit of going home to start a venture spread rapidly in the village. The village had been in an awkward state, as only the “386199 brigade” (non-earners) remained. Now the situation has changed…… [More]
Holistic Health

Ecological Health Depicted in Paint and Lines, Traditional Wisdom Portrayed in Yunnan People’s Painting

Last October, Kunming Institute of Botany of the Chinese Academy of Sciences collaborated with PCD in an effort to support 12 ethnic groups in Yunnan to make use of paintings to express their understanding of ecological health. The paintings showed that all ethnic groups have a tradition to protect the natural environment as a means to sustain a harmonious life. These traditions are part and parcel of holistic health…… [More]
Voice From Community Facilitator

The Same Village, A Different Home – Young Miao People Rediscover "The Birds"

Queniao Village in Guizhou is the native home of Yang Shengwen. As Miao youths, Yang and his good friends felt a deep regret when they were unable to comfort their older relatives because they did not understand their wine songs, which were filled with sadness. They joined the Guizhou Society of Rural Culture and followed the migration route of their ancestors, as a way to learn about the village in which they grew up. It was a journey of spiritual homecoming…… [More]

Practising What We Advocate

Having Fun with Chicks, Making Friends with Fruit and Vegetables

Hu Xiaoping is a PCD staff member in the Sichuan office. He is responsible for a project on an "ecological pigsty". With happy childhood memories of raising chickens, he boldly built an ecological chicken pen on the balcony of his flat and started to keep chickens. When he has time, he takes his chickens for a walk. Later he joined the balcony farming in the office. Not only do these activities add food to the dining table of PCD staff in the Sichuan office, they have also become closer as a result…… [More]
Resource Sharing
Good Book for All: An Alternative Choice for Cuba's Agriculture
This is a report on the agricultural development and ecological agriculture movement in Cuba. The report stems from the immense interest in knowing about the Cuba's agriculture among the growing number of Chinese people who are learning and practising ecological agriculture. The report elaborates on the economic conditions and food crisis in Cuba, which made the success of Cuba's ecological agriculture a unique experience. The two authors of the report are academics from the Agricultural University of Havana in Cuba. [Click here to download the Report]
Good Book for All: The Secrets of Spring
Chinese toads [laihama in Putonghua] are an animal not really welcomed by most of the people. Yet, those who have seen and played with them may have found that they are not as terrible as they imagined. There are many things in nature we do not know or misunderstand. PCD partnered with Chengdu Urban Rivers Association to publish this children's picture book in a bid to enable readers to have a different understanding of toads. In the story, the little toad leads two boys to play around in the forest, discovering the secrets of spring. [Click here to download the Book]
The first fair for organic produce in Kunming, Yunnan
A fair known as Caiyun Farmers' Fair was held in the city of Kunming in Yunnan Province on 3 November last year. This was the city's first fair targeting the sale of organic produce and was supported by 13 organisations from Mainland China and Hong Kong, including PCD. Participants of the fair could enjoy not only buying organic agricultural produce, but also hand-making foods, lipstick, soap and pottery. A China website, "The 6-dimension Environment and Health Web" reported on the fair. Click here to enter the website.
The South South Forum
The South South Forum, an international organisation networking with countries of the Global South to explore global development issues, held its second annual seminar in last December at the Southwest University in Chongqing, China. The seminar, on the theme, "Sustainable Practices and the Development of Rural Areas", explored the issues of food security and food sovereignty in the context of the current financial crisis, energy crisis as well as ecological crisis, and hence moved on to discuss on the rural economy and the development of community. Speeches will be uploaded onto the website of the South South Forum.
A Sketch on the Community Art in Sichuan
"Community art", which can play a part in community development, has the creative power to promote respect for the community and enable community members to voice their feelings. It strengthens social cohesion in the community, enables individual and community development and enhances awareness of change through actions. PCD's Sichuan Programme Office has been supporting community art in the province. Through community art, we seek to achieve our programme aims such as the boosting of community relations, promotion of traditional culture and sustainable living. To know more about the community art activities we support, click here to enter the website.
Magazine for Sharing: Fragrant Soil
A growing number of young people in the cities of Mainland China are returning to their rural homes to lead a farming life, in pursuit of alternative values. The newly-released Issue No. 5 of Fragrant Soil, a magazine published by PCD, features these "Young Rural Returnees". Through case studies, we can hear the inner voices of these young people who went back to their own community to "search for their roots" and restore the links between themselves, the community and the land. Their stories also enable us to witness various possibilities for life and freedom of humankind amidst the prevailing tide of urbanisation. Click here to download the Magazine.

You may be interested in the following information:

Our Vision and Mission / History of PCD / Our Publications / Primary Approaches – Training of Facilitators / Where We Work
Winter's Best Quote

Farmers do not depend on money for their subsistence. Their outlook on life is simple. They are humble, self-restrained and responsible. In the face of the exhaustion of natural resources, they provide another way out for human civilisation.

~ Chang Cheng-Yang, Director of Chi Mei Community College in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan

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About Us
Established in Hong Kong in May 2001, Partnerships for Community Development (PCD) is a community development NGO set up and funded by the Kadoorie Foundation (via a stream of funds allocated by the Hon. Mrs McAulay). The Foundation is a Hong Kong-based trust founded in 1970 by the late Sir Horace Kadoorie, who believed in the principle,"Help people to help themselves".

PCD believes that everyone, however deprived in material terms, has the right and the ability to lead a dignified and sustainable life in harmony with others, with nature, and with the world at large. Individual well-being is crucial in maintaining a harmonious and sustainable community. PCD believes that the community has to work together to reflect on its relationship with nature and on its cultural traditions.

Contact Us
Hong Kong Head Office:
13/F Chi Wo Commercial Building,
20 Saigon Street, Jordan,
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2458-0011
Fax: (852) 2430-7099

Programme Offices:
Sichuan Programme Office
Guizhou Programme Office

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