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Multiple Functions of Urban Farming

Cities and civilisation began to emerge a few thousand years ago as a result of the development of agriculture which brought surplus production. Even though the urban area and the rural area have the same roots, due to so-called 'progress', they have been perceived as two separate entities over the last century. In cities built of steel and cement and filled with man-made constructions, farming and urban development planning become increasingly incompatible. Farming seems to have nothing to do with the everyday life of urban dwellers! Nevertheless, agriculture is still very much on people's minds. Imagine what would happen to our health if there were no farming, or cities had no green plants. In recent years, urban farming has become a trend in many cities around China. Many people want to have a piece of land to grow their own food. Urban farming has also become a topic for study for many scholars.

This issue of the e-newsletter explores the multiple functions of urban farming which is an important part of a healthy urban life. Our partner, who works on urban farming in Beijing, discusses the invaluable contribution of urban farming to people's physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Through their own experience, urban farmers learn why human beings cannot be separated from the land. Our colleague, who is responsible for PCD’s programme on urban farming, shares how the programme helps participants to search for the common roots of the urban and the rural area through urban farming. Finally, a scholar from Beijjing explores the economic and social functions of urban farming, which includes guaranteeing the supply of food in urban areas, the stabilisation of food prices and poverty alleviation.

  1. Urban Farming: A Healthy Life - You Hong (Director of Activity Department, Little Donkey Farm in Beijing)

  2. Human Beings Cannot Live Without Land - Tian Jing (Member of Liulin Community Farming, Little Donkey Farm in Beijing)

  3. How Wide is the Gap Between Urban and Rural? - Hu Xiaoping (Programme Officer for Sichuan, PCD)

  4. Multiple Functions of Urban Farming - Dr. Du Shanshan, Chen Ge (College of Applied Arts and Science of Beijing Union University; specialists in the study of urban agriculture)
Programme Foci
Learning about Sustainable Living

Awakening to the Crisis of Abundance—A Reflection on Coal Mining in Fuyuan County, Yunnan Province

Fuyuan County is rich in coal and the coal industry has provided inhabitants of the province with abundant energy as well as job opportunities and wealth. However, crisis is emerging amid abundance—coal production is polluting the environment and Fuyuan has suffered a number of climate and geology-related disasters in recent years. The coal reserves will not last. The need for sustainability means we must be alert to dangers in times of peace. PCD has therefore supported a local organisation to study the local use of energy and its impact on the environment in Fuyuan. In the process, inhabitants of Fuyuan are facilitated to reflect on the relationship between energy consumption and climate change, as well as diverse lifestyles that reduce carbon emissions…… [More]
Holistic Health

Real Organic Life Begins in Everyday Life—Guizhou Villagers Learn of the Hazards of Household Chemicals

In the traditional way of life in the countryside, there are many effective ways of keeping oneself and one’s home clean. Perhaps because making and using traditional methods is more complicated and less convenient than using modern chemical products, household chemicals are flooding traditional villages on a massive scale. In Liufang Village at Liping County in Guizhou, villagers accidentally learnt of the hazards of household chemicals when fish fry that they were raising in the paddy fields were inadvertently killed by domestic detergent. Since then, the villagers have renamed household chemicals “home pesticides” to depict their danger!…… [More]
About Our Partners

Tilling the Land and Cultivating the Mind

Roots & Shoots is an environmental educational programme for youths founded by ethologist Dr Jane Goodall. It has local chapters in 132 countries. Since 2010, PCD has been supporting Roots & Shoots programmes in Beijing, such as community organic farming for parents and children and 'Mind Cultivation', a programme on community farming and campus farming. In this article, the programme officer depicts stories of campus farming and looks at how farming helps children to grow and to gain knowledge of sustainable living…… [More]
Resources Sharing New Publications: Revival and Resilience – Community Stories in China
PCD has been partnering with communities at our project sites in China to explore and practice sustainable living. Faced with rapid and unpredictable changes and challenges to their socio-economic environment, these communities are finding future pathways by seeking a balance between being 'traditional' and 'modern'. Many stories emerge during this process, causing reflections on community values: the sense and passion for the community and collective actions, resilience, the interconnectedness between people and nature, and personal growth. Also, the importance of using local and traditional knowledge and innovations from it. The book comprises 12 stories from villages and towns which were written by project management personnel or community members. These stories provide us with a wider perspective to refresh our understanding of the communities with which we have been in partnerships for years.

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

Handsome men and beautiful women of the city, put on simple clothes and join in tilling the land! Love between human beings is incomparable with the love, compassion and generosity of the land or with its tolerance and persistence. Are you looking for true love? Come and feel how broad-minded the land is!

〜 Tian Jing, Member of Liulin Community Farming, Little Donkey Farm in Beijing

Though we are based in different regions and have different work approaches, we are all striving to practise sustainable living, and the ripples we create will definitely benefit other partners. Please share your experience and reflections with us and send your stories to The subject of your stories should be related to your programmes. Please provide your name, project background and photographs. Please do not exceed 2,000 words.
Link to PCD
  Youth Development Programme Officer (stationed in Guangzhou)
  Programme Manager (Sichuan)
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
Guangxi Programme Office
Yunnan Office

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