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  • A Taiwanese-American and her farm in Mainland China: “Agriculture is my attitude towards life”

    Post by : amylovebiofarm

Chuansha New Town is located in east Pudong New District, Shanghai. As China’s first Disneyland is anticipated to open in this new district in mid-June, Chuansha New Town draws more and more attention from the public. Agriculture makes up about one-third of Chuansha New Town’s 96.7 km2 total area.

BIOFarm (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. is one of the best representations of local, ecological agriculture and is one of the earliest organic farms in Shanghai. It is located only 15 minutes from Disneyland’s new park. BIOFarm was founded in 2004 by Sherrie Tien, a Taiwanese-American. Sherrie Tien has been engaged in organic farming for many years and has treated it as a way of life. Chuansha has become a paradise where she can carry out her lifestyle.

[Sherrie Tien]
This is a wonderful way of living and the “Chuansha” way of living is formed naturally. For instance, the center of town, the entertaining part in Chuansha, is definitely Disneyland, while the surrounding villages are focused on agricultural production. Having two main focuses, Chuansha has become a town of farm fields.

According to Sherrie Tien, she chose Chuansha to start her organic farm because the local government assigned Chuansha mainly for agricultural purposes.

[Sherrie Tien]
In fact, we surveyed many different areas, and we were worried about the nearby airport and other possible pollution. But, this town has been changed and given an agricultural purpose by the local government. By coming here, we can enjoy a more ecological and its associated facilities. Besides, we have quality assured water, soil and air.

Sherrie Tien believes there are four principles for growing organic vegetables: be fair, be caring, be healthy and be environmentally friendly. These principles are also applicable to our lives. Sherrie’s attitudes towards life are shown everywhere in BIOFarm: reused windows and recyclable wood boards are used all around BIOFarm. According to Sherrie, our staff are willing to apply their innovative and creative ideas to utilize these abandoned materials. The most important thing is that they all value our land with the same attitude.

[Sherrie Tien]
There is a consensus among people at BIOFarm that we can’t cultivate agriculture without this land. As we dedicate more to this land, we are receiving more positive results from the land. Dalah-folk are like a big family that is working and living in an organic way; connected by this land, with a shared belief.

As the cities and towns in China are developing, more and more workers are turning to the industries of manufacturing and services instead of working in the fields. This phenomenon is also taking place in Chuansha.

[Sherrie Tien]
Although BIOFarm is located in Chuansha, we didn’t have anyone who was born and raised in Chuansha in the beginning. As Chuansha is developing, more and more local people are turning to the industry of manufacturing and service. Working in the fields and getting their hands dirty was not the most ideal line of work compared to some of the other jobs in the area.  [Narrator] As BIOFarm is drawing more and more popularity and attention because of its organic farming and sustainability, more and more young people are coming to and growing with BIOFarm. In turn BIOFarm is getting more involved with local customs: any time there is a local wedding around the farm, BIOFarm joins them.

[Sherrie Tien]
I will also invite them to join our activities. It’s quite interesting to see the way the local people prepare for weddings, like the custom of a dowry. When you come to an unfamiliar place, it will have its own culture and customs. I think this is what makes people homesick.

BIOFarm is one of the earliest CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farms in China. BIOFarm has followed the CSA mode of operation since it was established. Our members will prepay a certain amount of money to reserve the fruits and veggies for the upcoming season. BIOFarm will deliver to the community every week based on the amount and category produced. CSA not only works as a business model but also helps to strengthen the connection between city and countryside. We experienced a hard time in the first few years for insisting on this model of operation: the locals did not recognize CSA. In the first few years, only about 20-30% of our members were from Mainland China while a majority of our members were from Hong Kong, Taiwan or foreign countries.

As of now, we are offering more activities to educate the general public and we are advocating more about the benefits of organic life and a healthier lifestyle. BIOFarm receives growing trust from our customer groups and great reviews on the products supplied to five-star hotels. More importantly, the percentage of local customers has risen to about 60%.
Tag : BIOFarm
Date:2016-03-18 10:17:20
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