Going green the hard way

Updated: 2011-05-02 07:09

By Xu Junqian (China Daily)

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 Going green the hard way

You are what you eat: Former-executive-turned-organic-farmer Shen Huiqiang proudly shows his naturally-grown corn from his own field. Photos Provided to China Daily


Farming is not just for peasants. It's become a trend even among those with cushier backgrounds, as Xu Junqian reports from Shanghai

To say that Shen Huiqiang, a former real estate executive, is passionate about organic farming would be a gross understatement. Three years ago, the 32-year-old Zhejiang native quit a 200,000- yuan-a-year job in Beijing to return to his hometown, where he put his entire 400,000-yuan-in-savings into a new home for him and his wife and parents ? and a 40,000-square-meter farm he leased from local farmers. Shen had decided to live off the land.

When a son was born last year, Shen and his wife decided that they would give the child nothing but a natural diet. Everything the child ate would come from their own field or from some other trustworthy source that, as far as they knew, was entirely free from chemicals, additives or "unnatural ingredients".

At the same time, Shen's wife was thinking about finding a "naturally-raised" girl as a future wife for the 20-month-old boy, to "preserve the fine lines" of their family.

 Going green the hard way

Ding Lei, founder and CEO of NetEase, has plans for a modern pig farm back in his hometown in Zhejiang province. CFP /for Zhejiang Weekly

That marriage obsession with a child that young might sound a bit far-fetched, but their concerns about food safety were anything but strange or new.

In fact, there has been no shortage of people - from the famous to the ordinary - thinking about establishing farms and eateries that grow or provide safe, organic food, especially in light of the spate of food scandals, like the poison pork in Henan province or the steamed buns in Shanghai.

One prominent example is Ding Lei, founder and CEO of NetEase, one of China's four biggest Internet portals, who is building a modern pig farm in his hometown in Zhejiang province.

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