As city living becomes increasingly hectic, a growing number of people are looking to the countryside for solace. In Shanghai, a bustling metropolis known for its modern architecture and urbanization, this desire for a simpler life has led to the emergence of a new trend: shared vegetable plots.
In suburban districts such as Minhang, Baoshan, and Qingpu, white-collar workers are trading in their suits for overalls and picking up hoes and shovels to grow their own produce. Yang Rui is one such individual who, along with his family, has rented a 20-square-meter plot at the All-Happy City, a shared ecological farm in Minhang.
For 1,600 yuan ($233.6) per year, Yang Rui and his family can escape the pressures of city life and tend to their radish, lettuce, and other vegetables. During the week, professionals take over and perform whatever chores are necessary to keep the farm running smoothly.
All-Happy City has about 200 members, some of whom even rear chickens and ducks that roam in the fields. The farm provides a sense of community and belonging for those seeking a break from the isolation of city living.
Beyond the benefits of fresh produce and a sense of community, shared vegetable plots offer a way to connect with nature and escape the confines of urban life. For many, the simple act of digging in the dirt and watching plants grow is a source of joy and relaxation.
This movement is not limited to Shanghai, as shared vegetable plots are popping up in cities around the world. In the UK, for example, the government has launched a scheme to transform unused plots of land into community gardens. These initiatives aim to promote sustainability and provide a space for people to connect with nature.
As the trend towards shared vegetable plots continues to grow, it is clear that people are seeking a more sustainable and fulfilling way of life. By connecting with the land and each other, these farms offer a glimpse of a simpler, more satisfying existence outside of the concrete jungle.
In a world where technology and urbanization dominate, shared vegetable plots offer a return to basics. They provide an opportunity to slow down, unplug, and reconnect with the natural world. For those seeking an escape from the rat race, there’s no better way to unwind than by digging in the dirt and watching something beautiful grow.
In October, Chen Yougui founded a shared farm that spans about 13.33 hectares and offers shared vegetable plots, barbecue pits, and leisure areas. Rental fees for farming plots can range from 199 yuan for a 5-square-meter plot for six months to over 10,000 yuan, depending on the size and services provided. The farm utilizes a monitoring system that covers the entire farmland, allowing members to view their vegetables and fields remotely via their phones. The system also enables members to arrange for the farm manager to send ripe fruit and vegetables to their homes. Currently, more than 50 types of vegetables and fruits are planted at the farm.
The farm incorporates technology to ensure that the chickens and ducks reared by customers do not go missing or end up in someone else’s plot. Each animal is tagged with a QR code. Customers who want to be fully involved in the growing of their crops can choose the self-planting package, while young customers usually opt for the package that comes with additional services by the farm’s 14 workers. The watering of plants and professional farming guidance is provided for both options.
According to Chen, many of his customers are parents who rent plots primarily to teach their children about science, nature, and how farming works. Currently, 30 to 40 percent of Chen’s farm area is used as a shared vegetable garden, about 40 percent is a public area for picking fruit and vegetables, and the remainder is used to host leisure activities.
Chen’s farm is a response to a growing trend in China, where more people are turning to farming as a way to escape the pressures of city life. The shared farm concept has been gaining popularity in recent years, with more people renting plots of land to grow their vegetables. The shared farm concept not only provides a way for city-dwellers to escape the hustle and bustle of city life but also offers an opportunity for people to reconnect with nature and learn about farming.
With the rapid development of technology in China, shared farms like Chen’s are likely to become more popular. The use of monitoring systems and QR codes provides a way for customers to keep track of their vegetables and animals remotely, making it easier for them to manage their plots of land. The popularity of shared farms like Chen’s is also likely to lead to the development of more leisure and entertainment activities that cater to customers who want to experience rural life.
shared farms like Chen’s provide an innovative solution for people who want to escape the city and reconnect with nature. By offering a range of services, from self-planting to professional farming guidance, shared farms are helping to bridge the gap between city life and rural life. As more people embrace the shared farm concept, it is likely that we will see more innovative approaches to farming and more opportunities for people to reconnect with nature.
More people are turning to farming as a means of escaping the hustle and bustle of city life. In Shanghai, the shared farming trend has been gaining popularity, with several suburban districts witnessing a surge in communal vegetable plots. The All-Happy City, a shared ecological farm in Minhang, has about 200 members, including Yang Rui, who rents a 20-square-meter vegetable plot for 1,600 yuan ($233.6) per year. He and his family grow radish, lettuce, and other vegetables on the plot.
Another shared farm in Minhang is run by Chen Yougui, who established it in October. Covering about 13.33 hectares, the farm offers shared vegetable plots, barbecue pits, and leisure areas. The rental fees for farming plots range from 199 yuan for a 5-square-meter plot for six months to more than 10,000 yuan, depending on the size and services provided. Chen has made sure that the farming plots are located near one another to encourage interactions between customers.
According to Chen, the monitoring system covering the entire farmland enables members to view their vegetables and fields remotely through their phones. The farm also leverages technology to ensure that customers’ chickens and ducks don’t go missing or end up in someone else’s plot; each animal comes with its own QR code. The farm manager can send the ripe fruit and vegetables to members’ homes, and more than 50 types of vegetables and fruits are planted at the farm.
Customers who prefer a more hands-on approach to farming can choose the self-planting package, while those who want additional services usually opt for the package that comes with professional farming guidance and watering of plants. Chen notes that many of his customers are parents who rent plots primarily to teach their kids about science and nature and how farming works.
Another shared farm in Xujing village, also in Minhang, was set up by Li Xiaoqing in August. The farm spans about 6.9 hectares, with 3.33 hectares of farmland reserved for shared vegetable plots, and the rest made up of a picking garden for strawberries and seasonal vegetables. Members work on the sowing, fertilizing, and harvesting themselves, but Li provides shovels, water, and irrigation equipment. Rental rates range from 1,500 to 5,000 yuan per year, and the farm currently has more than 100 members.
Chen is confident that the shared farming trend will only pick up, and he plans to open four more farms in Shanghai this year. He believes that the COVID-19 pandemic has made more people pay attention to their health and food quality, driving the popularity of farming. “This has in part made farming popular because people can see for themselves where their vegetables come from and be assured of the quality,” he says.