Peri-urban agriculture: a tourist business in China

Hi Farmers. We continue through China trying to find Urban Agriculture and Peri-urban Agriculture in this great country. This time we visited an agricultural and livestock farm in Taian. What is developed in this place is rather peri-urban agriculture, since it is not in the middle of the city but rather on the outskirts. Even so, it is within its radius of influence, so most of the people who visit it live in the city.

Tianze Farm (Taian, China)

At the moment we have been in two tourist farms of this type here in China: Qixin Ecological Garden, in Tianjin (which I already wrote a post about a few weeks ago), and Tianze Farm.

Today I will talk about the second. Tianze Farm is an ecological tourist farm located on the outskirts of Taian, in Shandong province. Taian is a city in eastern China where more than 5.5 million inhabitants live and which, by the way, is home to one of the most important Agricultural Engineering universities in the country: the Shandong Agricultural University.

Peri-urban agriculture: a double business in China

To put you in a situation, just one fact: in China, farms and farms close to cities had more than 1.2 billion visitors in 2014 and generated revenues of more than 6 billion dollars (according to China Tourism Association).

This means two things: Chinese urbanites are becoming more interested in agriculture and healthy eating (which is a good thing because China’s urban nature, Peri-Urban Agriculture and organic food could be further developed if people are interested in it), and also that farmers can find in this tourist aspect of their farms a source of extra income, which will help their economy a lot.

I leave you this link of the Mashable Asia website that has a lot of photos of this type of places in China where peri-urban agriculture and an important tourist activity with programmed visits, school excursions, weddings, photographic reports, are developed at the same time. etc.

How it is and how it works Tiance Farm, in Taian

This farm has almost 70 hectares and 6 to 12 people work there (depending on the time of year and the tasks).

As you can see in the photos, it is immense and has both greenhouse and open-air crops (this is only a small part, you will be able to see more in the next post and in the video that we will post shortly on our YouTube channel Agrohuerto TV).

Observing crops and trellising method at Tianzefarm

Everything is grown following organic guidelines and methods (like the ones we saw in the Organic Farming post, without insecticides or artificial chemical fertilizers). In any case, we have not yet found out what the requirements are for organic farms here in China, and it is possible that the regulations are not as demanding as in Europe.

One of the star products on this peri-urban farm is strawberries. There are several greenhouses with strawberries even in this cool weather we are in (there are four seasons here and autumn is already well advanced). He left you a picture of one of them:

They also grow other vegetables and organic vegetables, even… there are animals! But we will tell you about that in the next post.

The operation of this ecological farm is as follows: whoever wants to have fresh organic products knowing where they come from can enter Tiance Farm and harvest with their own hands what they want to take with them. You have to pay a ticket to see the farm and be able to take food, but the price is very low: about 20 yuan per person (approximately 3 euros). Then, before leaving, the farm employees will weigh what each person is carrying and charge them based on what and how much they have taken. You can also just drop in to see the facilities and learn a bit more about the eco-friendly methods they use.

Tiance Farm also caters for home delivery and serves several organic restaurants in the area. These types of restaurants are becoming quite fashionable in China, and they are usually supplied with food that comes from organic farms and farms like this one. We were in one of them, which was an old greenhouse converted into a restaurant, and… who knows! We still ate what we had been seeing at the Tiance Farm that morning…

Ecological restaurant in Taian (China)

Our visit to the Tiance Farm peri-urban farming operation

If you want to know more about what this place is like, you just have to wait a few days. As I told you before Álvaro is preparing a very interesting video about our visit in which you can see everything!

Also in the next post we will tell you in more detail what is grown, what are some of the methods used and what were our impressions on this farm on the outskirts of Taian.

I hope you are enjoying our experiences in oriental lands! And remember that you have more posts about urban gardens and urban nature in China in the category «Orchards around the world». Cheers!

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