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One man's good earth

Updated: 2013-12-20 07:39
By Fan Zhen ( China Daily)

One man's good earth

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One man's good earth

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One man's good earth

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He has been plugging the sustainable message for the last 10 years, and his birds and his squashes are famous for their quality. Fan Zhen learns more about one man's vision for a better, safer world of food.

For the last decade or so, Lin Jian has been living a double life.

On weekdays, 9 to 5, he works as a logistics manager in a State-owned shipping company. After work, he delves into a world of agricultural research. And on weekends, he drives across town to a suburb of Beijing where he puts on his farmer's hat.

His motivation is simple: To produce safe, healthy food.

On about 3 hectares of land, Lin has built his dream into Wubo Garden where, with bees humming and butterflies fluttering, his chickens enjoy a whole range of pesticide-free foods. This is what he spent his savings of 200,000 yuan ($33,000) on in 2003 - a 30-year lease on this piece of farmland.

It was anything but idyllic back then. The land was severely compacted as a result of excessive use of pesticides and the soil was hard and dry.

"Building and maintaining healthy and fertile soil is the fundamental basis of ecological farming," Lin says. "We decided not to use any pesticides and try to increase the diversity of the plants."

Lin spent the first three years just cultivating the soil.

"Dig the soil and if you see earthworms, that's the sign of good soil."

Healthy soil is built in ways that develop and protect its structure, fertility and the millions of organisms that make it their home.

However, textbook theories are not enough, and the main problem Lin faced was knowing which animal to raise as the backbone of the eco-cycle, and which supporting crops to grow.

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