Young people adding vitality as they head back home

Li Xinran
More and more young people these days are returning to the countryside, adding vitality and innovation to rural revitalization. 
Li Xinran

More than 40 years ago, when people mentioned the countryside, they could not get rid of the image of it being broken and poor. However, with the wave of reform, rural areas in Jiading are changing at a speed that is visible.

From the construction of new and beautiful countryside to the strategy of rural revitalization, Jiading dares to try, and travels more and more smoothly on the road of urban-rural integration and overall prosperity. Jiading’s agricultural production, rural appearance and farmers’ lives have undergone tremendous changes.

This profound change in agriculture and rural areas goes back more than 40 years in the district.

In 1978, Jiading took the lead in exploring the household contract responsibility system in 10 suburban counties of the city. Since then, the rural reform in Jiading began and the clarion call of enriching the people and strengthening agriculture was sounded.

Today, the pace of rural reform in Jiading has never stopped. Family contract responsibility system, professional cooperatives, sightseeing agriculture, family farms, new professional farmers…

Over the past 40 years, the per capita income of farmers in Jiading has increased by more than 40 times, and there is already a more than prosperous society. The rural revitalization strategy being implemented will effectively enhance farmers’ sense of happiness, sense of gain and sense of security through beautiful rural construction, rural living environment improvement, and exploration of integrated development of agriculture and tourism.

Young people adding vitality as they head back home
Ti Gong

A farmer is harvesting rice in Jiading.

High quality and good prices at this vegetable base 

This autumn, when you take the Shanghai-Suzhou-Nantong railway through Huiping section of Jiangqiao Town, you can see a yellow and green rice paddy field when you look toward the east.

The field belongs to Shanghai Jiafei vegetable cooperative. The person in charge is Yan Hua, a college graduate in his 30s.

Yan is young and so is his cooperative. But being young is not a problem for him to lead the industry.

Since its establishment in 2013, the cooperative has developed to cover an area of 20 hectares, 225 modern standard greenhouses and the participation of more than 50 local families.

It is a national demonstration cooperative and a vegetable base in Jiading, providing vegetables for kindergartens and colleges.

Yan not only manages vegetable production, but also attaches great importance to sales channels. He has opened four agricultural and sideline products stores in Shanghai.

Young people adding vitality as they head back home
Wang Jiajun / Ti Gong

Yan Hua, a college graduate in his 30s, is passionate about quality vegetables. 

The one on Jinyao Road in Jiangqiao Town opened just last year. Despite a sizeable wholesale vegetable market nearby, it still attracts many loyal customers with its high quality and good prices.

With the support of city, district and town governments, a reconstruction and upgrading project with a total investment of 13 million yuan (US$1.9 million) is about to begin.

After completion, a number of pieces of new equipment will be added, such as multi-span greenhouse, mobile seedbed, water and fertilizer integrated irrigation system, automatic control system, vegetable sorting and packaging line, waste treatment facilities and other support facilities.

“Vegetable quality is more controllable to meet the needs and expectations of more people for food safety,” said Yan.

He has a lot of ideas about the future of cooperatives. “We must open the previously closed door,” he said.

He plans to build the cooperative into a farmhouse entertainment base with leisure areas including picking and fishing and cooperate with schools to build the cooperative into an off-campus practice base to promote popular agricultural production knowledge among students.

Young people adding vitality as they head back home
Ti Gong

The second batch of renovated farmers’ houses in Huating Town’s Lianyi Village is expected to be finished by the end of this year. With better environment, young people are willing to go back to their hometown after graduation.

Countryside changing rapidly for the better

Nowadays, more and more young people are joining in the construction of a new countryside. Their arrival adds vitality and innovation to rural revitalization. With the increasing pressure of urban competition, it is not new for young people to return to the countryside. In the minds of most of them, new rural construction should also keep up with the trend and become “fashion.” Following are the insights that residents in Jiading posted online regarding the construction of a new countryside. 

Improve competitive advantage.

Zhang Huan

When young people return to the countryside, it is not only a choice of employment, but also a journey of spiritual healing.

Taking root in the countryside, young people can also realize themselves and give full play to their talents. The platforms and opportunities given by the rural areas are no less than those of the cities.

Most of the people living in rural areas are the elderly and migrant workers. How to improve the competitive advantage of rural areas and attract more young people to stay and work is one of the problems that should be considered in the process of new rural construction.

In my opinion, the first thing to do is to improve the environment. The self-sufficient and leisurely life — working in the fileds and harvest in four seasons — is the key to attract urban people.

In terms of environmental improvement, we should promote building renovation, garbage sorting, toilet revolution, river cleaning and road planning.

With the help of natural scenery and rural life, we should vigorously develop the functions of leisure and vacations. In addition to a good ecological and living environment, new rural areas should also be equipped with a variety of service facilities to meet the needs of people’s physical exercise, leisure and entertainment, consumer shopping, medical care and elderly care.

I think that when the living and working conditions are improved, more and more young people will be willing to return to the countryside and sweat on this fertile land to realize their ideals and live up to their youth.

Create a new countryside.

Han Han

In my mind, the new rural construction should put rural appearance renewal in the first place, which is also the basis for improving the rural environment and achieving sustainable development.

The overall planning and design should be carried out to let the roads be smooth, the houses be renovated, the agricultural courtyard be vigorous and the appearance of the village be completely new, he added.

The construction of a new countryside should have connotations. For example, increase the investment in public security facilities in rural areas, so that villagers, especially the elderly left behind, can live at ease. Another example is to enrich public services, expand leisure activities, provide charity lunches, create a 15-minute-walk medical circle.

As a result, villagers can live happily. They can fully tap their own characteristics, plan and build cultural, tourism, leisure tourism and other industries to make them richer.

Start a business in the hometown.

Lu Zhongyan

At present, competition in big cities is fierce. Generally speaking, it is very difficult to survive in a big city without professional skills. After all, there are bills every month, all of which require money. Once a family is established, the children’s expenses make things even worse.

Now, working in a big city is not the only life for college students. I see that some college students decide to go back to their hometown after graduation, working hard for their hometown with the knowledge they have learned.

Therefore, in my opinion, starting a business in one’s hometown has many advantages. First, it is close to home to take care of the elderly and children. The second is to revitalize the countryside and contribute to the hometown.

There is a bright future.

Jiang Zongren

There is a teahouse in Maoqiao Village in Huating Town which is owned by a woman in her 30s. Nowadays, more and more young people go to the countryside to show their strength.

It can be seen that the countryside is a vast world where young people have great achievements. The key to the rural revitalization strategy lies on people, especially young people.

I sincerely hope that all areas can put forward good measures and create good conditions to attract young people and retain young people, forming a pattern of a rural labor force combining the three generations of old, middle-aged and young people.

It is believed that with the introduction of new technology, new thinking and new talent, the countryside will become an attractive world, agriculture will become a desirable industry, and farming will become an enviable occupation.

Good time to go home.

Mei Changqing

Now, social and economic development is very fast, and the green industry is also rising slowly. In contrast, rural areas are more suitable for the development of these industries, so it is a good choice to give up the fierce competition in the city and go back to the countryside to start their own business.

Make everything new.

Tan Tongzheng

Today’s new countryside no longer has the appearance of farmers plowing under scorching sun or cold winds. It is an ecological village with creative planning, which integrates recreation, vacation and pension. How can we make the countryside more new?

First, we should create a taste for rural tourism. Second, we should explore the characteristics of intangible cultural heritage. Jiading is rich in intangible cultural heritage, many of which come from the countryside.

Third, it is necessary to implant elderly care planning in new rural areas. If the elderly care plan is added to the new rural construction, it will undoubtedly attract more urban people to take root here and make young people more willing to return to their hometown to work hard.

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