Rice offers food for thought in rural revitalization

Hu Min
Dongzhuang Village is attracting young people in pursuit of pastoral life and capitalizing on its natural assets
Hu Min
Rice offers food for thought in rural revitalization

The paddy field in Liantang Town

The Dongzhuang Village in Liantang Town looks nothing special from other villages in Qingpu, or even elsewhere.

Here, you can find crisscross rivers and beautiful rural scenery, which can be seen at other villages as well.

But it is this village that has made remarkable progress in rural revitalization.

The soil of Liantang area is one of the best in Shanghai for rice growing. Its land is fertile and its water quality is supreme. The rice seed is good as well.

Now, the Wadao Rice, which literally means frogs and paddies rice in Chinese, is famous and popular, setting a good example on the upgrade of traditional agriculture.

In Liantang, the traditional two-season reap in Jiangnan region (areas in the south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River) is replaced by one-season harvest to ensure the quality of rice and its sweet and soft flavor.

No chemical is used during the rice growth.

Farmers of generations in the village tried to make frogs eat insects, but all experiments failed.

The use of pesticide for years killed local frogs, and they were not good at killing insects as well.

To change the situation, tiger frogs from Hainan Province, known as the "champion of insect eating," were introduced.

A wetland environment was created for nearby paddies, and the water quality was improved and purified for irrigation to protect ecological environment and lift farmers' income after the rice gained popularity.

Rice offers food for thought in rural revitalization

Picturesque Dongzhuang Village

The Dongzhuang Village nestles along water and is surrounded by water, presenting a unique landscape.

The beautiful environment has attracted young people to start up their own businesses here.

J Coffee, the first cafe in the village, is hidden amid a labyrinth of wetlands, paddy plantations, fungus fields and rows of well-shaded farmers' houses.

It is now a popular destination at the village. Local cuisines are also served here, a flavor of rural cooking.

The cafe is available for rent for family gatherings.

On weekends, it is packed with young people from downtown in pursuit of an idyllic pastoral life, hearing tianshange (folk songs sung in the field by farmers), picking jiaobai (wild rice shoots) and weaving jiaobai leaves.

The arrival of young people also injects vitality into the village, which is the result of joining hands with Shanghai Hengshan Group to create Shanghai's first minsu (Chinese version of B&B) project with state-owned assets.

The village also boasts Shanghai's first fungus industry forest economic belt and the city's first rural e-commerce platform "Chujian" established by young people who returned to their hometown.

These emerging industries are leading Dongzhuang villagers on a road to prosperity.

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