All photos: Yiran Wang

Last week I went back home to Beijing to visit my parents. To my surprise, I came home to discover they’ve become obsessed with a new hobby: urban agriculture. Yes, they’re farming, renting a piece of farm land with a couple of friends. Together, they’ve laid out vegetable plots to tend. They’re already on their second round of harvesting!

“Escape the cities, harvest the days,” said my father.

They’ve come to enjoy the labor, tying up luffa stems and watering their pepper plants, even though they need to drive almost an hour every other day to get out of the huge city.


“It is a trend! You know our friend…she and her family spent millions and bought a big house on the perimeter of the city so that they could farm their own land!” explained my mom, trying to convince me they were not alone in this unexpected urge to grow things.

A day's harvest from my parents' garden.

A day’s harvest from my parents’ garden.

To show them my support I told my parents that landscape architects are vocal proponents of community gardens, edible gardens, and other outdoor spaces set aside to allow plants to grow.

our-tomatoes unknown-melon-in-my-garden

“Those ‘modernized’ Americans like artisan farming?!” exclaimed my dad, doubtful about the idea of affluent and modern Americans returning to the land.

But whatever thoughts he had about this idea of rural pursuits was soon eclipsed by his desire to disappear back into the “jungle” of their garden. Soon, I could only hear his voice from somewhere behind a curtain of cucumbers plants.

“This cures the ‘urban disease’!”


One Comment

Post a comment
  1. November 17, 2016

    It’s somewhat ironic it was the prevalence of patio gardens in Taipei that convinced me that I can remain in the city center and still garden.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS