From 30 April 30 to 3 May, DCZ experts Eva Sternfeld and Michaela Boehme visited two allotment garden projects in Shanghai and participated in the launch of the “Global Field” (Weltacker) Shanghai.
Located in Fengxian county in Shangha, both projects were founded by PAN Tao, a professional environmental planner with a degree from Cottbus University. The first project, Ecoland Club Farm (ECF) 乐田农场, is a Chinese style allotment garden colony founded in 2010. Over the years, ECF has grown to more than 200 members, who rent small plots for gardening and recreation for a yearly fee of about 4,000 RMB. Like in a German Schrebergarten colony, the members have built small summer houses and cottages on their contracted land parcels. But adopting the Schrebergarten modell to local conditions has also brought important changes. In contrast to a German garden colony, ECF is a serviced Schrebergarten, employing 13 workers and a farm manager, who, during the week, take care of the private plots and common areas according to the principles of organic farming.
Pan Tao’s latest project is the Ecoland Soho Village. Here, Ecoland contracted 180 mu of agricultural land and about 20 abandoned farm houses. Ecoland has now refurbished and modernized the old houses and rents them out Ecoland Club members. Pan Tao’s vision is that people not only spend the weekend in the countryside but that some urbanites permanently settle in the country and work remotely from their country houses.
ECF also organizes a nature school program and participates in the Global Field 2000m2 movement – an educational project that focuses on land use and food security. In 2020, DCZ commissioned Pan Tao and Benny Haerlin, the initiator of “Weltacker” Berlin, to develop an instruction manual for implementing a Global Field project in Shanghai. During their visit to ECF, DCZ experts Michaela Boehme and Eva Sternfeld participated in a one-day workshop to introduce the global fields concept to a group of young volunteers. In the coming seven months, the volunteers will work under guidance of the ECF farm manager and learn how to grow a variety of grains and vegetables to contribute to sustainable food production and nutrition.