Call of Na­ture

NewsChina - - CONTENTS -

Es­cap­ing pol­luted air, un­af­ford­able hous­ing and the con­sumerism in­her­ent in ur­ban life, one Chi­nese cou­ple has started a self-suf­fi­cient com­mu­nity in a small county in East­ern China, in a tale rem­i­nis­cent of the great Amer­i­can nat­u­ral­ist and writer Henry David Thoreau.

Tired of ur­ban life, 29-year-old Tang Guan­hua, whose fam­ily runs a de­sign com­pany, and his wife, Xing Zhen, a for­mer se­cu­ri­ties man­ager in her early 30s, re­signed from their well-paid white-col­lar jobs seven years ago, first mov­ing to a vil­lage on Mount Laoshan in the east coast province of Shan­dong.

The cou­ple lived five years in their self-built hut, eat­ing what they were able to grow and raise. They learned a va­ri­ety of skills from master crafts­peo­ple, in­clud­ing brew­ing beer, soy sauce and vine­gar and mak­ing soap and cook­ing uten­sils.

Tang calls the move a “Self Suf­fi­ciency Lab­o­ra­tory.” In 2015, sup­port from a so­cial foun­da­tion en­abled the cou­ple to launch a new ex­per­i­ment – a self-sus­tain­ing com­mu­nity on 33 hectares of land in a vil­lage in East China’s Fu­jian Province.

Tang’s com­mu­nity has at­tracted like-minded peo­ple from home and abroad from dif­fer­ent pro­fes­sions, in­clud­ing young engineers, artists, ar­chi­tects and vol­un­teers. There are eight longterm res­i­dents and more than 200 tem­po­rary guests.

These back-to-na­ture pi­o­neers live a sim­ple, min­i­mal­ist but cre­ative life, eat­ing food they grow, mak­ing their own daily ne­ces­si­ties, and pro­duc­ing art­work and hand­i­crafts for sale to sup­port the com­mu­nity.

“Our ex­per­i­ment is nei­ther a pro­mo­tion of an as­cetic life­style nor a man­i­festo to an­ti­mod­ern­iza­tion. We just hope to ex­plore an al­ter­na­tive way for those who can’t fit into mod­ern ur­ban life,” Tang told Newschina.

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