Call of Nature
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.
Tang Guanhua and his wife Xing Zhen live in a hut they built, Mount Laoshan, Shandong Province