"On my farm, people and the earth live in peace with each other" -- An Jinlei, an organic farmer
An Jinlei is a farmer in Zaoqiang County of Hebei province. He didn't become a farmer until halfway through his life. Both of his parents are small business owners. He had never done any farm work before he graduated from China Agricultural School in 1993 when he first started to farm. After a year of farming, however, he started to question what he was doing. He realised that he was literally poisoning mother earth by spraying harmful substances such as synthetic pesticides on his own farm.
He began to ask experts for help in 1995 and experimented with organic farming. More than a decade has passed by and his dedication and hard work have been rewarded. 40 mu (1 mu=1/15 hectare) of farmland, free of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, has come alive with crops such as cotton, dark beans and wheat. Moreover, all kinds of birds including swallows, sparrows and magpies have taken to catching prey and drinking water on his farmland. 'swallows won't drink water contaminated with pesticides. They will fly to my farm to drink instead. There was once a spectacular scene of more than 2,000 swallows flocking to my farm.'
Nowadays, An Jinlei's produce is snapped up by his friends in the city. Both parties have tasted the benefits of this type of urban-rural co-operation. He provides his urban friends with access to safe and savoury food. For An Jinlei, the biggest reward is to see the land brimming with life. He is often heard saying ' on my farm, people and the earth live in peace with each other'