"I hope I can keep growing organic vegetables for another ten years"
Zhang Chaolin is a 57-year-old farmer in Liuminying Village, Daxing District, Beijing. Outgoing and outspoken, he loves sharing his experience in growing organic vegetables. In the 1990s, he was a mine-owner and was quite a somebody in his village. Only when debt caught up with him did he shut down his business and return to his village to resume farming.
Ten years ago, he started to grow organic vegetables on the eco farm in Liuminying village. 'In the beginning, I just wanted to make money, but later on I became more and more interested in farming itself'. However, the beginning wasn't smooth. He couldn't use chemical fertilizers or get rid of pests on the vegetables by using pesticides like before. As a result, yield decreased, a fact Zhang Chaolin found hard to accept. 'From the third year on, however, the soil became more and more fertile and I had mastered the use of some organic fertilizers. Yield has noticeably improved a lot. It's even higher than when we used chemical fertilizers.' His family income has enjoyed steady growth. At the same time, Zhang and his family have enjoyed perfect health, which is the biggest gain in Zhang's opinion. 'During the day I work hard in the vegetable garden and in the evening I listen to the sound of frogs. It puts me in a great mood and my health is much better than before. No more high blood pressure! My family also seldom fall ill because they can eat the vegetables I grow, which are savoury and safe.
When it comes to his future plans, Zhang Chaolin is very optimistic. 'I hope I can keep growing organic vegetables until I am 65. I also hope that I can work with other villagers to promote our experiences in growing organic vegetables in Liuminying Village to other places.
All his neighbours say that Zhang Chaolin is very passionate about his vegetable garden. Singing while farming, he is indeed a happy farmer.