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June 19, 2009

A Summer in Rural China

Caroline Merrifield is blogging from China about her experiences working on a traditional farm in rural China.

My name is Caroline Merrifield. I'm a rising senior at Harvard concentrating in Social Studies. I'm writing from a small organic CSA on the outskirts of Beijing called "Little Donkey Farm." It was set up on experimental land owned by Renmin University in Beijing. I've spent the past couple of days weeding cabbage and staking cucumbers, preparing, eating, and cleaning up after meals with all the farm interns and managers, and trying de-jet-lag my Chinese vocabulary.

I'm here as part of an exchange of sorts. Last summer, the graduate student who is overseeing Little Donkey Farm, a woman named Shi Yan, came to Minnesota under the auspices of IATP to work on Earthrise Farm, a small organic CSA. I was an IATP intern at the time, and I helped to translate some of her blog entries for the IATP Web site. Now it's my turn to learn about Chinese sustainable and traditional agriculture by working and living on Chinese farms. 

I'll be spending a week here at Little Donkey and then I'm off to Hebei Province. I'll be staying with a traditional farm family in a village where students from Renmin University have started an experimental organic farm. I'll add pictures when the internet here is a bit faster. So far, life at Little Donkey has been incredibly interesting - but as it's my turn to clean up, I should sign off for now.

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