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July 15, 2017

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Enjoy a Happy Farm-er’s life experience

EMBEDDED in a tranquil and scenic garden in Hezhong Village, Happy Farm gives a twist to the traditional nongjiale (happy farmer’s life) on Chongming Island. Covering an area of more than 133,333 square meters, this farm-style guesthouse, in Miaozhen Town, Xiangduo attracts local, domestic and international visitors.

“Nowadays, people enjoy the farmer’s life by experiencing it, rather than just having a local meal or strolling on the path,” says Lai Yuejun, owner of the farm. “What the farm-style guesthouse has, is more than a B&B and nongjiale. We deliver local culture, the experiences of a farmer’s life and provide an awareness of the need to protect nature.”

There are multi-functional agricultural areas like a fruit and vegetable picking place, a birds feeding zone and farm experiencing region. The owner inserts a romantic and modern style into the old and traditional local Chongming spare houses. The moon bay, ginkgo bridge, maple leaf island and rice field are all connected by a wood and flower path. In the evening, the starry sky, village music festival and bonfire party will never bore you.

Kids and parents will get the chance to play with little goats on the side hill. There are more than 40 of them. In the morning, you can lead them out of the sheepfold, run with them and feed them grass. You can also have a go at rice farming, catching crabs and mud fish.

You can also find many collections of Chongming Island’s unique furniture and some of life’s local necessities, like a bamboo basket, painted ovens and hand weaving rugs. An outdoor swimming pool, two or three lounge chairs, a herb garden and some home-made drinks make a lazy afternoon in the countryside. The restaurant offers local cuisines and realizes the concept of “farm to table.” The detritus is recycled to the plants and farms.

The development of the farm-style house also helps offer more than 60 jobs for unemployed farmers on the island and renovate 12 spare buildings. Having the largest saffron crocus field in China, Miaozhen is branding its local delicacies to the world.

Ecology and traveling

At the beginning of the year, Shanghai announced its “Chongming World-Class Eco-Island Development 13th Five-year Plan (2016-2020).”

According to Chongming District deputy director, Wang Jing, the plan is a path to form the framework of a modernized ecological island by 2020. By 2040, Wang says, Chongming will be “characterized by green development, culture, wisdom and sustainability.”

The “ecological lanes” of Chongming Island are ready to offer nice views and a peaceful environment for jogging and cycling. The 220km tour of the island cycling track and 42km marathon track, based around the river bank, will all finished by the end of 2018. Besides, the style of these lanes change as they pass through different areas of the island.

Xincun Village is the cradle of sweet scented osmanthus, while Miaozhen features trident maple trees that change color with the season. When the spring comes, you can also see cherry blossoms in Zhongxing Town. In Luhua Town, cyclists can ride past a scenic lake and quench their thirst with the local tangerines. Changxing features a four-seasons scenic area complete with four cycling rental stations and service centers.

Chongming Island is not only for cycling, but also for running, football and other outdoor sports. Since 2014, marathons and other foot races have been held on the island which have attracted scores of professional and amateur runners from all over the world. Luckily, the 42km ecological lane at Sanxing Town is very suitable for joggers, thanks to its forest and open field views.


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