We couldn’t travel through China again without stopping and settling at an attempt to experience more of Chinese life. Our third workaway of the trip is on a farm focusing on aquaponics. And yes, we assumed hydroponics too, but aquaponics combines farming with keeping fish and sea creatures. The plants are grown in water, like hydroponics, and the waste of the fish is used as additional nutrition for the plants.

We arrived very late two nights ago after a wonderful 31 hour train from Jiayuguan to Chengdu, metro to the west end of line 4 and a final 30 minute taxi ride as we’d missed the last bus. Meeting the Chinese staff who come from all over the country and other workawayers from America, Spain and Germany, we spent yesterday morning harvesting pak choi and potting on lettuce in the large greenhouses escaping the torrential rain. Lunch involved eating the pak choi among other delicious foods, and of course plenty of rice from the biggest rice cookers I’ve even seen. We’re in the province of Sichuan, famous around China and the world for having the best food.

In the afternoon we were taken 3km down the road to see the owner Chen’s new project – a sustainable, eco-friendly homestay/hostel complete with it’s own garden and greenhouse to grow food for the onsite restaurant. A beautiful space already with bamboo, a library, ponds to be filled and a giant treehouse. It is here we’ll stay for the next few days and we have been tasked to build a movable compost bin with three sections. Luckily Mischa has constructed one before, lets see how it goes!

Turns out we are only 40 minutes drive west of the sprawling city of Chengdu, home of the pandas, yet the flat farmland surrounding us is where all the rice for the province of Sichuan is grown. And on a clear day, we might be able to see the snow-capped mountains in the distance. We’ve got two weeks to catch a glimpse!

P.S: Yes, we are far behind on the blog, we owe you posts on Xi’an, Xiahe and Jiayuguan 🙂


Photos of the train from Jiayuguan to Chengdu

Leaving the desert, passing through snow and fog around Xining in Qinhai province, then waking up alongside the Jialing river which we followed and criss-crossed the entire day.

7 thoughts on “Amongst the paddy fields

    1. It’s wonderful but definitely the hardest working workaway so far! And pushing our limits – lots of Chinese kids running around on weekends needing entertaining.

      1. It’s a cabbage (according to Google) and pak choi/bok choy is the Cantonese name for it while here the mandarin is xiao bai shu (I think), meaning little white vegetable!

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