ALP – ChangXing Day 1 & 2

31 May

By Kynaston Jamison (Theme 9 – Plant Factory)

Chang Xing is around 1 hour 15 minutes away from Zijingang Hotel. It is a plot of land owned by ZJU. The place we will be residing in is actually a villa-cum-research centre recently built by ZJU. It is nice to have low expectations of the place because after checking in, many things met, while most exceeded my expectations. Honestly, a tiny part of me was a little disappointed at this because that tiny part of me wished that the living conditions were worse. Yes, I’m insane, but I wish I could have really experienced a farmer’s life. However, in an age like this, I doubt it will occur easily.

Anyway, here’s a little snippet of our activities for the next two days in this place isolated from civilization.

Our rooms. Although the bed is smaller, the wifi is faster

Our rooms

Lunch on the first day

Lunch on the first day

Meals served here are always at 8am, 1130am and 5pm. So after checking in, we were immediately told to go for lunch. The texture of the rice here is exceptional since they grow it themselves. So far, our meals generally consist of rice with 2 vegetables, 1 meat and soup. It was not really palatable (maybe only for me) on the first day but they took our feedback seriously. I helped myself to seconds the next day. That speaks for itself.

After lunch, the next timing to meet was 230pm as the culture here is to nap after lunch. 3 professors then took us on a tour around the farm. The sun was hot and we had quite a bit of walking to do.

IMG_0299

Wheat

First up was a wheat plantation. This is purely grown for experimental purposes and not sold for consumption.

Next, we went to visit many other plots and got really excited when we saw plants that were edible. In order not to make this post and longer than it has to be, I will let the photos speak for themselves.

Potatoes dug up from the ground

Potatoes dug up from the ground

Cherry tomatoes. Yep, we ate them fresh off the plant!

Cherry tomatoes. Yep, we ate them fresh off the plant!

Plant factory. (Plants grown in a controlled environment)

Plant factory. (Plants grown in a controlled environment)
Grapes in a vineyard

Grapes in a vineyard

There are still many other cool stuff that we saw but it would flood this post. So anyway after all that walking it was time for dinner and then a considerable amount of work that awaited us. After dinner, our ZJU leader told us that generally after dinner would be a time where we get together and have fun and relax and watch movies etc. However, tonight was an exception. We had to assemble our boxes and put together the electrical components and ensure that it was working. After a little bit of instruction, we were left to our own devices. It was a good thing that we had Jiasheng to tell us what we needed to do and I must say that we worked pretty fast. Some stuff we had to do involved soldering, stripping wires and connecting them. Sounds easy but we had 24 boxes, so it adds up. And because we had to do the same thing many times, we became skilled at it, improving our efficiency. A quote from me,”With skill, anything is possible”. Right Benny?

Boss Lau Jiasheng

Boss Lau Jiasheng

Our messy work table

Our messy work table

Aaron Stark

Aaron Stark

This is how our plant factory boxes look like

This is how our plant factory boxes look like

That’s the end of Day 1. What awaited us the next day was something that I hoped could happen everyday. After breakfast at 8, we went to the farm to try our hand at growing some plants. We were first taught how to transfer shoots into a hydroponic plant factory. When we actually tried it, it was not easy as the roots were utterly fragile and we were not supposed to damage it.  After that, we went out to the fields and literally did what a farmer does everyday. We tilled the soil, sowed the seeds, applied fertilizer to the soil and watered the seeds. How cool is that?

The shoots we had to transfer

The shoots we had to transfer

Benny 'doing work'

Benny ‘doing work’

Getting the styrofoam board into the nutrient filled waters

Getting the styrofoam board into the nutrient filled waters

Farming!

Farming!

At this point, I would like to apologize for the lack of photos of us working the fields. It’s precisely because all of our hands are dirty so none of us could take photos 😉

Anyway, after spending the whole morning out in the fields, we went back for lunch, where many of us wolfed our lunch down, then took a well deserved nap. The afternoon was spent tying up the loose ends of our work last night, which was pretty relaxing. Following that we had dinner, and then a free night. Some of us went to the meeting room to watch a movie, play games, and play cards. The ZJU leaders were there too. I learnt a new card game from them, and one of them was particularly interested in Texas Hold’em Poker. So I had the honor of teaching and playing with them. No, we did not gamble. We used paper money and I got a drink from the person who was the first to lose everything. (I won with pocket aces on the last round haha)

All in all, these two days have been an eye opening experience. I personally learnt alot about agriculture in general. Comfort level is near optimum and the free nights help us to foster bonds with one another. Especially with the ZJU counterparts. More exciting updates to come!

Cheers

One Response to “ALP – ChangXing Day 1 & 2”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. ALP – Happenings in the farm | SUTD Blogs - June 30, 2013

    […] So what has happened since the last time we posted? […]

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