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UPDATED: April 17, 2014 NO. 16 APRIL 17, 2014
Agriculture Ambles into Urban Life
The capital's agriculture carnival attracts a multitude of city dwellers
By Yu Yan

GREAT VEGETABLE: Two tourists take a tour of a vegetable venue at the Second Beijing Agriculture Carnival on March 24 (JI LINPING)

The ongoing Second Beijing Agriculture Carnival (BJAC), which kicked off in Beijing's suburban Changping District on March 15, has attracted numerous tourists. During the weekend days of March 22-23 alone, the number of visitors hit 120,000.

"The carnival is great! I love the orchid venue best. All kinds of orchids are in full bloom and form a fabulous scene in the spring. We can learn much agricultural knowledge while having fun," said Feng Yan, a mother of a two-year-old daughter.

"My daughter loves it here, too. There are all kinds of vegetables, such as pumpkins, eggplants and loofahs. All of them are displayed in lovely ways. She is very excited to see them," Feng said.

Bearing the slogan of "creative agriculture for a better life," the BJAC will last until May 4.

"The carnival aims to create an opportunity for the capital city's residents to learn about agricultural technology, experience farming culture and take part in the joys of farming activities," said Su Weidong, Changping District deputy chief and organizer of the carnival.

"Agriculture has multiple functions. It not only concerns agricultural production, but can also provide recreation and education, as well as contribute to a healthier ecological environment," said Liu Zhengxiong, manager of the Planning and Construction Department of the carnival.

Last year's carnival attracted more than 1 million visitors and proved a big success. Compared to last year's event, a wider variety of fruits and vegetables will be available to visitors this year, said Liu.

With more than 60 agricultural technologies being demonstrated, about 700 quality farm products on display and more than 70 agricultural experience projects, visitors are provided with a glimpse inside the colorful world of agriculture.

It consists of an agritourism exhibition, an agricultural art experience zone, a strawberry planting experience zone, a farming experience park, a leisure park and a theme park.

Joy of participation

Walking through the various theme venues, visitors can experience being a farmer by joining in various farming activities.

Attired in protective cloaks, Lu Xiao and her 6-year-old daughter, Wei Luxi, closely watched the whole process of bee's pollination. With the help of staff in the bees' venue, the little girl made a bar of honey soap by herself.

"I love the pink color and I love kittens, so I made a pink kitten-shaped soap," the girl said proudly. "Now I know how the bee families live together and do different jobs. It's amazing!"

If the visitors have illnesses such as headache, insomnia, and rheumatism, they can receive bee sting therapy in the venue. In the bees' venue, visitors can have all kinds of bee-related experiences. For instance, they can look for the queen bee in a hive, see if they can tell the difference between honey, propolis and wax, and make their own honey soap in whatever shape or color they desire.

Also, if visitors want to know what being a farmer is like, they can go to the farming experience park. There are 22 greenhouses especially designed to give visitors a taste of the planting experience. Visitors can experience pollinating a strawberry plant and harvest carrots. According to staff, their farming methods are totally green as chemical fertilizers are not used. Rich in sugar, these carrots taste much sweeter. The largest can grow to half a meter long and weigh 8 kilograms.

While experiencing the joys of harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables, the visitors, along with their children, can participate in farming activities.

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