Understanding anew the value of an everyday life with its roots in nong

Document Type

Book chapter

Source Publication

Touching the heart, taking root : CSA in Hong Kong, Taiwan & Mainland China

Publication Date


First Page


Last Page



Partnerships for Community Development


“Every person is a farmer,” said Mr Zhou Yuanbin from the Waldorf School in Chengdu when describing the Waldorf educational philosophy at the Taking Root: Vitalising CSA seminar. His words clicked in my mind as though something had become clear to me. My idea about rebuilding the relationship between the community and nong seemed to be on the same wavelength. I would try to interpret Mr Zhou’s words, summarised as ‘the nong complex’, from two perspectives. Firstly, farmers and soil, representing the whole of nature, are intimately connected. Every person is closely connected with the soil. On the one hand, we could not live without the food that grows from it; our physical bodies are the incarnation of the food we eat and ultimately the soil from which it springs. On the other hand, when we die our bodies return to the soil and nourish new life. However, modern urban dwellers have become too distant from nong and soil. We have forgotten our original identity as farmers and cannot grasp the idea or the wisdom of shen tu bu er, the non-duality of body and earth. If we could identify spiritually with the idea that every person is a farmer, urban dwellers would relate with, admire and be grateful to farmers who toil throughout the year working the land to grow the crops that feed us all. We might even be willing to go back to the land and try to unearth our lost instinct for farming or learn about how it is done. In this way, we may reveal the hidden face of nong in human beings.

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2015 Partnerships for Community Development

Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Additional Information

Translated version of 陈顺馨 (2014)。再认识以农为本生活的价值。輯於陈惠芳、周玉珠 (執行编辑),《落地生根 : 社区支持农业之甦动》(頁25-35)。香港 : 社区伙伴。

ISBN of the source publication: 9789889994358

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version



Recommended Citation

Chan, S.-h. (2015). Understanding anew the value of an everyday life with its roots in nong. In M. Tam (Executive Ed.) & C.-w. Cheung (Translator), Touching the heart, taking root: CSA in Hong Kong, Taiwan & Mainland China (pp. 8-19). Hong Kong: Partnerships for Community Development.