Studying the ecological agriculture sector in China

ducks in peddy field in Nanning

Welcome to our website about ecological agriculture and alternative food networks in China. We are a research team from the Department of Geography and Environmental Management at the University of Waterloo in Canada. People who are working or have worked in this team include the team leader Dr. Steffanie Scott, Dr. Zhenzhong Si, Dr. Theresa Schumilas, Dr. Aijuan Chen, PhD candidate Danshu Qi, Ning Dai and Jodi Koberinski. We also collaborate with researchers from multiple Chinese universities. Here you can find the most recent updates about the greening of China's food system including the development of ecological farms, the emergence of ecological farmers' markets, community supported agriculture (CSA) farms and buying clubs and many other initiatives addressing the growing food security and food safety concerns of Chinese citizens. Please watch our Youtube video here for an overview of China's changing food system, and visit our research website to see our research broadly focused on China's Changing Food System.

How Agroecology in China Can Contribute to SDGs

Check out our information toolkits on How Agroecology in China Can Contribute to SDGs! These toolkits offer an introduction to SDGs and the concept of agroecology and provide insights, through case studies in China, on how agroecology can promote the global efforts in achieving SDGs. More specifically, the two toolkits are intended to inform researchers and policy makers. The toolkit for researchers (PDF) highlights the knowledge gaps, known challenges, and future research needs in the scholarly discussions about agroecology and SDGs. The toolkit for policy makers (PDF) recommends policies that can strengthen the agroecology practices in China and their contribution to SDGs. The policy recommendations focus on agricultural production, market connection, and consumer education.

Our book

Organic Food and Farming in China: Top-down and Bottom-up Ecological Initiatives

Our book "Organic Food and Farming in China: Top-down and Bottom-up Ecological Initiatives" is published! (20% Discount Available - enter the code FLR40 at checkout).

This book shows how a set of social, economic, cultural, and environmental conditions have converged to shape the development of a "formal" organic sector, created by "top-down" state-developed standards and regulations, and an "informal" organic sector, created by ‘bottom-up’ grassroots struggles for safe, healthy, and sustainable food. This is generating a new civil movement focused on ecological agriculture and quality food.

The authors contrast organic movements and markets in industrialized countries with the Chinese context, with its unique version of "capitalism with social characteristics," collective farmland ownership, and predominance of smallholder agriculture and emerging diverse marketing channels. China’s experience also reflects a commitment to domestic food security, evolving food safety legislation, and a civil society with limited autonomy from a semi-authoritarian state that keeps shifting the terrain of what is permitted. The book will be of great interest to advanced students and researchers of agricultural and food systems and policy, as well as rural sociology and Chinese studies.

LinkedIn group discussion

logo of China's Changing Food System discussion group

We are currently facilitating a LinkedIn Group called China’s Changing Food System. This group aims to open a space for people interested in social, economic, political, and ecological dimensions of transformations in China’s food system. It is a space for learning, exchange, debate, and networking. We welcome people with diverse backgrounds to participate in the discussion.

We welcome your feedback. If you have questions or comments, please contact us at