The MidWay Project is delighted to share our experience of hosting our first successful China workshop on “Urban food, sufficiency, and sustainable agriculture in China” on August 26, 2023. The workshop was organized by Marius Korsnes(马力)(PI), Dongming Xu, Wang Yu, Shuhua Chen, Wenjia Zhou, and Tarjei Brekke and Yu Cheng from NTNU in partnership with Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU), the Sino-German Agricultural Center (DCZ), and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS).

The workshop aimed to connect with relevant stakeholders in China and discuss urban food and sustainable agriculture to provide input to MidWay’s research design. The workshop had 25 participants, including MidWay’s scientific advisory committee, invited speakers, researchers, practitioners, and industry representatives from relevant fields, who gave presentations and discussed the topics.

The workshop was divided into three parts. The first part focused on Culture, takeaway foods, and dairy. The second part delved into Wet markets and animal agriculture. In the third and final part, participants engaged in a group discussion to discuss more in-depth different barriers and opportunities for making China’s agro-food system more sustainable, providing crucial input for the MidWay-project.

Overall, the workshop was a great success, and the MidWay Project is excited about the connections made in China and the opportunity to discuss such important topics. In the following blog series we will provide summaries from the three different parts of the workshop, so stay tuned!

Programme detailed:

  First half: Presentations and inspiration 09:00-12:30  
09.00-09.20OPENING REMARKS Moderator: Dr. Wang Yu, Senior Researcher, Head of Research, Department of Architecture and Planning, NTNU.
 Ms. Hege Araldsen, Consul General of Norwegian Consulate General in Guangzhou (confirmed).
Representative of Sino-German Agricultural Center (DCZ), by Dr. Eva Sternfeld.
Representative of China Regional Coordinated Development and Rural Construction Institute, School of Geography and Planning, SYSU, by Associate Professor Chen Tingting.
09.20-11.35PRESENTATIONS Moderator:  Associate Prof. Marius Korsnes, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture, NTNU.
09.20-09.35Introduction to the MidWay project by Marius Korsnes, NTNU Presentation of the MidWay project team
09.35-10.20Presentations from the MidWay Scientific Advisory Board: Prof. Thomas DuBois, Beijing Normal University: “Approaches to meat in China: Commodity and cuisine”, 20 minutesAssoc. Prof. Chen Liu, SYSU: “The digitalisation of eating practices and its social and environmental consequences”, 20 minutesQuestions and comments. 5 minutes
10:30-11.35Presentations from invited speakers: Moderator: Dr. Michaela Böhme, Sino-German Agricultural Center Prof. Bu Dengpan, Institute of Animal Science, CAAS: “Future of Dairy Farming in China”. 15 minutesAssoc. Prof. Sau-Wa Mak, Hong Kong Shue Yan University: “From medicine to a staple food – How Science and Tradition are shaping the milk production and consumption in Modern China”, 15 minutesDr. Chenjia Xu, Institute for Science, Technology and Society, South China Normal University: “Drink More Milk!”: a sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK) perspective on China’s Dietary Guidelines (1989-2022) 15 minutesQuestions and comments. 20 minutes
11.45-12.30ROUND TABLE PANEL DISCUSSION & INSPIRATION Moderator: Dr. Wang Yu, Senior Researcher, Head of Research, Department of Architecture and Planning, NTNU.
 Based on the presentations and the stakeholders’ point of view, including questions from the audience. Some questions to guide the discussion: What is the role of meat and milk production and consumption in Chinese food and agriculture?How can we understand sustainable agriculture in China?How do changes in urban fabric impact consumption of animal-based foods, e.g., takeaway foods?What challenges and opportunities exist with industrialisation of agriculture in China?Supermarkets vs. wet marketsRural-urban divide  
  Second half: Practicalities, results, and group work 13:30-17:00  
Moderator: Liu Chen, Associate Professor, School of Geography and Planning, SYSU
13.30-14.25Dr. Ai Lin, Director of International Cooperation Department, China Animal Agriculture Association: “Status and Trends of Animal Agriculture in China”, 15 minutes   Dr. Shuru Zhong, Associate Professor, School of Tourism Management, SYSU: “The Key Role of Wet Markets in China’s Sustainable Food System” 15 minutes   Dr. Dongming Xu, NTNU: “The first preliminary findings of the MidWay project: a historical review on pig farming and pork in China” 15 minutes   Q&A 10 minutes
14.35-15.15Prof. Cai Gengyuan, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou Pig Farming Association: “Introduction to the Pig Industry in Guangdong Province” 15 minutes   Ms. Yang Xingfeng, Springfield Eco-Agriculture Corporation, Gengxin Community Service Centre, Yulong Naxi Autonomous County, Yunnan Province: “Changes in animal husbandry in the livelihood of Naxi villages in Yunnan, China” 15 minutes   Q&A 10 minutes
15.30–17.00GROUP DISCUSSIONS & INSPIRATIONS Moderator: Marius Korsnes, Midway Project coordinator and Associate Professor, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture, NTNU.
15.30–16.30Setting the scene for the discussions using the world café method:   Group work discussing concrete questions. Some examples: What are the prospects for changing (reducing, substituting or adjusting) existing meat and milk-related habits in China?What will be the main barriers / opportunities for making the agro-food system more sustainable?Seen from a Chinese perspective: what is the ideal level of meat and milk consumption?  
16.30-16.50Summary in plenum
16.50-17.00Closing and farewell

Funded by the European Union (ERC, MidWay, project 101041995). Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Council Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.