Investing in Chinese Infrastructure, Water Resources, and Agriculture Considered |

Many people that study the growth of civilizations believe that China got ahead of itself, then it expanded too rapidly, putting in too many factories, and the business sector grew too fast. Many of the cities also grew too fast, had overtaxed the water infrastructure, and it also created massive traffic jams. Indeed, we also know that this rapid growth in GDP and economic might added dire consequences for the environment.The Chinese with their central government are exceptional civilization builders. They are not afraid of building giant infrastructure projects and they never have been; the Great Wall of China for instance, and the more recent Three Gorges Dam. If you look at Beijing Airport, or the downtown areas of Shanghai or Beijing, or all the factories in the Guangdong Province all you see is huge infrastructure projects everywhere.If you are considering doing a little international investing it makes sense that you would want to invest in Chinese Infrastructure, water resources, or even Agriculture. Remember as more and more Chinese enter the middle class, and there is believed to be 470 million Chinese in the middle class now (earning $1200 per year annually) they can now afford to eat more than just fish and rice, and they are buying wine, and all sorts of food, and that food has to be grown.It therefore, makes sense to invest in Chinese companies that build tractors, do construction, or are involved in agriculture. These are some of the top performers on the Shanghai Index. And their growth is all but guaranteed. I hope you will please consider all this.

Agriculture – From Yearly Dawn, Till Nowadays |

Thousands of years ago, humans relied on hunting, fishing, and gathering to provide food for their families. They looked to find edible plants for food. Soon people realized they could grow these plants. They also found they could make clothing out of plant fibers, or threads. People used cotton and flax to make clothing. This was the very beginning of farming. People had to learn how to prepare, or cultivate the soil for planting crops. They learned how to breed, or grow plants. They learned how to process, or change plants to grow what they wanted. Agriculture is an approach of growing crops – later on it matured into a science. Agriculture has used advancements in technology to improve the methods for growing and harvesting crops.Farm EquipmentA farmer plants crops in shallow trenches. Sowing the seeds is another way to describe the process of planting. Furrows are shallow trenches that look like narrow grooves in the ground. The farmer turns over the dirt to mix nutrients into the soil. Plants need various types of nutrients to stay healthy. Farmers also turn the ground in order to loosen the soil and give seeds room to grow.One invention designed to break up soil is the plow. A plow is a piece of metal shaped liked a V in the front. It digs furrows when dragged along the ground. A farmer pushes the plow from behind or pulls it from the front. He may also use an animal like a horse or an ox to push or pull the plow. A tractor is used to pull many farming machines. Tractors are a type of vehicle which has large wheels to keep it from sinking in mud.Commonly Cultivated PlantsSickles and ReapersFarmers need to harvest the crops, or cut them down and gather the usable portions after they have grown to full size. People can cut crops by hand. One invention they can use to make the job easier is a sickle. A sickle is a tool with a sharp curved blade. Harvesting with a sickle is hard work and takes a long time. The reaper is another invention. This is a machine that cuts wheat and other grains using many blades. It works much faster than a sickle.Cotton GinFollowing the harvest, there is sometimes more work to do. Farmers must process some crops before they are used. For example, cotton grows in balls with many small seeds. The cotton fibers must be unwound and someone must remove all the seeds. People then make thread from the cotton. A worker will weave the thread into fabric for clothes.ChemicalsFertilizersFertilizers are substances that add nutrients to the soil to help plants grow. Natural fertilizers have been used for centuries. They include manure, or the excrement of animals. They also include guano, which is made of bird and bat droppings.Compost is a mixture of decaying plant material, and people use it as a fertilizer. Some farmers use chemical fertilizers to help their crops grow. Chemicals are things which may be found in nature or created in a laboratory.Protecting PlantsSome farmers use poisons to protect their crops from weeds and insects. Herbicides are chemicals that destroy unwanted plants. Many people spray herbicides to kill weeds. Pesticides are small chemical compound that kill insects. An aphid is a type of insect that will eat the leaves of a farmer’s crops. Other types of insects that can destroy plants are locusts and weevils. Farmers will spray pesticides to prevent these insects from destroying their crops.Organic FarmingOrganic farming is a natural way of farming. It is the practice of raising plants, especially fruits and vegetables, without the use of synthetic pesticides. Many people believe using harsh chemicals on plants or produce can be harmful to the health of the humans who regularly use the foods which have been exposed to chemicals. Organic farmers use only things naturally occurring in nature, such as manure to help plants grow. Organic farming does not use chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides.

Community Supported Agriculture – Membership is Sweet |

CSA is a unique model of local agriculture whose roots reach back 30 years to Japan where a group of women concerned about the increase in food imports and the corresponding decrease in the farming population initiated a direct purchasing relationship between their group and local farms. This arrangement, called “teikei” in Japanese, translates to “putting the farmers’ face on food.”A Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program is a type of cooperative. Most CSA farmers prefer that members pay for the season up-front, but some farmers will accept weekly or monthly payments. The growing season typically runs from late spring through early fall.In March, my husband and I joined Honey Brook Organic Farm, one of the oldest operating organic farms in New Jersey. Each member is assigned a pick-up day to ensure that there is steady, manageable traffic flow in and out of the farm and it also helps the farm maintain a balanced harvest schedule.At this CSA, some of the things are harvested daily by the farm staff and are waiting for you when you arrive. I was amazed at how robust the harvest calendar was, including lettuce, collards, kale, and summer squash in June, basil, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes in July and cilantro, eggplant and watermelon in August. We needed to pick part of our bounty ourselves. Crops available at this farm on a pick your own basis include: strawberries, raspberries, snap peas, cherry tomatoes, flowers, snap beans, edamane soybeans and herbs.On our first scheduled pick up day, I left my office to meet my husband at the farm. There is no better way to spend a beautiful summer afternoon then picking fresh strawberries. Each with a quart sized basket, my husband and I set to work picking the biggest, ripest berries we could find. Chandler strawberry plants are very popular with growers because of their high yield, brilliant fruit color, and excellent flavor. These were no exception! Unable to resist a taste, I popped a juicy berry in my mouth. Warm from the sun, it was unbelievably sweet.Since the nutritional value of produce declines while on supermarket shelves, enjoying the freshest produce available during the summer months is more than just a delicious treat. Children are able to meet the farmers who grow their food and have the valuable experience of picking it themselves.Another benefit is being challenged to use your weekly share of things that you may not traditionally pick up at the grocery store. For us, that included dandelion, garlic scapes and mizuna (a popular Japanese leafy vegetable).Why are CSA’s Important?They keep food dollars in the local communityThey create a sense of social responsibility and stewardship of local landThey put “the farmers face on food” and increases understanding of how, where, and by whom our food is grown.