Thirty-three-year-old Yan is a trailblazer in Chinese agriculture. As a young student at Beijing's Renmin University, she was concerned about the widespread environmental damage, such as soil erosion, being caused by chemical-reliant farming practices. 

In 2008, she travelled to the US as an intern at Minnesota's ecological Earthrise Farm and to see Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in action.

Being community-focused, CSA farms are run under organic or biodynamic principles. A key element of CSA is its shared risk, membership-marketing structure, which helps to financially protect farmers while linking them directly to consumers.

"I was searching for a real-world solution to this problem," says Yan. "But it changed my life. It wasn't only a workable business model, it's a lifestyle." 

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