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Rooted in sustainability

Updated: 2024-05-18 10:20 ( China Daily )
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Food entrepreneur Liu Jianxia holds a tray of oven-roasted chestnuts at her shop in Chengde, Hebei, on March 27.[Photo provided by Wang Haoran/China Daily]

"Behind this harmonious symbiosis between chestnut cultivation and the natural environment is a flexible smallholder farming and cooperatives network that constitutes a stable and highly adaptable social and economic operation mode," says Shang, who was closely involved in the county's application for inclusion on the UN heritage list.

Kuancheng's ecological view of respecting nature and the social organization that supports agricultural production in turn reflects its rich cultural connotations, according to the UN.

"A code of conduct for protecting the natural environment and promoting the harmonious coexistence between humans and nature has been gradually established by the local community, with aspects such as clothing, dwellings, festivals and ceremonies showing people's respect for and adaptation to their physical environment," it said.

A "cultural symbol value" of chestnuts has also been gradually formed in the area, as shown in the food culture of the chestnut.

The crop "can be regarded not only as a staple food but also a fruit and a medicine. The chestnut is seen locally as the spiritual symbol of auspiciousness, and the determination and chestnut-related legends, stories and literary works, as well as ancient chestnut trees, serve as historical and cultural symbols", according to the UN heritage listing.

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