World Heritage Beer Garden Picnic

World Heritage Beer Garden Picnic system map -->

Katalog at Lijiang Studio November 2008. See earlier report and notes about mushrooms, bioremediation and making more sugars from the sun.

Five sites were chosen to install baskets innoculated with mycelia.


This is a very local factory where they make booze from corn. People come with their own containers to get hooch straight from the distillery. It smells delicious.

Just up from the Baijiu factory is a tractor repair shop, and when it rains, oil and waste chemicals run down the driveway into the factory yard, and a small dirt area, where we put the mushroom baskets.

Mr. Zheng, the factory manager, and his assistant, at left, will maintain the baskets and will build a new garden around them. At right you can see the pigs they keep next door to eat the nutritious corn left over from the process.


The Green Youth school is a developing site for environmental education on Lashihai.

Mr. Chen Youngsong has started a teaching garden and raises pigs, apples, and chickens. The school is a resource for learning about incorporating biogas digesters into the small farm and maintains a library of information about appropriate alternatives to fossil fuels.

We brought two myceliated baskets to install at the school, where they can be included in the teaching, and gave a presentation to local farmers and business people.


Waste water from the kitchen and the bathroom/shower complex at Lijiang studio runs through a pipe out into the yard where it filters, slowly, back into the water table and the ditches intersecting the farmland. We placed myceliated baskets at each location, and also started a mushroom garden in two locations.


Here is where people get their water in this village- it comes out of the ground under pressure.
People also wash everything here and the water runs off down the roadside ditch and goes into other fields down the line.

We put a basket into the ditch where the dirty water flows out, where it might filter the water a bit, and will definitely start a new crop of oyster mushrooms along the road.


Here there seemed to be a kind of borderzone between a healthy young pine forest filled with wild mushrooms, and an area that had been heavily overgrazed, and where there was new construction, perhaps abandoned. All the soil cover had been removed, and the site we chose showed deep runnels from water erosion. We put baskets into all the places that were deeply furrowed with erosion. Spreading the corn stalks and mycelia out on the ground here would work really well too.

To commemorate the event, at last there was a picnic! Our fabulous menu included Naxi ham, grilled mushrooms, and 2 cakes baked in the solar oven.

Ladies cooking and inaguration of "bing bao" western style beer.

The picnic for the future? In a year or so, the baskets will have made it through the rainy season, and the mycelia will hopefully have grown into and throughout the substrate, and possibly into the ground under the baskets, where they will help new plants get started.

A few reflections on coming to the end of the summer:
Some of the most recent developments in Chinese law concern the forests and land-ownership. The latter is particularly important in how it will impact people's lives. In March of last year, the National People's Congress passed a law allowing people to sell and transfer land in the city, while leaving rural land under the control of what still existed of the collective structures developed during Mao's era.

This formuation of the law exacerbated the economic divisions between urban and rural populations and particularly left farmers vulnerable to situations where they effectively lost land to economic demands sanctioned by the county or state, and yet lacked the legal status to ensure they were adequately and honestly compensated.
Now farmers can also sell their land on the market. Perhaps there will be some restrictions, as one official informed us, on keeping agricultural land for agricultural uses.

There are some people who believe this will reduce or eliminate the kind of corruption that has been rife the past years. Others feel that, on the other hand, the farmers might end up losing the security their land, and their ability to grow their own food has brought them. What is to prevent the kind of extortive speculation that occured in other rural places in the post-communist period in eastern Europe. Our visit in Lashihai thus ends on a bittersweet note.

Katalog Study Group at Lijiang Studio.
download our project booklets (English/Chinese)

  • Small is Beautiful
  • Young China and Green China by Pan Yue

    Enormous thanks to Lijiang Studio and especially Jay Brown without whose perserverance and patience and all around "game" attitude, nothing would have been possible. Thanks also to Lisa Li for reality checks, Hu Jiamin for senstive translation, and the generosity of the He Family, especially Xuemai, for bringing our experience of culinary imagination and skill to new heights.

    Photocredits: Jay Brown, Hu Jiamin, Lisa Li, Sarah Lewison