I liked his thoughtfulness about his experience.
All these years, I had viewed the microscopic farming plots as a barrier to the modernization of China’s agriculture. But after a few hours with my Chinese friends, I was beginning to see things differently. Where would all these seasonal foods come from if there were fewer farmers? Would there still be regional differences? If China follows the developmental path of the West, the number of farmers will shrink while operations increase in size. Farms will focus on scale and productivity, specializing in fewer crops, breeding the most productive ones and neglecting some that have a higher nutritional content but lower returns per acre. Is that really what Chinese consumers want? …family farmers weren’t necessarily just an obstacle on China’s path toward modernization; they might actually be its cultural gatekeepers, protecting the local food industry and underpinning a renaissance of Chinese beliefs that will be key to the health of both the Chinese people and the safety of the foods they cherish. (p. 246)
Quirky? Definitely for a business book, but in a good way. I enjoyed reading it.