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Green Hero in China - Interview with Dr. Josef Margraf (LIFE Voices No. 1)

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♫ Music by Parichayaka Hammerl ♫ Photos by Kedar Misani Chinese video footage courtesy of ZDF TV from a series on China LIFE Voices is published on the 13th of each month on, dotSUB and other video hosting sites. YOU ARE WELCOME TO ADD TRANSLATIONS IN YOUR LANGUAGE The concept that we are persuing all started one day with one plant that we found in a Buddhist monastery near the Burmese border. The plant actually is just starting to blossom over there in our garden It was a small Golden Lotus looking banana species and I had never seen this species before and as I am a biologist, I was quite intrigued about it, and it was so beautiful that we thought, maybe, there are many more, thousands of people thousands of people who would find this very beautiful as well, why do we not start a concept in which we can protect the species we can grow the species, we can propagate the species and maybe we can even market it worldwide and as a matter of fact we succeded, we sold many of those plants that have been grown by our farmers out especially to America and to Europe, and we have definitely saved the species. So with this initial success we thought, may be we can enlarge the idea. We can include more and more plants and today we are working with more than 100 species. For those we design land use systems that we no longer call farming systems, there are land use systems that resemple the original rain forest of the area where we live and our goal is to reverse the trend of distraction and eventually design systems that look exactly like the old rain forest that has been cut down by logging companies, that has been replaced by rubber plantations, by sugar cane plantations, and we wish to reverse this trend, to come back to a rain forest that is actually useful. We gave our company the name "Tian Zi" which is Chinese and means in translation "Seeds of Heaven", seed as the symbol of initial growth. But for our business model we needed a new concept because we were so isolated in those Southern Chinese mountains that we were quite sure that there would be no customers walking in our door and buy our products but then through growing our business susteinably and slowly we soon realized that we need more outlets, so we opened this teahouse and restaurant here in Chiang Mai in Thailand. As a bilogical scientist I was always interested in biodiversity. So, the more you go into remote places, rain forests, rivers, oceans, of course chances are that you once in a while discover new species, so I discovered new fish species in Philipine rivers, I discoverd new Ginger species in mountains in China. On a more private note I would say the biggest discovery was about myself because after half a century of living I found my wife in China and I discovered that my love to our children is the strongest force I have experienced in my life. One of the special eco systems we are working with are the tea forests in the mountains of Southern Yunnan. This is how tea was produced thousands and thousands of years ago. It was pressed into those cake like structures with a very clearly defined weight and as such they have been sent to the Emperor to Beijing as a token from the people from the Southern part of Yunnan. This is the way that those people found out, tea can be transported over very long distances, and what is even better, I guess I had to experience what most people experienced before they changed their diet, this is, you have to get sick first and sickness happened to me about five years ago when I got a serious heart problem. After that I still didn't know what I had to change but it was clear I had to change something. For example we all now nowadays we should never eat refined sugar come in the vitamins, the fresh vegetables, come in nowaydays what we call Vitamin F, which are the unsaturated fatty acids, the Omega acids. With this knowledge, you would already single out specific food that is reach in those and these are for example nuts, cernels, seeds. With the knowledge about the pesticides that are used in growing agricultures you would of course exclude practically everything you can buy in a normal store, because you know it is layed in pesticides So, we started our own way of growing our own crops, of finding other people who were likeminded or going to places which were so remote hat definitely there was no pesticides used in those areas. And these are nowadays our products, these became the people we work with until today and we are very proud that nowadays we have a whole series of products from those remote areas that are absolutely free of pesticides, that are grown in natural environments and our products contribute to the protection of the biodiversity of large lands.

Video Details

Duration: 6 minutes and 36 seconds
Country: Switzerland
Language: English
License: Public Domain
Producer: kedarvideo
Director: Kedar Misani ( [email protected] )
Views: 938
Posted by: kedarvideo on Apr 27, 2007

EPISODE 1 of "LIFE Voices - The Extraordinary in Everyday Life" - monthly podcast, presenting interviews with inspiring personalities from around the world. Published on the 13th of each month. Today with German biologist Dr. JOSEF MARGRAF who went to China to discover nearly extinct species and help establish a system of biodiversity in the rain forest region of the Sou
thern Chinese mountains.

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