The ultimate self-sufficient lifestyle of Yunnan minority people

[2013.04.23] Posted By

Yunnan Corn width=

Whenever I went to Yunnan minority villages, one thing always gave me a very deep impression.


Lifestyle following the tradition

They have very complete self-sufficient lifestyle. Any food they eat is collected from plants surrounding their house. They cultivate a variety of crops like rice, beans, corn, wheat and etc. They also produce bean paste, alcohol, and vegetable by themselves. It is also their daily routine to collect wild herbs or vegetables. As for the source of protein, they raise their own livestock. Once we enter their village or even the surrounding mountain near by the village, there are many animals running around. In addition to supply their daily consumption, the excess crops they will regularly bring to a specific location and sell, in exchange for money to buy sugar, oil, salt and other household items. In some of the more closed or remote locations, the villagers still practice a very traditional way of barter transactions in exchange for daily necessities. Those minorities who live in the mountain have probably never eaten sea fish in their lifetime. Actually they do not have to. From the river, they catch fish, prawn or snail. We always wonder why some minorities in Yunnan are still wearing the traditional costumes. The reason is simple. They produce their own traditional clothes, and they do not have to buy from outside.

Yunnan Chicken

Yunnan snail

Fried Snail with fresh herbs and spices


The food culture in developed countries was built on top of the huge energy consumption

As we live in modern lifestyle, we often think we have very rich food culture. However, most of the food materials or ingredients are produced in remote places and it is shipped to the town we live. Besides, we often import food and ingredients from overseas. Most of them require a lot of energy, machinery, fertilizer and pesticide for production. In addition, we need to spend a lot of energy to ship the items to consumption area, and also spend a lot of energy to maintain its freshness. Eventually, I wonder how much energy has to be spent in order to eat a simple meal in modern lifestyle.

A girl in Yunnan

Minorities self-sufficient life style

The life style of minorities seems very simple. But it is very efficient in a way. Generally, they do not have to use energy for machinery, logistics and for maintaining the freshness of food materials. I think their way of life is the most affluent. It would be great pleasure if everyday we can eat the fruit and vegetable that we planted. However, to fully comply with their way of life to live for me is seems unlikely. But I think I should learn some tips from their life style.

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wild vegetable of Yunnan

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