Phase 1: Posing Real Questions

Updated 4 years 1 week ago
In Phase 0, I worked on finding and Inquiry Project and making a final decision. In Phase 1, I have gathered questions and information about my topic (Photography and Farming).
At this moment in my work, I did not have much information on my topic Photography and Farming. In the next few months, I have been researching further more about the background of this topic. According to Jillian K. (she focused on the spring season farming), the locals in Xizhou plant garlic. She also mentioned that garlic requires certain timing and materials, which therefore makes it a hard plant to work with. Also, Jillian informed us that the harvest season is in late may. Therefore I was not able to see garlic being harvested. Shannon A. explained how the life of farmers are different in the past, present and future. From her final project I learned that some of the farmers have gone through tough experiences and they might be more confidential about explaining their struggles to me. My knowledge on this topic is very little but as I advance I intend on learning more as I go into deeper research.
The source I have used for my basic knowledge is the Microcampus website and the work of previous alumni. In Phase 0 I started learning about my Inquiry Project. Also, during the previous Phase, I was looking at the work of previous students and I was able to gather some basic knowledge about farming. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, I gathered knowledge about struggles faced in the village and information in regards to similar inquiry projects. My main sources were Jillian K. who was in the group C of the Microcampus trips and Shannon A. who was in group N of the Microcampus trips.
During this trip, I hope to learn many things about my Inquiry Project, Photography and Farming. At this stage, I do not know much about this topic. In the future I plan on learning the daily schedule of a farmer, and if they were not a farmer, what other job options would they have? I would also like the learn what crops they grow at what time of year and how they plant them. Also, I would like to see where the farmers sell these crops and how different the market place and then cost is to Shanghai. However, most of these ideas are to ask about in the village and are hard to research about online. Before leaving to XiZhou, I would like to research about the history of the farming spaces in XiZhou. Also, I would like to learn about when they started farming and where did they find their resources. This will help me have a better understanding about my topic and it will give me basic information about my topic before I go to XiZhou.
In Phase 1, I did some background research on my Inquiry Project photography and farming. To gather further information about my topic, more background research can be found in Phase 3.
Big Questions:
Now I will be generating a list of questions that will later help me start to get interactions once we are in Xizhou.
Life as a farmer:
1. What are some of the main tools that farmers use?
Based on previous readings, I know what tools farmers use to use to farm in the past. Nowadays, I do not know if they are still used. Some tools that they used to use were Water Wheels and Iron Plows.

2. Who do they sell their crops to?

In a place like Xizhou I would expect the farmers to sell their crops on a market place. However, I do not know who and where they sell their crops to.
3. How does the weather in Xizhou affect the farming?
I have not been to Xizhou, therefore I do not know how the weather is. Based on information I have heard from others, Xizhou has mild weather. However I can infer that with rain the fields get flooded, and with sun the crops flourish.
4. Were their parents farmers as well? Is this one of the reasons they became farmers?
Their parents were most likely farmers as in Xizhou there are not many job options/opportunities.  
Farming Techniques:
5. What animals do you raise on your farm and why?
I am guessing they raise cows as their natural waste can be used as fertilizers. However, many other animals could be raised on the farm for different uses.
6. Do the farmers still use basic wooden or metal tools?
In Xizhou I am not sure if they still use wooden or metal tools. However, I do not think that they would use machines in a small village area like Xizhou.
7. What is the best season to farm?
I have heard from previous alumni that Xizhou has mild weather during the March to April trips. Therefore, I think that spring season is the best time to harvest crops. 
8. If these people were not farmers, what other jobs would they be able to do?
I have not seen all the jobs people do in Xizhou, but one example of where they could work could be at the textile production. 
9. Did the farmers have education?
For this question I think it depends on the family. Some farmers may be wealthier than others.
10. Did industrialization come as an advantage or disadvantage to the farmers?
I think this could be an advantage as the work of the farmers would be easier. It could also be a disadvantage as with the machines there could be less job opportunities.
In Xizhou, I would like to know the back story of the farmers. Based on what I have read from previous alumni, I know that some of the farmers are more sensitive about different topics than others. Some questions the farmers may not want to answer and I would like to know what we can and what we can not ask. I would like to ask about how their lives were in the past and during that process I do not want to make any of them feel uncomfortable.
Now I have finished with Phase 1. To continue reading about my learning journey, go to Phase 2. In this next Phase I will be working on finding helpful resources. These helpful resources may lead me to answers and even new questions.
Hello, my name is Alba and my time in Xizhou has now ended. I am 13 years old and I attend Shanghai American School. I have lived in Shanghai for 8 years now. Before that I lived in Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan. I wanted to join the Microcampus program to experience living out of the "bubble" life. I was a part of the O.R.E.O spring Microcampus trip of 2016. I am so happy I got to come here and learn about my inquiry project, bond with locals, have personal growth and develop more intercultural understanding!