'Yimeng spirit' kindles rural vitalization

(chinadaily.com.cn)| Updated : 2022-08-12

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Linyi has long been known as the cradle of the "Yimeng spirit", which was cultivated during China's struggle for liberation in the 1930s and 40s.

During the revolutionary war, more than 1.2 million of the 4.2 million people living in the Yimeng Mountain area made efforts to support the Red Army, and more than 200,000 joined the army to fight.

The Yimeng spirit of hard work, self-improvement, selflessness and dedication has inspired generations of Chinese people ever since, and even today it continues to shine in many ways, including the local people's fight against poverty.


Lijiazhai village is located in the mountainous region. [Photo/Dazhong News]

Lijiazhai village in Linyi's Junan county is located in the mountainous region. In the past, the natural conditions were harsh and soil erosion was serious in the village, with the average grain yield per mu (about 667 square meters) being less than 50 kilograms.

"Eating only vegetables in the morning, bran at noon, and gruel at night" was a true portrayal of the hard living conditions of the people in Lijiazhai at that time.

In 1951, Li Yuekun, the then Party chief of Lijiazhai village, led the village Party members and other villagers to carry out reservoir construction, terrace renovation, afforestation and other oil and water conservation projects, using only simple farming tools.

In practice, the local people have created a complete set of quality methods for flood control, water storage and soil conservation.

To help increase local villagers' incomes, the Party branch of Lijiazhai decided to lead the villagers in developing the cherry industry.

In order to improve cherry cultivation, Party members in the village took the lead in running a cherry cultivation cooperative, and also set up the Lijiazhai Cherry Research Institute, which cooperates with experts from universities and research institutes to cultivate new varieties of cherries and provide free training to villagers.

Cherries produced in Lijiazhai have been listed in the national catalogue of "Famous, Special and Excellent" agricultural products, and Lijiazhai has won the reputation of the "No 1 Cherry Village in China", with an annual output of 20 million kilograms and an output value of 240 million yuan ($35.35 million).

In recent years, the village Party branch has been promoting the local cherry industry's transition into high value-added sectors.

Lijiazhai Cherry Science and Technology Demonstration Park and a research center for large cherry planting and processing have been established to cultivate, promote and demonstrate new cherry varieties, and research cherry wine, cherry juice, preserved cherries and other deep-processed and innovative cherry products.

An e-commerce center has also been built to expand the sales channels of local cherries, and enhance the brand influence of the Lijiazhai Cherry.