Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2019, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (5): 675-701.doi: 10.1007/s11442-019-1621-2

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Rural transformation: Cherry growing on the Guanzhong Plain, China and the Adelaide Hills, South Australia

M. ROBINSON Guy1(), Bingjie SONG2   

  1. 1. Department of Geography, Environment and Population, University of Adelaide, Australia
    2. School of Geography and Tourism, Shaanxi Normal University, China
  • Received:2018-06-13 Accepted:2018-12-20 Online:2019-05-25 Published:2019-04-19
  • About author:

    Author: Guy M. Robinson, Professor, E-mail:


This paper echoes a tradition in agricultural geography by focusing on a single crop: cherries. It illustrates how developments associated with globalisation and growing urban markets are re-shaping rural areas. The interplay between global and local is investigated in two different contexts. A Chinese example reflects transformations affecting the countryside following national economic reforms. Focusing on the hinterland of Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi Province, it examines farmers’ responses to the changing socio-political context and the rising size and wealth of the local market. Individual initiatives backed by government support have spawned localised concentrations of cherry growing and increased horticultural production. Farm-based tourism is creating new relationships between farmers and consumers, with farms becoming more diversified and multifunctional. The second example is the Adelaide Hills, South Australia, where cherry growing is increasingly combined with direct sales to consumers and gastronomic tourism. The paper addresses contrasts and similarities between the two examples in the interplay between global and local, and a ‘multifunctional transition’ in farming. Concluding remarks include reference to new economic links forged between China and Australia through relaxations on cherry imports to China and new patterns of Chinese foreign direct investment into Australian cherry production. A research agenda for future research is suggested.

Key words: cherries, agriculture, rural tourism, globalisation, multifunctional, China, Australia