Erenlai - Displaying items by tag: taipei
Friday, 28 January 2011 00:00

The green dream of community farmers

We all have to eat, but what exactly should we eat? There is a saying in Chinese - “we would rather eat expensive food than take cheap medicine”. In other words, eating good food prevents us from getting sick.

Taiwanese homemakers are well known for how smart they are. However, planning to prepare good and healthy food for the family is one thing, being able to buy food that is free of toxic chemicals from a traditional market, supermarket or the internet is another. For all you homemakers out there who are caring, family-loving, smart and virtuous - are you sure the foods you buy for your family are non-toxic and healthy? In fact, the only thing you can be 100% sure of is that there are labels and instructions on the packages. The Homemaker’s Union and Foundation in Taiwan recently did some random checking on the concentration of nitrate in vegetables and discovered that they exceeded the standards of the European Union. The Council of Agriculture in Taiwan admitted that there is no relevant standard concerning the nitrate concentration in vegetables sold in Taiwan.

Can we really trust the current food standards in Taiwan? Taiwan has the highest rate of uremia sufferers in the world and there are way too many books on the market about detoxification therapy and the increasing number of people with skin allergies. Instead of pointing the finger at our homemakers, we should look to the producers, farms and rice fields. In fact, pesticide use in Taiwan was once the highest in the world.

Working together to make a military fort environmentally friendly

Coming out the number 2 exit in Tucheng MRT station and across Jincheng Road, we follow the leisure farm signs to see a military look-out post which was once an ammunition depot. Walking past the lookout-post, there are many warning signs declaring “for military use only”. Having crossed the culvert of the freeway, the scenery of the three surrounding tree-clad mountains emerges. It feels amazing and surreal to know that it is only a five minute walk back to Tucheng MRT station!

Xian-Hui Qiu is the owner of the “Hui-Yao Toxic-Free Vegetable Garden”

“I was an air conditioning maintenance man before becoming an organic vegetable farmer 4 years ago. The government was going to buy the farmlands here from us so they could transform the military ammunition depot into the second detention centre. My family has been farming here for many generations and then the government has ordered us to desert these farmlands inherited to us from our ancestors. Of course we refused the government’s offer. This is why the ‘Tucheng Environmental Guarding Association’ was formed, to make a stand against the government in an effort to protect the environment here. We only use natural compost on our farmlands now and no longer using chemical fertilizers and pesticides”.

Ren-Zhi Huang, a former graduate of Building and Planning from National Taiwan University, once the secretary general of “The Organization of Urban Re-s”, is now an important member of the Tucheng Environmental Protection Association. Mr Huang said

“I volunteered to come and assist the farmers here. This farm village is able to remain unchanged because of the moratorium on the military ammunition depot, so why can’t we make this place into a conservation area? This place is very close to Tucheng MRT station and developing here would increase the land value. However, the locals are against developing this place, they chose to guard their homes and protect their farmlands. Farming does not bring the farmers much income, but the joys and satisfactions of farming cannot be purchased by money”.

Mr Huang took out the government’s brief and planning report on the military ammunition depot and said

“During the years of stopping the county government from developing this place, there have been many eco-tours, farming experience tours and fun markets held here. Li-Lan Liu, the director general of the Tucheng Environmental Guarding Association, set up the ‘Ms Liu Environmental Classes’ here, promoting events such as ecological education and leisure coffee house, to show the government that we will never give up farming. There are now a total of 13 people in the ‘Military Ammunition Depot Promotion Cooperative’ and they will be working with farmers from other communities to regularly hold a farmers’ market to jointly promote their farm products. I believe Taiwan is a huge community and what we are doing here is community supported agriculture”.

Community supported agriculture (CSA) is a new type of direct marketing. Every growing season consumers sign contracts with farmers for a fixed amount of money. This amount is determined by how wealthy a certain consumer is. The consumer then has the products from the farm delivered once a week. The consumer and farmer share the risk together. In an age where the price of resources and foods keep rising, CSA reduces the wastage from transportation of resources. The consumers enjoy the freshest foods of the season and the farmers guarantee their source of income even when there is a nature disaster or in a time of under-harvesting. The local people are able to claim their “rights on food” from this type of direct marketing.

Photo courtesy of  Tucheng Watch Green Union. Translated from Chinese by Jason Chen

 

 

 


Friday, 26 November 2010 00:00

Green power in Taipei County

The former Governor of Taipei County (Xinbei City), Chou Hsi-Wei, talks about environmental policy in his constituency:


Tuesday, 16 November 2010 00:00

Making green power easier in Portland: an interview with Lisa Libby

Lisa Libby serves as the liaison between Mayor Adams and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to develop policies that are focused on long-range planning and carbon emissions reduction. Key policies include the Portland/Multnomah County Climate Action Plan and the Portland Plan.

Portland, Oregon's commitment to sustainability is built on a foundation of leadership set in place generations ago by civic leaders who recognized the importance of protecting this unique place in the Pacific Northwest. From the statewide land-use planning laws that created urban growth boundaries to the pioneers of light rail who chose smarter transit over another freeway, Portland has benefited from the courageous decisions made in years past.

Portland continues to define the urban sustainable experience for other American cities. In just the past two decades, Portland has innovated and experimented its way to the forefront on everything from green building (with the most LEED-certified green buildings per capita of any American city) to environmental stewardship (bringing ecological approaches to treating stormwater in a way that saves money and protects our rivers and watersheds). Portland boasts the highest rate of active commuters (bicycle and pedestrian commuters) in the U.S., a statistic built on smart investments in bicycle infrastructure and a fact that yields a healthier and more active community.

Under the leadership of Mayor Sam Adams, Portland is charging forward with ambitious and aggressive plans to be America's living laboratory for urban sustainability. Our climate action plan will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Our economic development strategy targets 10,000 new jobs, with a focus on clean technology and renewable energy. Portland is now home to the U.S. headquarters of Solarworld, Vestas, Iberdrola and other international leaders in the green economy. Portland leaders are working to grow industries of the future and build on the city’s reputation for developing environmentally responsible solutions so that its citizens can sustainably live a life they enjoy and guarantee for future generations.

 

 

 

 

Friday, 24 September 2010 19:22

Sunday afternoon at Hai Tze Tao

Hai Tze Tao is a new religious movement formed in Taiwan in 1984.  Paul Farrelly had the opportunity to visit their temple in suburban Taipei and film the Sunday afternoon service.  This video includes footage of the service, as well as a brief introduction to Hai Tze Tao and its beliefs.


Wednesday, 21 July 2010 16:58

All aboard the Coromandel Express

Coromandel Express formed in early 2010.  The group takes its name from the Indian train - 'The Coromandel Express' - that links Kolkata in the north with Chennai in the south.  With Page Byassee (蘇珮卿) on flute, harp and vocals and Cody Byassee (白克迪) on kanjira and percussion representing south Indian music and Yo (金光亮平) on sitar and Waka (若池敏弘) on tabla representing that of the north, the sounds of Coromandel Express reflects the cross-country journey of its namesake train.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010 21:12

In Bed with Rock in Hose

Ladies and Gentlemen, here is Rock in Hose!!

The burlesque dance troupe was formed in 2009 in Taiwan. Please meet Alita d'Bone and Trixie Treatz from Canada, Kitty N. Heat and Amor Galore from the U.S., Duke Vita and Onyx from South Africa.


Friday, 11 June 2010 17:42

Falun Gong protests in Taipei: An interpretive slideshow

In April 2010, Paul Farrelly visited Taipei 101 and Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall to observe the various ways that Falun Gong adherents protest against the Chinese government.  The actions of these protestors transform these popular venues into contested spaces, where tourism, spirituality and politics intersect.  His photos and commentary aim to illustrate the uneasy balance that these powerful forces somehow maintain.


Wednesday, 28 April 2010 12:44

A postcard of Taipei

Taiwanese conceptual artist Nat Niu introduces us to his two videos concepts: The Line and Postcard.

 
Published in
Focus: City and Poetry

Tuesday, 25 March 2008 23:08

Time and Numbers

In the dusk of early summer days, the ’Light of the Sun’ spreads its magical power upon the busy city during rush-hour time. The whole urban life is bathed in sun rays. Regardless of the human activities, the busy traffic or the senseless height of the skyscrapers, the sun light is travelling from one corner of the city to another.
Light, you always travel hand in hand with the sounds of the city: sounds of cars speeding up, rustling sounds of the branches, busy paces of people commuting to work...With a touch of light, you empower every creature amd object on your way

Day after day, night after night, you come and go, again and again. Your routinely constant visit, however, is neglected. The public has ignored you; the city has forgotten you. But this will never stop you from your coming back again and again. Your warm presence, witnesses everything, caresses everything.
You follow the tick-tack-tick-tack of Time. It is this senseless, at a first sight, tick tack which connects places, signs, symbols and people. Light, you lead time, and you aroused the awakening of my Soul, and your power is reflected in the depth of my eyes.

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