hao ran foundation

We grant the action of one with grand vision

Working Together for a Healthy Tomorrow

In 2009, Typhoon Morakot sounded the alarm on climate and environmental disasters in Taiwan. When one full year’s worth of rain poured down in just three days, severe flooding and landslides devastated a number of southern Taiwan’s aboriginal tribes and rural communities. Along with severe agricultural losses and the destruction of swathes of domestic natural environment, two significant facts were revealed: the population of young workers in agricultural townships is declining and many rural communities have long suffered from social resource distribution inequalities. The Small Farm Rehabilitation Project was launched to help farmers in rebuilding areas find a sustainable balance between their livelihood and the local environments they depend on.

The goal of the Small Farm Rehabilitation Project is to improve famers’ economic conditions and rejuvenate the local environment by introducing new forms of agricultural circulation management through counseling and financial support. The two locations where the Project was initiated - the Liqiu Village of Jinfeng Township (Taitung) and Qinhe Village of Taoyuan Township (Kaohsiung) - have developed unique methods of rehabilitation adapted to local production ability and environmental conditions.

In the first year of the Small Farm Rehabilitation Project, the Liqiu Village focused primarily on recovering traditional farming practices. The tribe then developed new agricultural methods that collate with traditional methods to modernize production, sustain the environment and improve the quality of their agricultural products. By adhering to these new methods, the village is succeeding in developing organic agriculture and improving quality and value. Conversely, Qinhe Village, once a large-scale cash crop plantation, focused on the development of agro-processing in an effort to improve green plum storage capabilities and expand sales channels beyond those controlled by wholesale distributors.

An additional goal of the Project is to establish cooperative organizations among area farmers. Since the inception of the Project, Hao Ran Foundation has been engaging farmers in extensive discussions. Topics range from the rehabilitation of crop selection to methods of cultivation to the allocation of funds with which to establish a long term branded plan. As a long term plan, Hao Ran expects the Project to be both detailed and cumbersome, but the expected outcomes – increased opportunities for exchange and learning, achieving a consensus among farmers regarding brand management, production and sales channel management – will be beneficial for all.

After two years of dedication to the Project, preliminary results show that the communities are moving in the right direction. The Liqiu Village’s public fields have yielded healthy, non-toxic millet and soy beans that have been well received by consumers. Qinhe Village’s Taoyuan Xiangmei, a series of naturally produced green plum, has achieved fruition as a result of local farmers’ hard work and determination.

We began working with farmers in Beigang Township and Shuilin Township in Yunlin County on friendly farming methods in the plains of southwest in Taiwan, hoping to spread the concept of farmland rehabilitation outside of tribal villages. In the spring of 2012, the farmers, who were eager to try out organic farming, planted their first seasonal crops.

In addition to farming and processing developments, the Project has also tried to expand the diversity of its sales channels, creating opportunities for farmers and consumers to meet and interact during sales. For two consecutive years, the Project has been promoting the Small Farmers Market, a festival dedicated to promoting these small farmers and their products. The Small Farmers Market is a platform for the promotion of green and healthy consuming practices.  It will be held every third Sunday of each month since September 2011. Everyone is welcome to come and take a look. (Venue: the Center  for Public and Business Administration Education(CPBAE), National Chengchi University (NCCU) in Taipei)

The reconstruction process following a natural disaster is a long-term project. The efforts and commitments these farming communities have made are admirable and replicable. Hao Ran Foundation is proud to continue to support and integrate networks that work toward the realization of a cooperative, healthy, green network.