Chapter 2. History of Agriculture in Shilei

2.4 Transition to Natural Farming

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paddy rice farming period, the KMT during the martial law period3 was in control of Taiwanese agricultural systems. This control may be seen when the KMT directed Taiwanese people to switch to conventional farming. Also similar to paddy rice farming, conventional farming imports a broad range of techniques from outside indigenous communities, and is not made to incorporate local knowledge and techniques. What makes the conventional farming approach stand out from paddy rice farming is the fact the capitalist market system played an important role for indigenous farmers. Roads were improved to allow farmers an easier access to the market, and for the first time the main focus of agriculture for indigenous farmers was shifted towards monetary viability.

2.4 Transition to Natural Farming

Taru Behuy, along with the other Shilei farmers, spent a number of years doing conventional farming. He states that pesticides were effective in making him a successful farmer, however they also killed a lot of other organisms and are responsible for his wife’s cancer (Lo and Ru 2015, 101). The continual spraying of pesticides caused health issues among the community members, including Taru Behuy’s wife. In 1988 Taru Behuy’s wife was diagnosed with three types of cancer. Although the prognosis was that she only had 3-6 months to live, Taru Behuy was determined to not give up hope. He returned to the mountains and prayed everyday asking what he should do to heal her.

According to his son, Watan Taru (Lo En Chia/ ), God answered Taru Behuy’s prayers through a dream and told him to use Taxol (gamin, ) as a medicine (INIEF workshop 03/15/2016). Through local ecological knowledge and faith in his religion he was able to miraculously cure his wife (Yen et al. 2009, 10). From this experience, Taru Behuy had the idea to try and incorporate Taxol into his agricultural practices. If it had the ability to heal his wife’s cancer, perhaps it would also have positive effects on his farming practice. However, it was not until ten years later, when Taru Behuy traveled to Korea, that he was inspired to use taxol in his agricultural practice (INIEF workshop 03/15/2016).

3 1949-1987

Through this experience, Taru realized the harmful effects of pesticides on the human body. In addition, other community members had similar experiences with their health after using conventional pesticides, so Taru recognized that his wife’s case was not unique. As a result, Taru took up organic farming and encouraged his neighbors to follow his lead (Yen et al. 2009, 11). Besides spirituality, Taru was also equipped with basic knowledge of Atayal cultivation methods, which he calls the “elder’s knowledge.” For example, he made his own fertilizer by using grass and cow dung (Lo and Ru 2015, 104-105).

Yet, it was difficult to convince his neighbors to transition to organic farming.

This difficulty was partially due to the fact that they viewed him as someone with little experience on the matter and partially due to the fact that many were unwilling to give up the conveniences of conventional farming practice. Despite the fact that neighboring farmers chided him for practicing organic farming, he never stopped promoting the benefits of organic farming. “Neighbors laughed at him, but he never stopped his promotional work. He acted as a guide for others to begin growing their own produce”

(Yen et al. 2009, 11).

There are several situations, which depict the blending of Taru Behuy’s devotion of his faith and organic farming. Both Taru Behuy and Watan Taru state that according to their faith it is vital for them to not only practice organic farming, but also share that knowledge with others. The first example of this is, in 1998 Taru Behuy went to Tayax, another Atayal community, where he discovered many of the community member’s jobs were unstable. In Tayax, Taru Behuy taught organic farming to community members.

Community members then sent their produce to the Life and Consumption Cooperation of Homemakers Union and Foundation by using Taru Behuy’s name, and shared the profits (Yen et al. 2009, 11). The second example is, after Typhoon Ele, many Shi Lei community members were left unemployed (Yen et al. 2009, 9). In order to help the unemployment situation, Taru Behuy decided to teach residents organic farming

methods. These organic farming methods would both provide employment opportunities for residents and improve the health of the river (by not using pesticides). In 2005, Taru Behuy applied with World Vision Taiwan to establish the Quri Community Organic farm. In the beginning everyone worked together through the norms of Gaga. However,

due to management and monetary problems the Quri Community Organic farm was unsuccessful (Yen et al. 2009, 12-17).

In 2007 a Korean preacher visited the Shi Lei community and encouraged Taru Behuy to transition from organic farming to natural farming. Afterwards, Taru Behuy traveled to Korea to study Natural Farming, and learned the Hang Fang fertilizer method.

Upon returning to Shilei, he quickly made changes to his farming regimen. However, he realized that the exact same method he learned in Korea would not work on his farm because of the environmental differences, so through trial and error he developed a similar method by using ecological knowledge of the forest. In 2008 Taru Behuy returned to Korea to learn natural chicken breeding, and also brought this technique back to his farm in Shilei (Yen et al. 2009, 18).

Transition to natural and organic farming methods has only become possible due to a shift in the function of state power in Taiwan. The government has begun to allow farmers more flexibility on what types of farming methods they pursue. On the contrary, during both the paddy rice farming and conventional farming periods the government clearly dictated which methods citizens should practice. It should be noted that, the government is not completely absent from current agricultural practices. For example the government still enforces specific standards on what qualifies as organic produce, and farmers must meet standards in order to sell produce on a wider market scale.

While natural farming, similar to paddy rice farming and conventional farming, is a technique that did not originate in Taiwan, what differentiates natural farming from these previous farming methods is natural farming also makes room to incorporate local knowledge in the area. It is part of the natural farming philosophy that farming should imitate existing land structures, which usually means incorporating local species and knowledge into the process. Yet, although natural farming incorporates indigenous ecological knowledge concepts, it also makes use of contemporary knowledge. For example, previous farming methods, particularly conventional farming, introduced the capitalist market concept. Although this wider market concept was absent during

traditional agriculture, rather than disengage with the market system, natural farmers still make room to be involved in the market space without compromising their values. The term ‘value’ in this context refers to a combination of the farmer’s spiritual and

environmental values. During the time of conventional agriculture some farmers begun to feel that by treating the land solely as a commodity, they were disrespecting the land God had given them. Furthermore, the farmers saw adverse health consequences as a result of conventional chemical overuse as another sign there was a problem with the current farming method, and looked to God for answers on how they should resolve these problems. Currently, while the farmer’s remain active members of the market sphere, their views on spirituality highly influence their lifestyle and lead lead them to cherish and respect the land.

Table 2-1 below gives a visual depiction of how these different knowledge systems have changed throughout Shilei’s various farming periods.

Table 2-1 Comparison of knowledge systems among different farming systems Type of

Traditional Local Knowledge No state power No market concept Japanese rice

Conventional Broad based system of knowledge,

Natural Farming Blending of local and new technology

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Chapter 3

Participatory Research and Analysis of Literature Review Outline

The author stayed and worked on the Lo family’s natural farm several times for participatory study. Through working, eating, and living with the Lo family the deep connections among farmers, land, and religion became apparent. Species relations, biodiversity, human relations, and spirituality are all part of this relationship network and will be explored in the context of the Shilei farm in this section. This chapter is broken into 5 main sections: land/habitat, species relations, social relations, language, and spirituality. The first section on land/habitat works to describe the species relations among different species on the farm. The second section on species variety gives further details on the high biodiversity in the farm and methodology of fertilizers used. The third section on social relations describes the labor force and how this remains an important part of the farmer’s culture. The fourth section describes how the local language may be influenced by elements of farming. The final section on spirituality explains how Christianity, and also spirituality in a broad sense, is a vital part of the farm life and culture.

3.1 Habitat/Land preparation

Habitat does not only refer to the fields themselves, but also describes all of the surrounding land, including the forest, river, and surrounding plant and animal life that are in connection with the farm. There are many factors in analyzing what make up this habitat on the Shilei farm, from the minute microorganisms in the soil to the variety of materials brought in from the forest. It is also important to define farming methods, such as land preparation techniques and material origins, as these may give important

indicators to both the farm’s habitat and species variety. In turn, both this habitat and species variety have influence over the species relations in the farm network. For example, Watan Taru describes the farm’s use of rotational farming. Unlike the

monocropping system used in conventional agriculture, use of rotational farming allows

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an increase in crop variety by switching out the crops used every season. Watan Taru depicts that there are no designated fields assigned for specific crops as:

“Every field can grow every variety of crop. The key is that the same field must not continuously grow the same type of crop. For example, cabbage should not be grown in the same field twice [consecutively]. Otherwise the crops are more susceptible to disease…. after larger crops are harvested, [they are] exchanged with smaller crops. (If a crop can be harvested within a month or so it is a small crop and over two months it is considered a large crop). After a field has been used for 4 consecutive times we will let it rest for half a year. Furthermore every year we let the fields rest for three months – half a year in order to increase soil fertility and replenish nutrients. “ (Watan Taru 04/24/2016)

In the Shilei community the Shilei Natural farm is famous for their natural fertilizer, which was inspired by Taru Behuy’s faith, indigenous ecological knowledge and time spent in Korea. The fertilizer materials come from diverse areas, which is one of the key aspects separating natural farming from conventional agriculture. Figure 7 below displays this diverse network of fertilizer materials.

Figure 7 Network of Fertilizer Materials

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Table 3-1 on the following page portrays more specifically some of the fertilizer material origins. The origin of many of the materials, including yellow cypress, taxol, and

mountain cinnamon come from the indigenous community’s mountain territory, and their use is inspired by indigenous ecological knowledge. Additionally, ginger, bamboo shoots, grass, and fresh water comes from or around the farm.

Table 3-1 Origin of Common Fertilizer Materials

Species Name Origin Notes

Cork Tree bark/

Yellow Cypress

Comes from the forest, picked at an elevation of 1200-2100 m.

Tree bark is used in natural germicide

Taxol Gathered from forest, picked at an elevation of 1700-2100 m. found on steep over hangings

Bark and leaves are used in natural germicide

Mountain Cinnamon Comes from the forest, picked at an elevation of 1600 m.

Tree bark is used in natural germicide and fertilizer (Chinese) Licorice

Root

Comes from traditional Chinese medicine shop in Zhudong ( )

Used in natural germicide

Garlic Bulb Comes from traditional Chinese medicine shop in Zhudong ( )

Used in natural germicide Chinese Angelica Comes from traditional Chinese

medicine shop in Zhudong ( )

Used in natural germicide Ginger Grown on the farm at an elevation of

700 m.

Used in natural germicide

Bamboo shoots Comes from a bamboo shoot patch next to the farm

Used in natural fertilizer

Grass The grass that grows next to the crops Used in natural fertilizer Fresh water Use the water which comes from the

farm (which comes from the mountains)

Used in natural fertilizer

Sea water Comes from Su’ao, Yilan ( )

Used in natural fertilizer and also to control weeds Mackerel Fish Comes from Su’ao, Yilan Used in natural fertilizer

Papaya Comes a farm on Taoyuan ( )

countryside where Gao Yicun ( ) grows natural Papaya

Used in natural fertilizer

Banana Comes from the same farm as the papaya

Used in natural fertilizer

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Figure 8 Pictures of Fertilizer Ingredients

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When collecting material for the fertilizer, it is crucial to understand the role each species plays in connection with each other and the forest. Taking a species without clear understanding of the role it has in the environment may cause a disruption in the balance of the ecosystem, so it is important to carefully learn about the functions of the entire forest before gathering materials for the fertilizer. Understanding these functions is highly dependent on indigenous ecological knowledge. Loyi (Taru Behuy’s 4th son) gives the example of the fir tree [ ]. Before going to collect the fir tree from the mountain, Loyi thought the fir tree was just used as decoration or for building material. However, after gaining experience gathering the material in the forest and learning about indigenous knowledge connected with the fir tree, Loyi explains that now he realizes the fir tree also plays an important role in helping the forest maintain balance and stabilize the forest soil (Loyi 02/10/2016).

3.2 Species diversity

3.2.1 Crop, Wild Plant, and Insect Diversity

In Shi Lei, there are over 107 varieties of plant species. These include plants grown directly on the farm and also the plants surrounding the farm, such as native strawberries, native plum (orange in color, with edible leaves), Chinese silver grass ( / Miscanthus), bamboo, indigenous potato, and maqaw ( ). As of now, the farmers at Shilei have not calculated the exact number of insects and other animals found in and around the farm. They do state that ladybugs, grasshoppers, mantis, caterpillar, moths, spiders, ants, butterflies, frogs, snails, lizards, birds and snakes are able to flourish there because they do not use chemical pesticides. According to Loyi, (Taru Behuy’s 4th son), other farms that use conventional pesticides do not have the same density of insect species as their farm (Loyi 02/08/2016).

When compared with conventional farming, the Shilei Natural farm grows a much wider variety of crops. This variety is detailed in table 3-2.

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Table 3-2 Plant Species and Season Grown

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Cabbage

Broccoli Cabbage

Tomato Green pepper Cabbage

( )

Hei Ye Bai Lettuce Daikon Salad greens

Romaine Cabbage

( )

Bok Choy Kohlrabi Cabbage

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Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Corn

Eggplant String Beans Pea

Pumpkin Garlic leaves Snap pea Bitter gourd Crown daisy c.

Spinach Scallion

Many plants that may normally be considered weeds serve an important purpose on the farm. As Watan Taru mentioned in section 3.1, fields are rotated in order to give the soil a rest period. Otherwise the soil will become exhausted of its fertility. While the fields are resting, weeds form a type of protection, preventing things such as soil erosion.

Preventing soil erosion is especially important in this area, because it is rainy climate with a sloped mountainous terrain that is prone to landslides. Additionally, after the rest period weeds are cleared from the fields to prepare for new crops. A number of these weeds are kept, mixed in with the fertilizer solution, and used again to increase crop growth (Loyi 02/08/2016). Yet, Watan Taru cautions that “before using weeds [one] first must understand their properties and uses, and not every weed can be made into

fertilizer” (Lo 2016 231-232).

In addition to working to prevent landslides, Chinese silver grass and bamboo have the function of protecting the farm from neighboring farm’s chemical pesticides and

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fertilizers. Loyi, Taru Behuy’s 4th son explains how the concepts of using silver grass and bamboo are derived from the Atayal elder knowledge:

“The most important function of the Chinese silver grass is to protect [block] the farm from chemical pesticides sprayed by neighboring farms. When the

neighboring farms use pesticides the grass will block them, [the pesticides] will not be brought in by the wind into the farm. The use of natural plants to help us, is also protecting the environment. Therefore, we don’t need to be worried about others spraying chemicals” (Loyi 02/08/2016)

Figure 9 Chinese Silver Grass on the outskirts of the farm (02/11/2016) Location:

Shilei ( )

Similarly, a wall of bamboo is used to block chemical pesticides from entering the farm. Loyi states that, “According to Atayal elder knowledge, they say bamboo grows quickly and has many roots, so it can absorb many toxins in the soil” (Loyi 02/08/2016).

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Figure 10 Bamboo wall surrounding the farm (02/08/2016) Location: Shilei ( )

3.2.2: Fertilizer, Pest deterrent, and Disease Preventative:

a. Natural Fertilizer

By not using chemical pesticides or fertilizers more insects and animals have been able to thrive on the farm. In a conventional farm, the chemical fertilizers and pesticides allow crops to flourish while killing pests. Yet chemical fertilizers also kill other species of insect, including potentially beneficial ones. While conventional methods are

successful in stimulating crop growth and preventing pests from eating the crops, they create an imbalance in the ecosystem. Not using chemical pesticides may seem

problematic for natural farming, because it means there are more pests, and these pests will eat the crops. However, it also means the pest’s predators are able to eat the pests, which works to sustain a more balanced ecosystem. For example, the grasshoppers eat the caterpillars and ladybugs, the mantis eats the grasshopper, the birds eat almost every variety of insects, and people eat the birds. According to Loyi, this idea of maintaining a more balanced ecosystem aligns with the principles of the Gaga. According to the Gaga it is important to respect everything, and “if you respect them they will also respect you”

(Loyi 02/08/2016). Everything, plants, animals, insects, etc. are thought to have a

specific purpose and it is important to look carefully for that purpose before mindlessly certain species off (ex: weeds, pests, etc.) (Loyi 02/08/2016).

Nevertheless, even natural farmers still need some type of fertilizer and pest and disease preventative, especially for the crops that are not native to the area. In Korea, Taru Behuy learned several different natural fertilizer techniques and also how to raise

Nevertheless, even natural farmers still need some type of fertilizer and pest and disease preventative, especially for the crops that are not native to the area. In Korea, Taru Behuy learned several different natural fertilizer techniques and also how to raise

在文檔中 泰雅族的自然農業:一條朝向保持生物多樣性及傳統文化道路 - 政大學術集成 (頁 36-0)