6. ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION

6.2 I NTERACTION WITH O UTSIDE W ORLD

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wants to learn resilience and tolerance from elders. She wants to emphasize values that one must experience oneself, not learn about in books. She wants to affect the next generation, help them set their own goals and dreams.

6.2 Interaction with Outside World

While the main purpose of this research is to explore the local values that are being expressed and created through the organic farm movement in Jianshi and the work of the FA, it is important to remember that this does not exist in a vacuum. Because of the nature of the concept of alternativeness, other studies of Alternative Food

Networks include in their analysis a look at the degree to which the case interacts with or hopes to change mainstream society, economy and politics. As this case is being explored as an example of an “alternative” agriculture, it is important to explore what they are alternative to, how they see their work as distinct and whether or not they hope to alter the wider society. Further, and also following in the footsteps of other AFN research (McMahon N. 2005) a look at the degree to which the community networks and/or organizes with other AFNs or AESs.

6.2.1 Interaction with Mainstream

In this section, I will discuss the observed interactions and stated intentions of the FA members and local farmers with respect to various aspects of mainstream society.

Some key facets to be discussed are government agencies, outside businesses, consumers and academics.

As previously discussed in this thesis, the relationship between local Atayal people in the research area and the various government actors that they come into contact with such as the Forestry Bureau, state-run petrochemical companies, dam maintenance, Indigenous Council is marked by blame, distrust and misunderstanding.

While improving these relationships was rarely mentioned to me as a main priority of their development work, there was some recognition that it was necessary. Also as mentioned above, the process of recording the knowledge of the elders and presenting this information in ways that can be understood by outsiders such as maps (both physical and digital), databases of local flora and fauna and their uses as well as their language and songs is an important part of their work. This process helps to give legitimacy to their local knowledge, history and claims to the land.

In terms of dealing with outside businesspeople, almost any discussion with local people about their reasons for pursuing this alternative agriculture strategy includes the issue of wholesalers or middlemen. They are the subject of much negative sentiment for allegedly sparking competition among local households and other unscrupulous business practices. Finding ways around such businessmen is a priority of the FA and local farmers. However, even if they are able to cut them out, the farmers still need to do business with outsiders in order to sell their produce so they are keen to on the one hand do direct-sales to consumers and on the other foster relationships and supply chains with organizations with more sound business

practices, such as charities, green-groups and organic shops.

In order to accomplish their goal of creating a green economy that is profitable enough to create opportunities for young people, the FA and farmers know that they must understand consumers from outside their area. They must understand the demands, values and means of their potential consumers in order to know what and how to market to them. Also, I was impressed by how the farmers seemed to be genuinely concerned for the health of outside people, wanting healthy organic produce to be available to everyone, not just those who live in the mountains or are rich. Wuzhide (吳治德), of Meihua Tribe, explains:

Many people in the tribe began to engage in organic vegetable farming. And the more organics we grow, the price mechanism will make it comparable to the so-called traditional markets prices.

So we told them that these good things in addition, beyond ourselves, we should make it so more people can afford to eat these vegetables. Not only we get to eat them, but regular people can access them. So they are looking forward to the day they can accomplish this. In recent years we have promoted farming organic vegetables like this (Qinghua University Documentary A)

Thus, beyond their community, he is concerned that regular people in the plains, if they are not rich, lack access to non-toxic, healthy produce at reasonable prices. He thinks that by promoting organic farming, he can also help make the prices more competitive, thus more affordable to regular people.

As described previously, it was a professor from Qinghua University that first noticed Pastor Taru’s farming techniques and mentioned the modern concept of

“organic agriculture” (modern only as a response to the need for a term to describe it in contrast to conventional chemical-based agriculture). This was to start a long relationship between academics and organic farmers in the research area. These days there are many young people from the area who are pursuing higher education in

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social sciences, agriculture, social work and legal studies and many students and academics from outside (such as myself) who have spent time in the area conducting research. Dr. Lin and Dr. Kuan, among other university professors, have fostered reciprocal relationships between academic institutions and local people, bringing groups of students to spend time in the area. These trips benefit their students in term of an informative and mind-opening cultural and ecological experience and the visits also promote the perspectives of local people as well as make a financial contribution.

Dr. Lin has mentioned plans of growing and institutionalizing this relationship. As local people hope to develop their tourism industry, encouraging academic-oriented visitors is seen as a way of ensuring their subjectivity and beneficial consequences of tourism.

6.2.2 Interaction with other AES

Other studies that have looked at AES and AFNs have also described the degree to which each case interacts with other AESs. This can give valuable insight into how participants view their project and the wider world and the ways in which they may hope to make a contribution to improving political, economic or

environmental issues. There are two main ways in which the participants in the FA were observed to interact with other AES and AFNs, one is their involvement with some pan-global social and environmental groups and the other is through knowledge sharing with other indigenous and/or organic farmers in Taiwan and other countries.

The International Society of Ethnobiology (ISE) is one such pan-global social and environmental group that shares many of the values of the FA. I was able to attend an ISE mini-conference in Taipei in 2014 that included some FA members and after which the visiting ISE representatives from multiple countries traveled to Jianshi to learn about their efforts and to carry out a video conference with other farmers, academics and activists in Peru. Also, in 2015, many representatives from the research area and my university traveled to Bhutan to participate in a larger

conference. These activities contribute symbolically in terms of moral support and legitimacy to the work of the FA and also practically in terms of advice,

collaboration, process and technical know-how.

Knowledge sharing with other farmers in Taiwan and other countries is often based on commonalities of organic agriculture and ecological values or indigenous activism. Watan has said that they feel that their technique, “Indigenous Agriculture”

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can be (and has been) held up as a model for other communities’ development. He is quick to point out the most important lesson of their model is that context is important and a holistic approach to development. They see their efforts as intrinsically

dependent on their history, culture and environment. In terms of knowledge-sharing, especially the agricultural skills they are promoting must always be localized in context; knowledge cannot simply be transferred. They can only offer lessons and support that must then be adapted to suit another culture, landscape, and local species.

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在文檔中 有機之根: 台灣泰雅族部落替代性食物網路與發展之研究 - 政大學術集成 (頁 112-115)