[BC Trips] Research Journal # 11 - Taichung

In August 2019, we visited Taichung with the help of a regional revitalization team in Taiwan to further our research. Taichung was once thought of as an industrial city, but is now fast gaining popularity among the tourist as a melting pot of both culinary and cultural delights. On the cultural side, you will find traditional crafts that have been handed down since ancient times, as well as many shops and workshops for pottery and wood carving art. Here are some sustainable stories we found there.

三義鴨箱寶(Shuanfeng Wooden Duck Factory)

Sanyi is the wood carving hometown and has gathered the most skillful wood carving Masters in Taiwan. "Shuangfeng Wood Duck Factory" has been famous for its wood ducks since 1963. If you used to have or still have a “Wood Duck” decoration at home, it might have come from here, since this factory used to be the largest and first wood duck manufacturer for the US, Europe, and Japan. They no longer exports their products and is now a place where you can experience DIY painting. 

What was truly amazing about this place was how they procure the woods that they use. Everything they buy were through fairtrade. Taiwan is a country with many disasters like typhoons and earthquakes and so manufacturers of trees can lose money when there is a natural disaster and their woods are damaged. The government put in place a mechanism so that the government buys these damaged woods from the manufacturers and sell to others in need. This helps both the manufacturers as their loss will be minimum and for the buying party they are able to buy the woods through a proper channel and reasonable price.

梨理人農村工作室 (Ririren)

Ririren was founded by two young people in Taiwan. In 2015 they visited a rural area in Taichung through a government-sponsored trip. There they were surprised that a huge amount of waste was generated in the pear industry. When they saw the sight of burning pear stems, they began to think how it can be reused. As a result, pear stems have been reborn as unique products through their creativity. Now they also make dried fruits from damaged pears which cannot be sold in the market. We went to their workshop and saw how much time it took to dry the stem, cut it, polish it, and make them into the finished product. What's even better and amazing they make sure that it is fair for everyone involved in production. For example, pears and stems that have been discarded are purchased from producers at a reasonable price. Workers who are hired to make the pens are paid higher than the minimum wage. We thought what they are doing is truly remarkable; Ririren continues to work every day with innovative ideas to further help the agricultural waste recycling system. They hope that this will ultimately attract people's attention to rural issues and promote more youth development.

Next, we will introduce sustainable items we found in Yilan in Taitung city.