However, the farmers at the market often face questions from consumers about their higher prices that necessarily reflect the higher cost of sustainable farming, Chen said.
“We should ask if it is fair to put the cost of producing healthy, green products on growers alone,” she added.
To Lin of TRF, an answer to the dilemma can be found in the kind of environmental subsidy programs practiced by EU countries. As Lin explained, instead of subsidizing fallow farmland and fertilizer manufacturers as Taiwan’s government has been doing, the program encourages farmers to manage farmland using environmentally friendly agricultural practices in order to receive subsidies.
“It emphasizes the idea that the function of farmland is manifold. It can grow food and have ecological benefits. Therefore, a farmer’s earnings should come from many sources too and have minimum income even if a typhoon ruins the entire harvest,” she said.
“Of course, studies need to be done before the actual implementation of such program. But the first step is to educate the public about it.”
For your information: Bow to Land Farmers’ Market takes place from 10am to 5pm on the third Sunday of every month. On the Net: bowtoland.blogspot.tw.