The Ninth International Vegetarian and Organic Food Festival was held this weekend in Taipei, featuring more than 600 booths, including a pavilion about organic food from India, and a pavilion hosted by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) on saving electricity and reducing carbon emissions.
Held at Taipei World Trade Center’s Exhibition Hall 1, the festival was hosted by the Merit Times and co-sponsored by the EPA, the Council of Agriculture and other agencies.
The themes of this year’s event were: India, organic agriculture, environmental protection, cross-strait tea culture, vegetarian caterpillar fungus (Cordyceps militaris), vegetarian dog food, prayer beads and local agricultural products.
The first festival to promote vegetarian and organic food culture was held in 2005 and since then the event has attracted more than 100,000 visitors each year, and even reached 200,000 visitors last year, organizers said.
A special feature this year was the India pavilion, which was co-sponsored by the India-Taipei Association and exhibited Indian cuisine, masala tea, coffee and agricultural products such as bags made of 100 percent natural and recyclable jute, herbal massage oil and even yoga-related products.
Festival organizers said that India has the largest number of organic farmers, as well as the largest vegetarian population, in the world, and that it had been investing in organic agriculture since 2010 and is now the second-largest organic-cotton producing country.
At the EPA’s pavilion, the agency focused on teaching visitors how to recognize the Taiwan Green Mark by displaying products that have been approved by the Green Mark labeling system.
The agency also gave out small gifts to visitors who participated in Green Mark games.
Hsiao Hui-chuan (蕭慧娟), the director-general of the EPA’s department of supervision evaluation and dispute resolution, said the eco-friendly lifestyle that the EPA wants to promote is about “saving resources if they can be saved, using objects if they are still usable and only buying products that are relatively environmental friendly.”