Thu, May 02, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Tsinghua hosts its first organic farming seminar

By Hung Mei-hsiu and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A can of pickled plums made by “green” farmer A-Chin from plums grown at Tsinghua University’s Mei Yi-chi memorial garden is on display on Monday.

Photo: Hung Mei-hsiu, Taipei Times

Tsinghua University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences on Monday held a seminar on organic farming and gave away pickled plums from the school’s Mei Yi-chi (梅貽琦) memorial plum garden.

Mei, who lived from 1889 to 1962, served as minister of education and as president of the university in China and later in Taiwan.

Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) attended the seminar, where the school gave out some of the 100 jars of pickled plums that it had produced.

The school said it hopes that the plums, along with other locally grown organic products — such as “leopard cat” rice from Miaoli and Murcott (茂谷) orange juice from Taichung — would bring new opportunities for the nation’s farmers.

The plums made quite an impression at the Bamboo Dragonfly Green Market, a market near the university where farmers showcase organic products, the school said.

It was the first time that the university had held such a seminar, giving it special meaning, sociology professor Wang Chun-hsiu (王俊秀) said.

The plums also had special meaning, as Mei was a big proponent of family farmers participating in a green farming economy, he said.

In the past, people were free to pick the plums in the memorial garden when they ripened in March, but this year, the school harvested them and had an organic farmer pickle them, Wang said.

Chen discussed government policies for agriculture and the promotion of organic farming.

Chen said that he was impressed with the green market, paying particular attention to the Miaoli rice and soy bean products that were grown in conditions friendly to leopard cats.

The farms that grew the products give leopard cats free rein over the fields, allowing them to eat what they want and harvesting what remains.

This approach to farming is an excellent example of how humans and protected species can best coexist, Chen said.

One aim of the seminar was to persuade young people to return to rural areas, discuss how farming and entrepreneurship are promoted in various counties and municipalities, and promote the farmers’ markets held in Hsinchu, such as the Bamboo Dragonfly Green Market and the markets in the Sanda (三大) area and Siangshan District (香山), Wang said.

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