Happiness Eco-friendly Farming Tour

by Ivy Chen

In Taiwan, as in many developed countries, an increasing focus on improving health
and lifestyle has led to an increase in eco-friendly, organic farming. The Happiness
Farm (幸福農莊) on the banks of Datun Creek (大屯溪) in Yangmingshan, is a good
example of this type of farm. Managed by Dr. Li and his wife since 2001, Dr. Li
follows the SNN (Sumei Natural Agriculture Network (秀明自然農法) from Japan, which was founded about seventy years ago. The concept of SNN stresses three important elements: clean soil, clean water and sun. Pesticide, artificial and organic fertilizers are not allowed in this method of farming. The only fertilizer used comes from composted weeds and leaves collected from the farm. The SNN method of farming subscribes to the theory that the soil is already equipped with the power to nurture itself. Seeds are collected and re-planted in the same field in order to ensure and strengthen the line of genetic purity. Weeds, insects and plants co-exist in the same, eco-balanced environment.
The Happiness Farm is only fifty minutes’ drive from Tianmu. Dr. Li Xuying (黎旭瀛 an optometrist by profession) has  explained to me why he chose to follow this method of farming. His daughter was diagnosed with Atopic dermatitis while she was very little, and as he was familiar with the side effects of medicines he opted instead for a more natural cure. His family learned and began practicing natural agriculture farming, and within six months of eating food from their farm, his daughter was cured of her condition. The family continues to farm in this natural way and have since begun sharing their knowledge with other farmers as well.

I was attracted to this method of natural agriculture when I joined a farming tour at
Happiness Farm a few years ago, and am still eager to introduce the farm to other people who care about what they eat and where their food comes from.  We will walk through the fields beside the creek and lean about the different herbs and plants growing around us: Chinese toon (香椿 xiang chun), okra, day lily and so forth.

Everyone will get a chance to do some farm work, either picking vegetables fresh out of the fields, or assisting in planting or other harvesting. After that, we will enjoy a wonderful and delicious vegetarian lunch. Please join us! Register today.

Since 2004, Happiness Farm has initiated an education program, introducing the
concept of natural agriculture, recognition of plants, and other activities. They also
train other farmers in this method and run food safety courses.
For more information on Happiness Farm visit: http://www.shumeifarm.tw/main/
Shumai Natural Agriculture:
台北縣淡水鎮屯山里番社前11號 Tel: 2801-5059, 2872-1152

Adapted from an October 2010 article in Centered on Taipei