A festive celebration was held yesterday to mark the reopening of an organic farmers’ market on the campus of National Chung Hsing University (NCHU) in Taichung City, central Taiwan, after a week-long break for the Lunar New Year holiday. Taichung Mayor Jason Hu, joined the festivities and visited stands displaying various fresh, organic and locally-grown vegetables and fruits.
“Promoting organic agriculture can help people eat in a healthy and safe manner, ” Hu said in recognizing NCHU’s contributions to integrating agricultural production and marketing and opening its campus to local communities.
The NCHU Organic Farmers’ Market was formed under the sponsorship of the NCHU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and formally opened last Sept. 8.
Every Saturday since then, from 8 a.m. to noon, farmers from neighboring areas and even eastern Taiwan have sold their produce at the market while happily answering questions about their crops.
All farmers selling their produce in the market have passed strict scientific screening reviews by the university before obtaining NCHU certification as growers of organic produce, a requirement to set up a booth in the market.
NCHU Department of Bio Industry Extension and Management Director Tung Shin-jui, who guided the creation of the market, said most of the produce sold there comes from organic farmers based in central Taiwan. He believed this new marketing channel would facilitate sales of perishable and nontoxic agricultural products from small local farms that might otherwise have trouble finding commercial opportunities.
In the market, farmers can directly explain to consumers how they grow and care for their crops, establishing bonds of mutual trust between the two sides, Tung said.
Mayor Hu said that in hosting the farmers’ market, the university was no longer an “ivory tower” because students were able to learn something practical related to real life.
He also promise to push the city government to do more to boost development of the country’s organic agricultural sector.