Published on March 29, 2014
Hackers who look for microbes: Yi-tze Lee 2014 ＴＷＳＴＳ , ＮＣＴＵ Transplanting agronomy, farmers’ networking, and self-help organic movement in Taiwan
Movement of Open-Source Activities on the LandMovement of Open-Source Activities on the Land This paper aims to delineate the dynamics of transplanting agronomies through NGOs of Taiwan, and the self-help process of forming network among the newly settled farmers from urban area. Based on the idea promoted by the group leaders of such networking: “microbes hunting is a process of hacking,” farmers searching for alternative agronomies in the networking consider that self-help agronomy a “movement of open-source activities on the land.” Farmers’ networking based on this movement becomes an exciting front in the array of organic farming. The discussion from this microbe-hunting group sheds light on the way of transplanting technology, a new networking of knowledge sharing, and the meaning of hacker in the practice of agriculture and environmental awareness.
“Chien-Jia” community- supported farm, Hsin-Chu “Talampo” farm, Hualien
Farmers with hacker spiritFarmers with hacker spirit Chien-Jia, Hsin-Chu: A suburban community with relocated indigenous workers and engineer working on agrarian experiments. Talampo, Hualien: indigenous farmers planting daylily on their territory claimed by the government as state property
Agriculture in TaiwanAgriculture in Taiwan In 2002, Taiwan ranked the 2nd largest amount in petrochemicals consumption per hectare in agricultural sector of the world (The first position was Costa Rica). Up to the joining of WTO in 2001, the agricultural practice in Taiwan has been much afflicted by the fact of imported goods and problematic chemical application for production efficacy. Systematic agricultural knowledge is mostly hold by governmental agricultural extension. Organic farming was introduced to Taiwan in the early 1980s. The first few professionals were inspired by reflective communal view of Japanese “teikei” （提 攜） agronomy. Since 2005, interaction with environmental NGOs also results in gradual awareness of agricultural practice should be combined with environmental self- sustainability. Most important group is the KKF (Khao-Kwan Foundation) from Thailand.
New agricultural movement in TaiwanNew agricultural movement in Taiwan
Microbe hunting in urban CSAMicrobe hunting in urban CSA Chien-Jia, led by an engineer who takes farming a new hacking and education process. Contact and networking with Thai agricultural NGO, KKF. KKF was funded in 1984, for the sake of reacting to the overuse of petrochemicals, and promote farmers’ self-sustainability. Microbe hunting and fertilizer culture is the most important part of the agronomy.
Chien-Jia: The matrix of hackingChien-Jia: The matrix of hacking xn +yn =zn “Fermat’s Principle for the land.” “Sharing” is the meaning of open-source. Therefore the spirit of community-supported agriculture. Bring the relocated/unemployed urban indigenous people to the activities they are familiar with. Getting the agronomic matrix out of seed-recognition and microbe fermentation.
KKF activities in TaiwanKKF activities in Taiwan KKF was first introduced to Taiwan by the connection of Buddhist and environmental activists. Since 2007, KKF leader Daycha constantly visit Taiwan and exchange his experiences of making fluid fertilizers, selecting seeds, and identifying fungi with local farmers. KKF in Taiwan has become a hub for conventional and new farmers. However NGOs mostly connect to Han farmers, leaving indigenous farmer finding their own help.
Becoming Organic:Becoming Organic: Talampo daylily landscapeTalampo daylily landscape
Talampo: Self-help agronomy andTalampo: Self-help agronomy and affective organic transitionaffective organic transition Talampo: the smallest indigenous Amis community in Taiwan, planting daylily as cash crop from post war. Dropping price of cash crop and dream in the organic valley. Two engaged and affective community leaders as “hacker” in their fields. Help from amateur agronomist and self-help microbe hunting.
Talampo: Indigenous knowledgeTalampo: Indigenous knowledge making new sharing networkmaking new sharing network Standardization of organic practice, as “bible study” Self-made bio-formula, for wood vinegar, honey and ash mixed fertilizers, and microbes for mushroom cultures in the daylily farm and low altitude forest. Land title to be reclaimed by the recognition of land usage of the elders. Docile organic farmers vs. certification agents
Unintended Shadow grown andUnintended Shadow grown and hacking via empowering tourismhacking via empowering tourism Land title and organic farming bundle debunked via empowering tourism Visitors learn and blogging about the issue of land title dispute between indigenous community and the government. Unintended shadow grown daylily as symbol of environmentality
Reciprocity, Assemblage andReciprocity, Assemblage and Biocapital for hacking networkBiocapital for hacking network Three aspects in the two cases: Reciprocal relationship within governmental and NGO networking Technical assemblages from the transnational to the local, where new networking starts Ecological knowledge as basis of biocapital and affect, connecting innovation and property.
KKF’s popularity among new farmersKKF’s popularity among new farmers Comparing to other “alternative” agronomies, KKF’s fertilizer and microbe culture is more visible among the lab-like environment. Taiwan’s farmers are familiar with the leader- initiated and self-modifying model of knowledge transplantation. Networks of farmers are entangled with folk religion as well as community revitalization activities. Microbe is a boundary object for negotiating (intellectual) property.
Affect and Biocapital:Affect and Biocapital: The Embodiment of Hacker’s LaborThe Embodiment of Hacker’s Labor “Projected alienation in social reproduction” as the making of new agricultural movement Affect is attached to the deployment and consumption of technological initiatives, and biological properties, including the use of body affordance and senses. Agrarian hackers not only impose their affective evaluations and propositions in the process of farming; they also transform the hierarchy and procedure of land-based knowledge. Biocapital, in this regard, is the projected property farmers have managed in their perception of landscape and appropriation of new skills. At the same time, embodied experiences as well as knowledge on local species, both of crops and microbes in the agricultural environment, constitute a material base for affective appreciation over the landscape as a whole. This is a process of projecting alienation from one’s own physical activities onto the realm of environmental and agricultural knowledge.
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