Visiting Taiwan to learn about food

How does an island the size of Vancouver Island, with the population that is perhaps equal to that of Canada, feed itself?

Editor, The Times:

Traveling to see how an island the size of Vancouver Island, with the population that is perhaps equal to that of Canada, feeds itself has been quite the experience.

I’ve just returned from the island of Taiwan. Having been invited by author and soilless gardening expert Marseene Mainly to visit the island before her return to Canada, I didn’t have much time to consider anything except that I felt I needed to go. My first priority there was to research food production, then recycling, relationship building and tourism.

I am still relying on my friends. Anyone who thinks this effort is worthwhile to help me subsidize this trip – please and thank you, every little bit helps.

What is food? Healthy food is what we need to survive: clean air, clean water and clean nutritious food.

Clear air? In Taiwan the individual people were trying to figure it out. Those using the subways kept their personal germs captive and did not take on other people’s germs. They wore masks.

I learned that if people even suspect that they have a cold or cough – they wear a mask. They are concerned for each other and themselves, even to the point of just lifting up their mask to insert the food at meal times, rather than risk spreading a germ. This seemed to be working, as I traveled via these systems with thousands of people each day, and heard barely a cough or a sneeze.

Clean water? I visited Eco Parks built in neighborhoods where Nature was replicated to provide people with the knowledge of how intertwined all life needs to be to take that water which we humans pollute and make it useable for the next life to drink, or – in the case of amphibians and fish – live in.

Restaurant gray water? I visited farms that had setups with re-claiming systems, consisting of an intricate set of actively reclaiming tanks – starting with the grayest of water, ending with tanks of fish with plants growing on top. And water supplying the irrigation for the gardens that produced the organic produce served within.

Clean food? From restaurants that grew their salad greens (visible from the table of the customer) to farms that produced aquaponically-grown vegetables such as kohlrabi and beets to strawberries and tomatoes– all is possible.

If you to your group or business want a guest speaker, please let me know. I’ve got stories on foodie projects, for sure; but also on the healing benefits of volunteerism, tourism tips to build your businesses, recycling efforts that reach out to victims of disaster, and the building of a foundation that is changing the world. I will gladly share these gleanings for your information and delight.

Cheryl Thomas


Clearwater, B.C.