Xiahe, who has been promoting natural agriculture in the tribal areas of Jianshi Township for over a decade, is a consultant for MSM's indigenous industry development. He has been advocating food and agriculture education nationwide and utilizing industrial development to attract indigenous youth back to their hometowns. Xiahe mentioned that this site preserves the ancestral teachings of the Atayal culture and agricultural knowledge. It stands as a versatile natural classroom, combining ecological tours to promote understanding. It also guides local farmers in the tribe to create job opportunities and employs Atayal knowledge and techniques for non-toxic, healthy, and sustainable natural farming. This effort brings lasting value to both the land and cultural industries.
Yabu, a 37-year-old member of the Atayal, was nurtured by the Trinity Food and Agriculture Cultural Education Center. His mother, Meting, had previously undergone vocational training in babysitting at the Vocational Training Center, Hualien when she was young. The establishment of the Vocational Training Center aimed to equip indigenous youth with practical skills, fostering self-reliance and helping them break free from poverty. A few years ago, Yabu's mother also became actively involved in elderly care services within the tribe, becoming a significant support for the tribal elders.
In the earlier years, the tribe primarily engaged in cultivating shiitake mushrooms from felled logs, leading to the depletion of numerous tree species and causing ecological damage. Yabu said, "We can't continue cutting down trees. The issue of soil erosion is severe now, and we're witnessing nature's backlash." Due to his prolonged journeys through the mountains to collect medicinal herbs, his knees suffered severe wear and tear. In the past two years, he underwent knee surgery and now relies on crutches to walk. Amidst a lack of income, learning about the opportunity of cultivating shiitake mushrooms in space-saving bags enabled him to recognize the significant advantages they offer, including reduced labor and material consumption and efficient space utilization. Taking over his father's mushroom business, Yabu utilizes the fermentation principles of the Atayal tribe to cultivate mushrooms and is dedicated to passing down the cultural heritage of his tribe.
As the first model of a food and agricultural education field under MSM in Taiwan, the "Trinity Food and Agriculture Cultural Education Center" will replicate more centers in areas such as Taoyuan, Miaoli, Nantou, Taitung, Pingtung, and Orchid Island. It will also empower indigenous youth through the "Learning While Traveling" activity, generating income through guided tours, accommodations, transportation services, etc. MSM is constructing tribal industry models, encouraging the learning of traditional cultural practices while walking, and achieving the goal of the "Common Good”.