Taiwan’s Incredible Edible Revolution
In a country where tainted food scandals are all-too-common and the government turns a blind eye, a band of hardy housewives resolves to feed their families on their own terms.
Illustrations by Ellen Lindner
Rei-ying Fang is driving to Maoli, the countryside beyond the industrial haze of Taichung City, Taiwan. A farmer, Hong Xiang, has for the last dozen years worked with Taiwan’s largest consumer food co-op, the Homemakers Union Consumer Co-op, supplying it with organic radishes, sweet potatoes and watermelon. Xiang has injured her hand and needs help gathering the daikon radishes in her field. Fang, a woman in her mid-forties with a short, stylish haircut and a generous laugh, is in charge of membership at the Homemakers Union. She has put posters all over the co-op stores in Taichung City, trying to urge as many people as possible to come help pull radishes out of the earth.
It is February 2014, and the air is cool in Taiwan, though the sun will be bright over the fields; we are wearing layers. Fang drives out of the blanched, concrete and aluminum sprawl of Taichung, down the freeways that pass through Maoli’s hills, pale, straw-like grass waving alongside…
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