A. LE PONT INC. – General Manager/ Luc Chen
“Scallion oil” gives the authentic “Taiwan’s taste” and is one of the most common sauces used in a plethora of Taiwanese dishes. With a spoonful of it, many dishes can whet your appetite. Scallion oil is synonymous with diligence and thriftiness, but such image has been changed through the innovation of LE PONT. This oil has worked its way up to the high-end market since 2007, drawn some connoisseurs—as if they are revisiting this local specialty—and derived greater value.

The speaker invited is general manager of LE PONT, Luc Chen, who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Bordeaux, France, and grew up in a family of professional restaurateurs with the la simplicité ça à du bon (“Simplicity is delicious.”) culinary art espoused by his mother, Jinglian Liu, a famous banquet chef in Kaohsiung. After completing his doctoral studies in the country full of culinary delights, Mr. Chen advised his mother to launch a limited number of 4 handmade canned sauces that use either goose fat or scallion oil as the main ingredient.

This marketing strategy helped to transform their goose meat store in an innovative fashion. In the summer of 2010, LE PONT opened the world’s first Parisian restaurant that boasts Taiwanese cuisines prepared with the la simplicité ça à du bon canon.

Don’t miss out on Mr. Chen’s talk at the International School!

B. Spring Trading Company (春一枝) – Brand Director / Debby Huang

Founded in 2007 as a friendly trading brand on Luye Plateau in Taitung, an southeastern region of Taiwan, Spring Trading Company have helped to address economic and unemployment issues facing the local farmers. Ming-huang Li, the founder of the company, is a traveling enthusiast, having immersed himself in the regional cultures across Taiwan before settling down in Taitung. There, he was shocked to be informed that the local farmers had been put at a chronically economic disadvantage. Although the farmer harvested a glut of fruits on their fertile farmlands, these fruits would be purchased at unfair prices, or if they went too ripe to sell, left rotten and discarded. As a result, for all their hard work the farmers were unable to recover their costs and subsisted on very low incomes.

Fortunately, the underprivileged farmers received the timely help from Spring Trading Company. The company offers ice pops as the featured product, which are made by hand from unmarketable, ripening seasonal fruits bought at reasonable prices from Taitung-based farms. To improve employment in Taitung, it utilizes the local workforce for the production of ice pops and sells the products carrying its trade name on the consumer market.

Debby Huang, brand director of Spring Trading Company and the driving force behind the company’s recent participation in cultural and creative industry, will be sharing her views on agricultural innovation.

C. 200 Akker (倆佰甲)—the Founder/ Wen-chuan Yang
In the U.S., if you want to play in the Major League Baseball, you must play in the Minor League Baseball as a prerequisite. There is also a minor league in Taiwan, where the players hold no baseball but seedlings, hoes and weeders. 200 Akker, a grassroots organization born in Yilan, a northeastern region of Taiwan, promotes on a voluntary basis friendly farming on the Lanyang Plain, helps newly-recruited farmers lease lands, and provides technical and mental support.

The biggest challenge most youths returning to farm have to meet is “locating a land, a house and a barn”. To help new farmers get started, 200 Akker looks for farmlands for rent and lower costs through collaborative harvesting, milling, packaging, and storage. Moreover, the organization applies natural farming to cultivate the lands in an environmentally friendly fashion and work toward the ideals these farmers have always wanted to realize.

The organization paid off with 5 fully-trained farmers the first year it started running. It aims to enrich the entire Lanyang Plain with friendly farming, says Wen-chuan Yang, the founder. Specifically, every year 200 Akker trains 5 farmers to plant 2 morgans (about 4 acres) farming; at this rate, there will be 200 morgans (about 400 acres) 20 years down the line.

Mr. Yang will be sharing his experience with 200 Akker and introducing “farmers’ bookstore”, which has run since the early January of 2014 to sell used books and agricultural produce, and enable social gatherings across the local farming community.

D. The Cangjiu Winery – Owner / Jack Cho
The Cangjiu Winery is Yilan’s first private winery built around the concept of green building. It uses natural spring waters to brew a variety of sweet and non-bitter alcohols, including kumquat wine, plum wine, red and white grape wine, red yeast rice wine and five-grain wine. All wine products are made and sold in the winery. It boasts grape wine series and kumquat wine, whose essential ingredient is kumquat, a typical agricultural produce in Yilan.

The Cangjiu Winery is successor to a leisure farm that made poor financial performances. When Jack Cho and his wife Ji-zhen Wu took over and transformed the farm into the winery, they were looking for the ways to reap more economic benefits of agriculture producing wines and vinegar. The two were then licensed to make alcohols privately and learned wine brewing and tasting in Canada and the U.S. Upon return, they have utilized local agricultural produces in their winery and worked in R&D collaboration with Dayeh University and National Pingtung University of Science and Technology.

Mr. Jhuo will share his experience managing the winery and talk about using advanced technologies to derive the added value of agricultural produces.

E. The Council of Agriculture – Technical Specialist / Li-lan Liao
The Council of Agriculture (COA) is tasked with the administrative affairs involving agriculture, forestry, fishery, animal husbandry, and food in Taiwan. Since the turn of the 21st century, Taiwan's agricultural community have had to deal with not only trade liberation, climate change, and food crisis on a global scale, but increased consumer demands, aging farming populations, deficient economies of scale, decreased agricultural resources, and ongoing debates over industrial and welfare policy on a national scale.

Just as the implementation of agricultural policies has become increasingly challenging, so the COA’s mission has become increasingly important. In recent years, the COA has drawn on innovative thinking to reshape the value of agriculture and create development opportunities for the industry.

A Technical specialist for the COA will introduce the Council’s work on the safety of agricultural produces, the R&D and industrialization of leading industries, and agricultural leisure travel. Thoughts about innovative design for sustainable agriculture will also be shared in the Technology Application in Agriculture Talk.