Chinese Name: 又禎有限公司(田野勤學)
Year of Establishment: 2016
Location: Changhua, Taiwan
Did You Know?
Soybean Farm has grown from domestic production of soybeans to actively promote environmentally friendly agriculture, diet, food, agricultural education, and interdisciplinary community cooperative actions. In 2021, the "Baodou Youth Village of the Future Project (寶斗青村未來式)" was launched with a subsidy from the National Development Council, becoming one of the first local creative youth training stations in the nation. This project is not only a hub for connecting local communities, but also a platform for young people to put into practice their own "micro-proposals."
Soybean Farm was co-founded by Chen Guang-jing (陳光鏡) and Cai Hui-xuan (蔡慧璇) in 2016. They vigorously promote and implement farming that is nature-friendly, producing and providing natural grains (yellow and black soybeans), as well as constructing a friendly soybean cuisine map. Starting from soybeans, they have expanded into processed products that can help spread knowledge about the ecological chain of Taiwan's domestic soybean industry. At the same time, by investing in the integration of public farming, food, and education, they provide eco-friendly farming, classically crafted cuisine, and sustainable living. The planning and implementation of their hands-on activities further help the public understand the beauty of real food, cherish the value of the people and things around them, and realize a more complete green food supply.
Since 2017, Soybean Farm have also taken the initiative to visit schools to promote food and agricultural education. The "Domestic Soybean Golden Trilogy (國產大豆黃金三部曲)" lesson plan designed by Chen has been well received, with some eight to ten schools putting it into practice. In the process of all of this, Chen was further inspired to establish a field school of his own. In 2020, Soybean Farm launched "Field School: A Plan for an Eco-Food and Agriculture Base (野學校：一個生態食農教育基地計畫)." The main thrust of the curriculum the three aspects of ecology, diet, and aesthetics, and it covers lessons on hand-made soy-based food, ecological observation, agricultural operations, and more.
Soybean Farm has held a number of lectures and hands-on activities, and the students who have participated would often ask Chen about sightseeing spots around Baodou after lessons. This got him started reflecting on the area and the land, and so he and his team set about carrying out a number of field investigations, producing the "Baodou Old Times Map (寶斗舊時光地圖)," which outlines several important locations in the area. On top of this, they also established the "Light of Baodou Youth Forum (寶斗之光青年論壇)" and "Baodou Lecture and Reading Club (寶斗開講讀書會)." The forum brought together young people from Baodou and surrounding townships to engage in a variety of work, helping them to get to know and communicate with each other and develop an atmosphere of collaboration and coexistence. The reading club, meanwhile, aims to strengthen young people’s awareness of local stories and issues, as well as facilitating the exchange and sharing of knowledge.
From 2018 to 2020, Chen put subsidy funds from the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau's "Youth Returning to Rural Innovation Program (青年回流農村創新計劃)" and "Rural Community Enterprise Management Counseling (農村社區企業經營輔導)" projects to use to promote the inter-disciplinary courses and community assistance focused on the eco-friendly cultivation of soybeans, food, and agricultural science.
To facilitate closer cooperation with local partners, Chen applied for a subsidy from the National Development Council's "Local Creative Youth Training Workstations (地方創生青年培力工作站)" project, launching the Beidou Youth Village of the Future Project and becoming one of the first local creative youth training stations in the nation. The work team held seminars on "Reasons to Go Home (回家的理由)" and "On the Road to Branding (我在品牌的路上)," inviting local youths to share the joys and agonies of returning to their hometowns after time in the big city. "Reasons to Go Home" asked the young people their motivations for returning home and then discussed "brands" and how branding applies to their personal lives. Chen believes that branding is a necessity not only in business, but also in your own life—after all, what is living with your own style if not a personal branding exercise? Another theme of a seminar "Spatial Intermediary," meanwhile, takes the Japanese-style Hokuto (Beidou) County Governor's House as an example for discussing how the "boundaries" between the inside and outside of architectural spaces can spark new ideas, and building this concept, how young people returning home can play the role of "boundary" between the world and their hometown.
In the process of communicating with the youth, Chen was further inspired to open a store. With the support of the Changhua County Government and Cultural Affairs Bureau, he established the "Baodou Youth Village Experimental Store (寶斗青村實驗商鋪)," making their workstation a stage on which young people’s "micro-proposals" can take form. Through action, Baodou Youth Village of the Future Project is helping local youth share what makes Changhua distinctive while also building connections between local communities.
(Photo credit: Soybean Farm, Baodou Youth Village of the Future Project, Field School)