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宜蘭縣

Young People Returning Home: Fresh Troops of Leisure Agriculture

“Pumpkin Farm” located in Zhuangwei Township, Yilan features pumpkins of more than 300 varieties and builds the canopies as several tunnels, so the pumpkins, snake gourds, bottle gourds, bitter gourds, and sponge gourds all climb up to them. Walking into the pumpkin tunnel and looking up at the dangling gourds is usually amazing, and this becomes the Facebook check-in scenic spot where tourists like taking photos.

Brothers Working Together: Building the New Generation of Pumpkin Empire
The farm used to be run by the 1st generation gourd farmer, Wang-shan LIN. Zhi-jie LIN, loves his parents and saw them growing older and older and still undertaking the cumbersome agricultural work, so he would return home to take care of the farm on holidays when studying in HsinChu. He picked up the gourd growing skills gradually; however, growing pumpkins doesn’t make big money, and they were still probing for the business model for the transformation to leisure farm. Eventually the business was in distress. Seeing the decade-old pumpkin empire built up by his father about to collapse, an aerospace engineering major, he gave up the opportunity serving in the airline company after mustering out of the military service, and he decided to return home and took over the family business.
Young People Returning Home: Fresh Troops of Leisure Agriculture
Young People Returning Home: Fresh Troops of Leisure Agriculture
Photo: Several typhoons continuously hit Yilan area this summer; Zhijie LIN pointed at the torn canopies and left pumpkins

Zhi-jie LIN frankly said, “It didn’t go well in the first couple years after taking over the pumpkin business. Typhoons and floods are least wanted in the harvest season, because they could cause a lot of damages and loss.” Luckily, he continued to enhance his professionalism by reading books, having instructions from Agricultural Research and Extension Station, attending The Farmers’ Academy and getting certification, and improve cultivation skills and equipment designs; gradually the farm operation was making progress and meanwhile, his elder brother, Zhi-kai LIN, working in the food company in Taipei for years with food science background, chose to return home and work together with him. <br/><br/>Zhi-kai LIN said, “In the beginning, our father disapproved of our return because he didn’t want us to give up the great future and roll up sleeves to do such hard work”. Wang-shan LIN quickly realized young people have different thinking and practices and decided to let them have a try. The brothers think the point of running a leisure farm is about service and experience, basically how to make tourists feel “interesting, delicious, and special”.

Young People Returning Home: Fresh Troops of Leisure Agriculture
Photo:Zhi-kai LIN and Zhi-jie LIN together run the pumpkin empire built up by their father.
The brothers divide the work: Zhi-jie LIN is in charge of filed cultivation, guided tours, and food-agricultural education promotion in the neighboring schools while Zhi-kai LIN utilizes his specialty in food science and is dedicated to developing pumpkin-related products (such as pumpkin milk, pumpkin soy milk and pumpkin powder, etc) and DIY experience activities (for example, making pumpkin and vegetable rolls and color painting the pumpkin candlestick). They also take advantage of local resources in Zhuangwei Township, and integrate the local agricultural products with their pumpkins for special pumpkin dishes, among them, pumpkin pizzas, pumpkin steamed eggs and bomb pumpkins are popular.
Young People Returning Home: Fresh Troops of Leisure Agriculture
Young People Returning Home: Fresh Troops of Leisure Agriculture
Photo: Zhi-kai LIN talked about his pumpkin R&D experiences

“Pumpkin is the food material for the Halloween occasion so we throw Halloween parties in the farm and invite disadvantaged groups in Yilan to have fun together.” Zhi-kai LIN makes good use of the festive marketing and keeps sharing with the community, caring for the underprivileged in mind so to develop towards a social business. Pumpkin Farm not only grows gourds and pumpkins for food and appreciation use, but also focuses on local production and marketing, experiences and diversified services, so tourists can eat healthy and delicious food while the added value of the agricultural produce is enhanced. Hopefully to attract more tourists in the future and create 6-level industries belongs to Zhuangwei Township, and together with partners to build up a new generation of the pumpkin empire.

Young People Returning Home: Bringing Leisure Industry New Atmosphere

In October 2016, as two strong typhoons already blew away farmers’ hard work and one more hovering around the ocean to make a move, in the far away, a young guy rushed in to harvest the agricultural produce and sent the Sansing Green Onion to its exclusive big bathtub and carefully cleaned the dirt and mud on the bottom white part. This young man is the director of “Dian Song Pi Agri Leisure Area”, Hong-chang LEE. <br/><br/>It may be hard to imagine he used to run a famous pub in Taipei and did business in mainland China for years. Dinner parties and alcohol are the depiction of his life then. Hong-chang LEE said laughingly, “Being a father is the watershed of his life.” He got to rethink his life direction and lifestyle.

Young People Returning Home: Fresh Troops of Leisure Agriculture
Photo: Current Director of Dian Song Pi Agri Leisure Area, Hong-chang LEE talked about his experiences returning home.
Hong-chang LEE’s uncle, current chairman of committee of “Dian Song Pi Agri Leisure Area” Jian-hong LEE, encouraged him to return home for a new start so that he could have more time with family by ridding the past through making a change. The HOME Jian-hong LEE was talking about is Dian Song Pi, which is at the front part of Lanyang plain with unsophisticated farm village scenery and the pure water, clean air and fertile soil are good for agricultural produce. More than 2 years ago, Hong-chang LEE really went back to Sanshing Township, Yilan to be a farmer and started his new life working along with sunrise and resting with sunset. He also joined the community as a member and took the director role to participate in the public affairs, which made him better understand the leisure farm resources and environment in Sanshing area.
Young People Returning Home: Fresh Troops of Leisure Agriculture
Young People Returning Home: Fresh Troops of Leisure Agriculture
Photo: Using tools to dig holes in the earth and plant the onion seeding. This posture really takes a toll on the waist.
“Because I don’t have enough experiences, I ran across a lot of frustration in the beginning as a farmer.” Hong-chang LEE learned how to grow Sanshing Green Onion from the onion farmers, observe local farm operation and tour planning, and he found his uncle’s “Onion Experience Farm” offers SOP services and programs, including putting on the rubber shoes, going to the onion farm and wearing the bamboo hat, pulling the green onions, cleaning the green onions, and green onion pancake DIY, which attract many foreign tourists from Hong Kong, etc and they make “Pulling Green Onion” a must in their schedule.
Young People Returning Home: Fresh Troops of Leisure Agriculture
Young People Returning Home: Fresh Troops of Leisure Agriculture
Photo: Solo travelers from Hong Kong were experiencing the fun of pulling green onion on the day of interview.

Sanshing township accounts for 90% of the elaeagnus angustifolia L. oleaster Russian-olive production in Taiwan, therefore, has a certain exposure in the market. In order to differentiate the competition, Hong-chang LEE grows the elaeagnus angustifolia L. oleaster Russian-olive asides from Sanshing Green Onion, the pronunciation of elaeagnus angustifolia L. oleaster Russian-olive sounds like money in Taiwanese; therefore, it is a symbol to gather wealth and profits. The production season is from December to February so that it is a popular flower during Chinese lunar newyear. He found family consumers prefer small-sized potted plants for appreciation so that the trees cannot grow too tall while hotels and foreign customers prefer big plants to show the grandiose and rich feeling; hence, the elaeagnus angustifolia L. oleaster Russian-olive has two different heights in his field to cater to market demands. <br/><br/>In addition, he made over the old house idling next to the Onion Experience Farm to set up the “House of elaeagnus angustifolia L. oleaster Russian-olive” and offers the seasonal activities such as “Picking elaeagnus angustifolia L. oleaster Russian-olive”, guided tours in the elaeagnus angustifolia L. oleaster Russian-olive field and bonsai DIY to promote the local industrial development of “elaeagnus angustifolia L. oleaster Russian-olive”, one of the 4 treasures in Sanshing”, and this youth- returning -home revolution is still under way.