China, Taiwan: Lan Hsiang Hsu

Until now, all the products we consume have been polluting our water resources. It is done in the manufacturers’ interests, and consumers are unaware.

— Lan Hsiang Hsu

While farming in Hsinchu county, Hsu Lan Hsiang found herself in the middle of terrible pollution from a biochemical plant. Together with local villagers, they had the plant close down. Later, they stopped the construction of a golf course. Through organic farming techniques and education, she helps farmers understand the importance of water and the environment. “Only when we get rid of all the pollutants, and people stop endangering the environment, will the earth be saved."

Born in a farmer’s family in 1954, Hsu Lan Hsiang keeps afresh the memories of the villages, ponds and wetlands of her past. In 1971, Hsu left rural life and started to work in a factory. After realizing she could not live her life with pollution and injustice, Hsu moved to Hsinchu County to take up farming, hoping to bring back the sweet memories. To her surprise, she found herself in the middle of pollution from a biochemical plant and serious environmental destruction from a golf course project. In order to rebuild the natural environment, Hsu decided to launch the chapter on environmental protection in her life. In 1992, Hsu united villagers to force the closure of the biochemical plant. She then launched a project to boycott the golf course and successfully prevented its completion. The Housemakers Union and Foundation and other environmental protection organizations backed her. This is the only successful example of environmental activism that stopped a golf course in the development phase in Taiwan. After leading several environmental protection campaigns, Hsu Lan Hsiang returned to the mountains and thought of ways to promote the protection of water resources and the environment. Hsu understood well what difficulties farmers faced, and how Taiwanese politicians had compromised to WTO liberalization. In 1995, Hsu started to run organic fermentation experiments to produce vinegar in Hsinchu’s mountainous areas. With her understanding of the natural environment and with her search for clean water, air and soil, she founded the Wild Lily Farm ("Dawan" Farm) in Taitung’s Tulan in 2002 . Hsu Lan-hsiang’s organic vinegar has drawn public attention to the close ties between health and environment; she helps farmers gain confidence in organic methods and join the ranks of environment protectors.

Wild Lily Farm ("Dawan" Farm)