The Dilemmas of Peach Blossom Valley: The Resurgence of Rice-Terrace Farming in Gongliao District, Taiwan
This chapter explores the efforts of a group of intellectuals and farmers in Gongliao district of Taiwan to revive the rice-terrace farms as a challenge to the dominant yet monolithic market system. By tracing history of agricultural development in Gongliao, this chapter suggests that being small and forgotten enabled the village to preserve traditional farming skills that have been lost elsewhere. The elder farmers’ desire to maintain local habitus resonated with urban intellectuals’ efforts to escape from market-dominated urban life. They developed a cooperative to promote mutuality and reciprocity. Yet their efforts and the alternative values embedded in their process of production and exchange subjected the locals to a dilemma between the older generations’ pursuit of social recognition and the younger generations’ need for financial security.