Redefine green, nature & people

13 Mar 2018 / 10:50 H.

On a tiny island that spans just 36,000 sq km lies more than 200 mountains that stand 3,000m above sea level. The island of Taiwan, formerly known as "Formosa" which means beautiful island in Portuguese, is renown for its great biodiversity. Moreover, its people are deeply involved in nature and the environment.
The best way to fully understand the beauty of Taiwan is to visit Taichung. And this year, the city plays host to the 2018 Taichung World Flora Exposition for the first time. Founded on the "Sound of Blooming"; it is said that the exposition hopes to open every person's heart to re-listen to the message our land is trying to convey and redefine the meaning of GNP, which traditionally refers to Gross National Product.
The event is founded on the idea of presenting the world with a "different" view of GNP; one where it no longer represents cold numbers that add up to product value, instead represents the value of harmonious development of a green ecosystem (Green), natural manufacturing (Nature) and humanitarian livelihood (People).
By setting "Discover GNP: Rediscover Green, Nature and People" as the theme of the event, the GNP is given a brand new definition. The 2018 Taichung World Flora Exposition will run from Nov 3until April 24, 2019, across three venues: Houli, Waipu and Fengyuan.
All three districts are dedicated to ecological conservation, specialty agriculture and environmental enhancement. With "no destruction, improvement only" as the principle of design, green technology is utilised to preserve the land and further demonstrate its amazing vitality.
The exhibition, originally set to run extensively in Houli, was altered in 2014. During that year, Taiwan's endangered species, the leopard cat, was found sporadically in this area. Hence, Taichung City mayor Lin Chia-Iung decided to protect the leopard cat's habitat and make it top priority. The exhibition area in Houli was also substantially reduced in size and supplemented with two additional venues, Waipu and Fengyuan.
This determination to conserve the ecosystem won international acclaim to which in 2015, the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) sent a letter to the Taichung City government to change the title of the expo from "Taichung International Flora Exposition" to its current title, to emphasise and share with the world, its resolution on safeguarding the habitat of wild animals.
The Houli Horse Ranch & Forest Park Area takes pride in its long and established history of horse riding and cycling culture; hence Taichung City government renovated the century-old stables and transformed it into an equestrian arena that meets international standards. Additionally, the precious old trees and forests are preserved and presented as Flora Horse Land and Forest Garden.
After the expo, this place will be open to hold all sorts of equestrian and show jumping competitions so as to retain the unique historical culture of Houli's horse stables and help regain its past glory.
Yongfong enjoys unique geographical and climatic advantages, producing rich harvests every season to offer fruits such as oranges (pong gam), mandarins, peaches, lychees, grafted pears, dragon fruit and grapes. Its iconic species of flora include the well-known dancing doll orchid and flaming lily, which are exported to all over the world.
The Waipu Yongfong Park Area will be developed using the agristartup 4.0 technology. It will offer opportunities for smart agriculture, answering the call of the expo to generate specialised agriculture that underlines safe food, organic and toxin-free produce. This also fulfils the responsibility in protecting the environment, creating zero-pollution and conveying lifestyles that promote slow food and slow living.
After the expo, this place will be transformed into an international agri-startup park, which embodies five agriculture values: farmers, agriculture, farms, produce and produce processing.
Gourd Bank or Huludun waterway was an irrigation canal. With urban development, emigration and structural additions after the pollution of its waters, the waterway ceases to exist and is unfamiliar to local residents.
Today, the city government uplifts the structures of the waterways, making Fengyuan a "Floral Metropolis by the Water". The blueprints of the Fengyuan Huludun Park boasts a life experience park, complemented with music, reading, eating, exercise and living as its themes. It also combines local art and paintings, forestry and baking industries, simply to create a sustainable ecological park by the riverbank. After the expo, a pastry museum becomes of it.
For Taichung, this expo is by no means merely a one-time event that exits like spent firework. It is a people-centred journey and opportunity which takes into consideration what people need and what it can offer the world.
It is a platform to showcase to the world the fruits and flowers of Taiwanese farmers, the skilful designs of architects, the aesthetic perspectives of horticulturists, and the warmth of the Taiwanese people.
While embracing the diversity of the world, the inclusiveness of Taichung is demonstrated for Taichung to see the world, in return, the world to discover and recognise Taichung and Taiwan.
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