NPUST and Forestry Bureau Host “Sotoyama Market” in Forest Park

The Pingtung Forestry Bureau and National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST) jointly organized the “Linhousilin Forest Park Sotoyama Market”, which was open from the Mid-Autumn Festival weekend (9/9~10) straight through to Sept 25th. On the first day, the director of the Pingtung District Forest Management Office, Rui-Fen Yang, and the NPUST Vice-President, Chao-Lin Tuan, presided over the opening ceremony. Around 50 stalls were set up at the market by “Natural and Cultural Ecology Scenic Area” vendors from the Shenshan Tribe and Ali Tribe, small eco-farm operators, and vendors who specialize in cuisine or handmade crafts. Visitors to the market could also register on-site to participate in DIY “under forest economic activities”, such as beeswax cloth plant dyeing and handmade candle and handmade utensil making.

Pingtung District Forest Management Office director Rui-Fen Yang said, “every year the Linhousilin Forest Park receives more than 400 thousand visitors. We hope that through the market we can promote the symbiosis of people and nature, encourage eco-friendly economic activity, spread Sotoyama principles and make vibrant use of the park area. In order to spread awareness of good local products and foods, venders who apply these principles to their products were invited to be part of this activity”.

National Pingtung University of Science and Technology Vice-President Chao-Lin Tuan pointed out that “in the past, forests were cut down for wood; but now people are bringing into play a diversity of values from the forest – the success of the Linhousilin Forest Park is representative of this. And it has become a place where many people choose to go on their days off”.

University representatives and a number of related government officials were present for the opening, bringing attention to the cause and offering related guidance. A Shenshan Community music and dance troupe, ASYAMIA!, and a young singer from the Talamakua Tribe, Ba Junjie, gave live performances. As did several street performers, including the Tiger Opera troupe, “Mr. Catcard”, and a group of Tsugaru-jamisen musicians, the “Taiwan Miyabi Shamisen”. The music and dancing attracted both young and old and added to the lively market atmosphere.

For the duration of the market, every afternoon between 2:00 and 3:00, DIY activities were held to introduce “under forest” economic products such as beeswax dyeing cloth, Wutai honey utensils, and handmade candles. The activities were designed to raise awareness of Under Forest Economies and help the public gain a better understanding of eco-friendly production. For the full duration of the event, the Pingtung Forest Management Office and NPUST welcomed the public to come and experience food, fun, music and craftsmanship—all while taking in the natural environment and experiencing the eco-friendly approaches to production, first hand.