Transformation for Greater Value; Longan Becomes into the Local Star
Power as a Team; Wisdoms Help Men Conquer Fate
Situated in Zhongliao Nantou, the Long-Yan-Lin Community was one of the areas that were hit the hardest in the 921 earthquake. During the earliest relief activities, almost all the relief efforts were allocated to the southern Zhongliao, but people living in the Long-Yan-Lin Community in northern Zhongliao realized that they had to organize their community to find supports from the outside world. Therefore, the Long-Yan-Lin Community consisting of seven villages in northern Zhongliao including Yonghe, Yongfang, Shuangwen, Longyan, Long’an, Qingshui and Neicheng formed a community organization to help local people to rebuild their homeland after the disaster. As the mission was completed, the Northern Zhongliao Rebuilding Station was then transformed into the “Zhongliao Long-Yan-Lin Welfare Association” (the “Association”) that continues to carry on offering services to local people.
The Association was established to satisfy community members’ needs for life.For the Long-Yan-Lin Community, the meal delivery service had several significant meaning.First, the delivery facilitated the participation of community members and brings everybody together.It gave many people a common mission and from there people started to become a cohesive group.But to keep the meal delivery service going, there was a big practical challenge to tackle – budgets.
Transformation of Traditional Agriculture for a Giant Leap in Industrial Development
Ever since the 921 earthquake, most of community people have been proactively cooperated with different kinds of government programs or construction projects such as the establishment of pocket parks, croquet fields, recreational farms, medicinal botanic gardens, ecological engineering demonstration areas, and so on. The community was already developed into a leisure park with local features. The association then was hoping to facilitate agricultural transformation by promoting local produce. Longan the fruit is the local specialty. For this, it was then selected in 2001 as the Association started promoting oven-dried longan made using the traditional way. It was an instant hit when marketed.So in 2002, the Long-Yan-Lin Community installed old-style Chinese cooking stoves and started to hold Longan Festival the same year. As soon as the oven-dried longan was launched in the market, the price of dried longan grew exponentially. This not only increased the economic value of longan and improved local farmers’ livelihood, but also helped the Association secure great profits, which were then used to promote the public welfare. On the other hand, the baking and selling processes of longan created numerous potential employment opportunities, and the years of Longan Festival also served as training for local people to build up their marketing concepts and foster their promotion skills.
At the beginning, the Association focused on the transformation of agricultural products. However, the result was not impressive, and it then designed one-day and two-day trips based on various themes for different target groups. Examples are, the village cycling tour, croquet games, eco-tours and DIY activities for making agricultural products. All of these activities give tourists an opportunity of experiencing the beauty of agriculture. On the other hand, the food specialty is also one of the local characteristics, including the “Fried Mix of Onion, Banana and White Mugwort”, “Stir-Fry Grass Sprout” and “Ghost Plant with Honey”. As there are more than twenty specialties in the region, it is enough to offer group meals or buffet for individual tourists.
Upholding the concept of connecting resources, uniting the community, promoting the economy, and sharing welfares and benefits, the Long-Yan-Lin Community has received several awards including the “Excellent Organization of Multiple Employment Promotion Program” issued by the Council of Labor Affairs and “Taiwan No. 1 Award of Community Enterprise” issued by the Community Empowering Society, R.O.C. (CSROC); Mr. Liao Chen Yi, who was the founding director of the Association and the current secretary general, also received awards including the “Distinguished Contribution for Post-Disaster Reconstruction”, “Excellence Award for Respecting the Aged” and some other social welfare excellence awards. More amazingly, he created an impressive record of delivering 1 million lunch boxes in seven years! The Long-Yan-Lin is growing continuously and, by integrating all the resources, is heading towards its target of having a sustainable development.
Apart from selling agro-processing products such as longan, plum, lychee and banana, the Association also offers local food specialties, community guided tours and other services and resources, which makes it a financially independent institution. Also for employee empowerment, the Association also offers employees computer trainings and external training courses in order to enhance their professional capability and vocational skills.
For environmental friendliness, the Association guarantees the incomes of local farmers by offering prices 10-20% higher than the wholesaling price; it also cooperates with local tourism and brings in local resources to promote tourism while establishing a good feedback mechanism. Furthermore, to propagate its concepts and stories in order to promote and extend its services and products, the association also participates in exhibitions proactively and focuses on online shopping websites and enterprises as its consumer target; unlike traditional promotion strategies in the market, the Association has adopted quite creative methods to promote its agricultural products.
Aiming at combining tourism and social services, the Association will integrate the Association’s resources and build up a welfare brand in order to create a sharing community that helps and cooperates with each other and takes care of the aged and young children; and head towards a prosperous, auspicious, peaceful and happy prospect with all of its efforts.