Nuturn Farm

Introduction of the Spot

With natural circulation, nothing is wasted. The Farm goes back to the beauty of the past.

The Japanese Shabu Shabu restaurant on the outer ring road in Qishan, Kaohsiung is a popular local restaurant. Without glamorous decor, the restaurant is crowded with customers during dining time. The key is that the restaurant insists on using fresh and natural ingredients. The vegetables are from the nearby Nuturn Farm, so it is less than 10 km from farm to table. The owner of both is the same Lo Tiao-Yuan, born in the 1970s.

Lo Tiao-Yuan, turning 50 next year, self-deprecatingly said that life is marvelous. After graduating from school and working, something big has happened to him almost every six years, like clockwork. At first, he served as a vet on a pig farm. After returning to his hometown of Qishan and taking over his parents’ pig farm, foot-and-mouth disease broke out in 1997. The price of pigs crashed. He and his wife managed to make it through by taking several jobs at the same time. However, after several years, Qishan was turned into a water source conservation area by the government. The pig farmers were asked to leave the area. He once protested against the plan, but finally, he had to compromise.

In 2003, he tore down the pig houses and opened hot pot restaurants and Korean restaurants with his savings. At its height, he ran five restaurants, but life has not gone smoothly since then. In 2009, Typhoon Morakot devastated Southern Taiwan. His three restaurants in Qishan were all ruined. To revive the restaurant, he decided to grow vegetables at his own farm and establish a natural ecological farm using toxic-free methods. In 2015, he became famous for aquaponics. More recently, he has developed earthworm and vegetable symbiosis. Last year, winning the gold medal at the International Invention Exposition, he introduced the good place in Qishan to more and more people.

Under natural circulation, nothing is wasted. In other words, the Farm has “returned to the past.”

Food safety issues trigger a heated debate in society. Lo Tiao-Yuan, who used to be a farmer and run a restaurant, began to think about how to keep consumers safe. In order to make sure the ingredients are safe, he returned to his old job farming. However, this time, he chose to establish an ecological farm with natural circulation. He also planned to introduce aquaponics, which was just in an embryonic stage. Unlike the expenses for a family business, it cost millions of dollars to invest 0.1 ha. land. His family did not agree, and his wife Lin Gui-nian was the first to oppose the idea. However, seeing her husband work around the clock and convince others that being eco-friendly was advantageous, she was also the first to change her mind and stick up for her husband.

Originally, Lo Tiao-Yuan built greenhouses at the base of the previous pig houses, with fish ponds on both sides for culturing tilapia and other fish. The fish ponds are connected by a water channel underneath the greenhouse. The water in the ponds contain nutrients produced by feed and fish excrement. Once filtered, it is used to irrigate plants. After the nutrients are absorbed by the roots of the plants, the purified water is again sent back to the ponds. Growing vegetables does not require fertilizers and pesticides. This is a food-chain of endless circulation.

Later, Lo Tiao-Yuan developed “ecological planting buckets.” By putting pipes with holes into a bucket, the users can pour in food waste. Then, they can either keep earthworms or plant flowers, plants, vegetables, or fruits in the external soil. The excrement produced by the earthworms after they eat the kitchen waste serves as a natural fertilizer. The users just have to water the plants. Such cubic planting takes only a half ping of space. Suitable for a variety of plants, it is great for small families. With many improvements, the tool won the Gold Medal at the International Invention Exposition last year. Promoting the tool to schools and communities, Luo hopes to further develop the idea of natural circulation in each family. Lo Tiao-Yuan said that in fact, whether aquaponics or planting with earthworms, there are ways to return to the past and return to nature because that’s how life continuously grows.