食鮮快遞

來自產地的地方食通信
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2019 / 5月

文‧蘇俐穎 圖‧林旻萱


發源於日本,可看、可吃的食鮮限時批,除了將產地的一線情報快遞到消費者手中,更刺激了城鄉之間的聯繫,引發了一場跨越國界的食農革新運動。

 


 

台北某幢挑高的民宅,楊璨如、魏曉恩、鄭雅珺、月足吉伸,還有正在線上的李宜倩,這一群國籍、職業、年齡各自座落在不同象限的人,遠道而來齊聚一堂,他們黏合在一起的理由,便是來自於日本的「食通信」。

一份食材情報誌,同時附上一份當令食材,除了圖文並茂的產地情報與優質農友介紹,更將產地食鮮一同送到讀者手中,打造出一場擁有多重感官體驗的閱讀饗宴。

這樣的概念猶如寧靜的社會革命,從最源頭、由日本人高橋博之所創辦的《東北食通信》開始延燒,至今在日本國內已有35本姊妹誌響應創辦,台灣則有《東台灣食通信》、《雲林食通信》、《旅人食通信》、《中台灣食通信》等4部創刊。

會形成這樣廣泛、甚至是跨越國界的迴響,也許是高橋博之所不曾料想到的。曾經是縣議員的他,在日本三一一大地震之後投入災後重建,為了振興在地農業,創辦了結合刊物出版與食材宅配的《東北食通信》,然而,城鄉發展失衡、生產者與消費者斷鏈、地方財政困難等種種問題,多數已開發國家面臨的問題不無相似,也讓這項創舉意外流行到了海外。

關懷食農,人人都可投入

在台灣,率先接駁起交流橋梁的是在工程顧問公司上班的楊璨如,工作與食農全然搭不上邊的她,單純被高橋博之的著作《食鮮限時批》所感動,「一本書一個禮拜就讀了好幾次。」她這樣說。

她自告奮勇地募資,邀請高橋博之與日本食通信聯盟的夥伴赴台交流,這一簇火種就由此傳遞到了台灣。經過書籍出版後一段時間的發酵,被高橋博之的精神所感召的人紛紛出列,他們展開行動,擔任起編輯長之職,楊璨如則是中介,同時邀請到中華MOA協進會執行長月足吉伸擔任台日之間的窗口,以食通信台灣事務局的名義與日方對接,短短兩年之間,台灣版的食通信遍地開花。

即便獨立刊物在出版品百花齊放的時代,競爭激烈,但食通信仍具有獨樹一格的魅力,這主要是因為,「可以把不同領域,但對食農有興趣的人包在一起。」楊璨如解釋:「這本刊物最大的魅力,就是打破同溫層。」與其說是刊物,倒不如說是開放式的平台,開啟了對於農業的想像與對話,哪裡有好農好食材?想了解農村相關議題?甚至有意想返鄉移住青年,都可以藉此找到解答。

細工慢活的農業近身報導

除了由事務局代表與日本食通信聯盟簽訂共同協定,確保精神理念均一致,不濫用品牌之名,並同意共同推廣、共享資源。落實在具體的企劃、開本、風格上,日方並沒有設下太多的限制。

就如日本的卅幾本食通信一般,面貌大異其趣,4部台灣版食通信亦如是。編輯長的背景、性格與關注的議題,展露無遺,加上地域的特性與資源上的不同,各具特色。

踏入宜蘭最南端的南澳,在這個為山環抱,時常被遊客視為過境的偏鄉,業務範圍涵蓋整個宜花東地區的《東台灣食通信》,就選擇以此作為基地。

刊物的靈魂人物、主編長蔣沛妍,曾經在台北從事過企劃、編輯工作,做事謹慎,步調完全快不起來的她,踟躕了半年才決定從台北遷居到南澳,在創刊之前,又再花1~2年的時間舉辦行腳會議,親自拜訪農友、聆聽鄉親的建議。

「東部沒有中央山脈的屏障,加上東北季風吹拂,天候惡劣,農夫在這裡靠自己的力量跟智慧與自然搏鬥,應該有自己的尊嚴與榮耀,而不是被同情的角色,」蔣沛妍侃侃而談自己的理念,「因此我們想做的,是去了解農夫心理上深層的動力,以及生產者的哲學。」要做到這件事,唯一的辦法就是親自「撩下去」。

藉由農友的口碑推薦,尋找到不曾被媒體採訪的「素人」農友,「他們時常連坐下來談的時間都沒有。」蔣沛妍回憶著。他們索性跟著一同下田種作、飼養牲畜,再利用零碎的時間訪談。由於作物的生長有時,為了取得完整的素材,編輯作業時間動輒數個月以上,慢工細活的操作方式,與一般追求效率的商業雜誌截然不同,更像是樸實的手工藝,而非量化生產的工廠製品。

「我們沒有選擇一條比較好走的路,卻也因此挖掘到很多不同的素材。」雖然辛苦,但蔣沛妍仍覺得非常值得。

年輕人眼中的產地魅力

食通信的感染力也號召了年輕學子參與,楊璨如說:「日本也有高中生辦的食通信。」目前還在念研究所的魏曉恩,即是台灣最年輕的主編長,大學就讀新聞系的她,曾因著參加水保局「大專生洄游農村計畫」,到了彰化埔鹽的永樂社區駐村,協助行銷當地的農產品,因此與農村結下不解之緣。

然而當計畫結束回到台北,彷彿又與農村失去聯繫的她,心裡不無遺憾。因此,當第一次接觸到食通信的概念時,「真的覺得太好了!」她雀躍地形容著。可以將新聞系所學得的專業學以致用;可以不囿限於產地在當前居住的台北執行;甚至還能吸引年輕人走入農村,一如她當年。

原本以為畢業以後理所當然會進入媒體成為一名記者的她,卻有了微幅的轉彎,當2017年2月高橋博之首次來台;4月,魏曉恩與兩位夥伴便如火如荼地投入採訪;6月,台灣第一部《旅人食通信》便發刊了。

這組年輕的團隊擅以活潑的風格形塑出刊物的辨識度,翻閱最新一期,雙封面的設計,一面是象徵消費端的冰箱,另一面則是象徵生產端的水果紙箱,邀請讀者揭開一趟從產地到餐桌的風土旅程;他們也將不同品種的鳳梨擬人化,進行穿搭街拍,桀驁不馴的土鳳梨、時尚辣妹的金鑽鳳梨、溫潤可人的牛奶鳳梨等,年輕人視角的企劃令人在閱讀之際常能發出會心一笑。

魏曉恩說:「旅行的時候,我們都會放大感官,看起來習以為常的事情都會因此感到有趣,我希望能用這樣的視角來看待產地。」每一期的刊物,習以為常的生鮮食材、鄉村風景,都重新被賦予新意,像一趟令人引頸期盼的產地踏查。

創造城鄉「關係人口」

在地方創生的大方向底下,近年日本國土交通省將「關係人口」列為重要策略,在民間,高橋博之、樂活雜誌《ソトコト》(Sotokoto)編輯長指出一正等人也積極倡議。

所謂的「關係人口」,根據明治大學教授小田切德美的解釋,指的即是「與在地有關係的人口」。當偏鄉人口大幅流失,若僅憑著鼓勵生育或青年移住,由於實際行動上的困難度,效果相當有限。

因此,好比給予地方經濟支援,甚至會固定探訪、短期定居的「關係人口」,在近年開始受重視。這些人雖然不能計入在地人口,但卻與地方有著或深或淺的關聯,他們是活化地方的動能來源,甚至經過長期的潛移默化,有極大可能會成為將來的移居人口。

在關係人口的策略下,食通信將是推動創造關係人口的方法之一。尤其,食通信尤其珍貴的,是能打破雜誌的限制,從刊物出發,藉著編務、食材體驗、文化體驗活動,猶如楊璨如說的:「去找到有趣的連結。」令一片死寂的農村,因著與消費者的多元聯繫,能藉此轉動起來。

從消費者到行動者,刊物的編輯長自身就是絕佳案例。隻身移居南澳的蔣沛妍,藉著刊物連結東岸各地的生產者,甚至團結起移居南澳的青年一同參與編輯,也由於東岸的特殊性,他們也積極舉行文化體驗活動,邀請讀者親炙來自大山大海的生命力。

又好比目前仍在台北求學的魏曉恩,除了自己因著食通信的緣故得以與農村再續前緣,甚至進一步進入生物產業傳播暨發展研究所(即是以前的農推所)就讀,「開始學習用比較嚴肅的角度來看待農業。」她有所體悟。另一方面,她提出「參與式編輯」的概念,將編務開放,「這不是我一個人的雜誌,只是我比較早接觸到食通信的概念。」秉持著這樣的想法,她廣邀在學青年共同參與,藉由帶領著編輯團隊下鄉採訪,使得生活空間與農村甚遠的年輕學子,能有機會踏入偏鄉農村。

由此看來,食通信的意義除了是一份來自產地的食鮮快遞,更是擔起激發城鄉交流使命的平台,除了創造出城鄉之間有意義的連結,也試圖為凋敝的農村尋覓生存下去的可能,一如高橋博之所盼望的:「讓彼此持續地連結與交流,並為此使命而展開行動,彼此守護。」 

相關文章

近期文章

EN

Fresh Food by Rapid Delivery

Taiwan's Local Taberu Magazines

Lynn Su /photos courtesy of Lin Min-hsuan /tr. by Phil Newell

The Japanese book Fresh Food by Rapid Delivery not only has brought first-hand information from food-producing regions into the hands of consumers, it has also stimulated contact between urban and rural areas, sparking a food and agriculture reform movement that has crossed national boundaries.

 


 

In a certain residential building in Taipei, a group of people of different nationalities, ages and professions are gathered together. They are Yang Cheng­-ju, ­Blythe Wei, ­Zheng Ya­jun, and Yo­shi­nobu Tsu­ki­ashi; Li Yi­qian joins them online. The reason behind their meeting is the Ta­beru magazines, which originated in Japan.

These food-focused magazines, which are delivered to subscribers together with a sample of seasonal produce, not only convey information about agricultural production areas and outstanding farmers in words and images, they also bring farm-fresh foods into readers’ homes, creating a reading banquet that includes mul­tiple sensory experiences.

The realization of the concepts described in the book Fresh Food by Rapid Delivery has been like a quiet social revolution. It all started with To­hoku Ta­beru Magazine, founded by Japanese social entrepreneur Hi­ro­yuki Ta­ka­ha­shi. (To­hoku is the northeastern region of Hon­shu, Japan’s largest island, and ta­beru means “to eat” in Japanese.) Today in Japan there are 35 sister maga­zines, while in Taiwan four similar publications have been founded: Ta­beru in Eastern Taiwan, Yun­lin Ta­beru in Taiwan, Travel Ta­beru in Taiwan, and Central Taiwan Food Journal.

Perhaps Hi­ro­yuki Ta­ka­ha­shi never expected his magazine to get such a broad, even transnational, ­response. Formerly a prefectural assemblyman, Ta­ka­ha­shi devoted himself to reconstruction work in the wake of the To­hoku earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. In order to give a boost to local agriculture, he created To­hoku Ta­beru Magazine, which combined a publication with home delivery of foods. However, given the similarities in the problems faced by most developed countries in terms of imbalanced development between city and country, a disconnection between producers and consumers, and cash-strapped local governments, this pioneering work has already spread abroad.

Concern for food and agriculture

The person leading the way in transferring Ta­ka­ha­shi’s work to Taiwan has been Yang Cheng­-ju, who works at an engineering consulting firm. Despite her work having nothing to do with food or agriculture, she was inspired by Ta­ka­ha­shi’s book Fresh Food by Rapid Delivery. “I read this book several times in one week,” she says.

Yang took it upon herself to raise money to invite Ta­ka­ha­shi and partners from the Japan Ta­beru Magazines Alliance to Taiwan to share their knowledge, and thus the spark was carried to Taiwan. A while after the Chinese edition of the book was published, people who felt inspired by Ta­ka­ha­shi’s message came out in large numbers. They launched activities and served as editors, while Yang acted as matchmaker. They also invited Yo­shi­nobu Tsu­ki­ya­shi, director of the Mo­ki­chi ­Okada Association Taiwan (MOA Taiwan), to serve as a liaison between Taiwan and Japan, staying in touch with Japan through an organization dubbed the “Ta­beru Magazines Taiwan Affairs Office.” Within two short years, Taiwan editions of Ta­beru have flourished everywhere.

Though these independent publications are emer­ging in an era of intense competition in the magazine publishing world, there is something uniquely attractive about Taberu magazines. This is mainly because they “bring together people who might come from different fields, but are all interested in food and farming.” As Yang explains, “The greatest appeal of this magazine is that it breaks through the ‘echo chamber’ phenom­enon.” Rather than call it a magazine, it would perhaps be better to describe it as an open platform for ideas and dialogue about agriculture: Where are the best farmers and where does the best food come from? Do you want to understand issues of importance to rural communities? Even young people who are thinking of moving (or moving back) to live in rural areas can find answers to their questions here.

Relational demography

Within the broad policy orientation of regional revitalization, in recent years Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism has pursued “relational demography” as one of its main strategies. In the non-governmental sector, people like Hi­ro­yuki Ta­ka­ha­shi and Ka­zu­masa Sa­shide, the chief editor of the back-to-nature magazine So­to­koto, have also been strongly advocating this approach.

As explained by ­Meiji University professor To­kumi Oda­giri, “relational demography” is the study of the population that has a relationship with a particular place. At a time of considerable outflow of population from more remote rural areas, the effectiveness of policies such as encouraging women to have more children or recruiting young people to relocate to a particular rural area is quite limited, due to difficulties in practical implementation.

Therefore, in recent years attention has begun to turn to the “relational population,” comprising people who give a location economic support, or who visit regularly or even live there for short periods. Although these ­people cannot be counted as part of the local population, they still have a relationship, however deep or shallow, with the location. They are a source of energy for local revitalization, and there is a strong possibility that as a result of their long-term association with a place, they may become future migrants who settle in the locality.

Within the strategy of relational demography, the Ta­beru magazines are one method of promoting the creation of a relational population. One great strength of the Ta­beru publications is that they can transcend the limitations of a conventional magazine. Since their launch, through their journalism and through food tasting and cultural experience activities, they have been able, as Yang Cheng­-ju puts it, to “find interesting linkages.” These diverse links with consumers can help transform fading rural communities.

The best examples of people moving from “consumer” to “activist” are the editors of the magazines themselves. ­Chiang Pei-yan, founder of Ta­beru in Eastern Taiwan, who relocated to Nan’ao by herself, has been able to use the publication to link with producers from all over Eastern Taiwan, and even bring together young people who have moved to Nan’ao to play a part in producing the magazine. Also, in view of the unique character of the eastern counties, these young people are very active in organizing cultural experience activities, inviting readers to immerse themselves in the vitality that springs from the mountains and seacoast of this region.

Another example is Blythe Wei, who is currently studying in Tai­pei. Not only has she been able, through Travel Ta­beru in Taiwan, to rebuild her former connection with rural communities, she has even enrolled in graduate school in the Department of Bio-Industry Com­munica­tion and Development (formerly the Depart­ment of Agricultural Extension) at National Taiwan University. “After I started studying I began looking at agri­culture from a more serious angle,” she recounts. She has also proposed the idea of “participative journalism,” opening up editorial work to others. “This is not my personal magazine, it’s just that I came in contact with the concept of Ta­beru magazines relatively early on.” Holding fast to this idea, she has invited young people who are still in school to join her editorial team, and by leading them on reporting trips to the countryside, has enabled young students whose lifestyles are far removed from those of rural areas to have the opportunity to visit remote farming communities.

This shows that the significance of the Ta­beru maga­zines has not only been to deliver fresh foods directly from farming areas, but also to serve as platforms for promoting interactions between country and city. Besides creating meaningful links between urban and rural areas, they are also searching for opportunities for survival for rural communities that are lagging behind. Or, in the aspirational words of Hi­ro­yuki Ta­ka­ha­shi, “They will enable continual contact and interaction between city and country, and spark action to achieve this mission, as the two sides protect each other.”

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