The expansion of Hope Kitchen in Xin Le Elementary School in Jianshi Township, Hsinchu County has been completed. The totems and colors of the Atayal tribe have been added to the kitchen’s design to present a brand-new look for the central kitchen, creating a communal eating culture similar to that in traditional Atayal culture. The school has also recently won a New York Design Awards silver award, passing on the vitality of Taiwanese Indigenous peoples to the world again.
The Hsinchu County Education Bureau pointed out that Xin Le Elementary School is an indigenous school chiefly comprised of Atayal children. The Executive Yuan promoted its “Central Kitchens in Remote Schools” project wherein the Executive Yuan subsidized NT$15 million, and the county government raised NT$7.09 million. The central kitchen of the elementary school was expanded using a total of NT$22.09 million. “Hope Kitchen” has also been created similar to the philosophy of qutux niqan (communal-eating culture) of the Atayal, enabling the three tribal elementary schools of Xin Le Elementary School, Gien Shih Elementary School, and Jiao Xing Elementary School to become a family, cooking and enjoying meals together. The project will not only achieve dietary goals of being healthy and hygienic, but also implement the Atayal customs of co-prosperity, coexistence, and sharing.
The Education Bureau indicated that Hope Kitchen’s design is different from a traditional architectural style. Natural light is invited inside the kitchen through large side windows to ridding the gloomy impression which people have about a kitchen. The exterior of the kitchen adopts a color red which to the Atayal, symbolizes positivity, vigor, and vitality, and diamonds and horizontal stripes to boldly present the totems of indigenous peoples, closely connecting the indigenous marks Hope Kitchen. The high-rise kitchen is humidity proof, and can prevent mice from getting in. Additionally, water permeability and retention facilities have been constructed around the kitchen to promote the conservation and restoration of natural habitats, and to create a low-carbon sustainable school. Moreover, the school’s curricula integrate with Atayal culture, promote environmental education, a low-carbon diet, and build a sustainable school that achieves the SDGs.
Wen-Ke Yang, the Hsinchu County Magistrate, stated that Hope Kitchen is in charge of taking care of nearly 300 teachers and students in neighboring remote schools. Students’ health and food safety are important items that the county government and school keep checking strictly, and they are goals that everyone is working hard together to achieve. Chun-Tzu Yang, the Director-general of the Education Bureau, indicated that the expansion of the central kitchens will comprehensively enhance the lunch quality of students at remote schools. In the future, these kitchens will integrate with courses to open the door to the achievement of further educational objectives.