March 3, 2011

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World's most expensive vegetable garden can be found in Taipei

The world's most expensive vegetable garden is one step away from Taipei 101.

Few days ago my girlfriend and I went to Xinyi, Taipei's modern district full of high rise buildings and home to the former world's tallest building, the 509m tall Taipei 101. The area is full of office buildings and department stores as well as home to some of the most expensive apartment buildings in Taiwan. Quite a few of Taiwan's rich and famous own a condo in this area. But while walking around this fancy neighborhood, I noticed something unusual. Amid all these modern fancy buildings there's a vegetable garden.

Mmmh, green salad, looks like it loves to grow here.

My girlfriend told me that the small piece of land, which used to be farmland in the past, has multiple owners. They couldn't agree on a price to sell, even though they could probably get millions of dollars for that. Instead, they turned the land into a vegetable garden. Isn't that amazing?

Looks like the cabbage enjoys the fertile soil of Xinyi, too.

Do you think something like that is possible in China? I would dare to say no, but I'm not very sure. Taiwan is different. The government doesn't just grab a piece of land to build something on it. Ok, well, sometimes it does, but that's another story. Nevertheless, the most expensive vegetable garden can be found in Taiwan, right next to Taipei 101 and the World Trade Center exhibition hall. Please don't steal the cabbage!

UPDATE: According to various sources (1, 2 and 3), this small piece of land is called D1 and will be soon put up for auction and sold to a big investor, actually this March. So it won't be long, when this cute vegetable garden will disappear and probably be replaced by a new exquisite condo or office building. I'm glad I had the chance to see it and take some photos.

▷ BLOG NAVIGATION: Taiwan>> Taipei Travel Page>> Xinyi District>> Taipei 101>> World's most expensive vegetable garden


  1. Doesn't look to be too secure!

    If big business really did want the land, I wonder why they haven't just gone and salted the Earth or something.

    Buggered up soil = no farmland!

    Not that I'm advocating this in any way of course. I think it's awesome that group of people have preserved their lot as traditional farmland.

    For all the pollution, Taipei definitely needs more greenery other than a few token public parks.

  2. @OzSoapbox: Very well said. Although I'm a fan of gardens and parks, I somehow feel this one doesn't belong there. Taipei lacks a real downtown like Singapore, Hong Kong or Shanghai. Maybe that's good in a way, I'm not sure.

  3. I think Taipei has many "downtowns," and that's fine with me.

    In smaller cities, urban farming is a way of life. It's interesting as I'm coming from the US, where it's seen as some kind of neo-organic/hipster movement.

  4. How nice!
    Are people allowed to eat those? :p

  5. Urban gardens/community gardens are pretty common here...but then Vancouver is an empty village compared to most asian cities.

    Greenspace is nice I think and even more so when it's productive!

  6. Always loved the architecture in the Xinyi district. Taipei has always been one of my favourite cities for its variety, it is a very de-centralised town.

    To answer your question, no I don't know of any city in China where this has happened, or even could happen. In Nanjing, even a famous statue of Sun Yat-Sen standing in the centre of the city was removed and the pedestal demolished to make way for new development in the city centre.

    As to why this vegetable allotment is here, I don't know about this specific case, but I do know that in general it is very, very difficult to re-assign agricultural land for residential or business purposes in Taiwan. This is why cities like Miaoli have rice paddies close to the city centre. The reason for this is that, for obvious reasons, Taiwan still tries to be capable of being self-sufficient in food.

    Or it may be that the owners just like gardening.

  7. @Josh: I think this garden is just a reminder, that Xinyi used to be very fertile farm land :)

    @Kay: I think they are.

    @Becks: Well said.

    @FOARP: I love Xinyi, too. It's my favorite part of Taipei. I think they really did a good job to make something different, no skyscraper next to a skyscraper.

    I think your last sentence is spot on :)

  8. Ha, ha, I wouldn't because I would prefer the salads :)

  9. From what I have heard, the owner is a very patient speculator who is just sitting on that piece of land and waiting for the price to climb higher and higher. Not a steadfast farmer.

    Although I would prefer the romantic version myself, too...

  10. @Traveling Hawk: There are salads, too :P

    @Klaus: My girlfriend says there are multiple owners, of which some don't want to sell. I wasn't aware that there's only one owner, I'll check some additional sources to see, what's true and what not.

  11. Are you serious??? That looks like most of the vegetable gardens we have here. Like everywhere!!!

    Although it is commendable that they grow their own vegetables :)

  12. a private orchard is worth more than millions of dollars... a private orchard is something I would dream of... :-) Great idea!!!

  13. Nino, I wonder if people really haven't stolen any cabbages lol! But yes this garden is pretty amazing, considering it's located next to modern buildings in the city! At first I was wondering why there were no colorful flowers.. then realized it's a vegetable garden :D I'll probably never get to see this garden in person so it's great you're giving me access!

    Btw to answer your Q, yes I have a huge sweet tooth! I love desserts so much.. hehe

  14. @Sabrina: I see. But this one will be gone very soon.

    @Daisy: Oh yeah.. but would you keep it, if you could sell and earn millions? :P

    @Karen: Yeah, it's located on the most prominent spot in the city, but it won't be too long. When you visit Taiwan one day, you'll probably see a new fancy condo here :)

  15. And i know this sounds soo pathetic, but this is also the first time i'm actually seeing what the Taipei 101 looks like!! I really need to get my head out of my books!

  16. I'd keep the orchard... there's nothing more valuable than healthy food... and it's getting shorter in the world now... :-)

  17. @Saby: Haha.. well, glad to help you in that department :)

    @Daisy: You're spot on.

  18. Nice place to have a vegetables in there. Stunning buildings too.

    Deirdre G

  19. Interesting post. When I lived in Taipei in the late 1980s, I used to go through this area daily. Back then, the World Trade Center had just been built. Everything to the east of it was run down single story brick houses, chickens, pigs, veggie gardens.... I'm always amazed every time I get back there.


    PS. Just ran across your blog. I look forward to reading more.

  20. @Kevin: wow, cool. You surely have a long lasting connection with Taipei. Your comments are interesting. Things really changed a lot, huh? :)

  21. Hey, I like this place and many more similar in Taipei very much. I´ve heard this place belongs to city government who is waiting for best offer. Until the sale people are allowed to farm there for their own use. ..Well, dont know details, but the garden is still there.)

  22. @Libor: Yeah, the garden is there, but probably not too long. We'll see what they build there - I'm betting on an expensive condo.

    Thanks for dropping by and you have a great website.

  23. Great blog!! It has been immensely valuable to a first time visitor like me who maybe speaks two or three Chinese words. Do u know if this garden is still exists? would love for my daughter and I to see it.

  24. @Anonymous: The garden will soon disappear...


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