Increasing productivity through high-yield, high-response, chemical-dependent food crop cultivars to stabilize rural society—that was the Cold War–era social-technical strategy commonly known as the Green Revolution. A similar strategy was implemented in Taiwan in the 1950s as part of a rural reconstruction program sponsored by the United States. Aside from establishing a comprehensive web of social-technical institutions associated with modern agriculture, with the focus on the highly regulated rice sector, the program left a profound and multifaceted legacy in rural Taiwan, affecting social norms no less than it did the landscape. The authors of this article look at how the Green Revolution legacy affected an organic rice cooperative in Meinung, Taiwan. Decades of rural-urban migration have made agricultural machinery a necessity for most farmers. A tight relationship between machine service providers and the seedling production system confines farmers' choices of cultivars to those that are designed for modern cultivation, and these are not often well suited to organic methods. In addition, the comprehensive public technical-social support system that fostered the Green Revolution–style agriculture hardly exists for organic farmers in today's ethos of privatization. Those interwoven factors seriously hinder attempts to deviate from the modern agriculture's chemical-dependent path of agriculture.

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