Park Ssang-ae smiles as she shows off plants growing in a reclaimed parking lot in Seoul’s Mapo district… Park is head of the residents’ committee that is using urban spaces such as vacant parking lots to grow plants. 63 residents have joined the committee since the garden was started in 2009, without the local government’s permission. They have since gotten permission with the help of the district council. (by Lee Jeong-ah, staff photographer)
Urban agriculture booms in Seoul
Urban agriculture in South Korea has expanded remarkably. In terms of scale, it is no less than that of fully developed countries. Evoking elderly people’s instinct for farming, vegetable gardens have been created in patches of dirt in between slabs of concrete. Urban agriculture is clearly evolving in South Korea, and its 2.0 era has begun.
In the concrete jungle of Seoul’s Sangam neighborhood, a 2300m2 vegetable garden is located behind the local middle school. Located in the middle of the apartment complex, the garden stands out from its surroundings. Park Ssang-ae, 60, one of the oldest of the farmers is tending the garden as usual with her hoe. Her home is right in front of the garden. “It’s so good, so convenient. My apartment is right across the road. I don’t have to use a car that emits carbon. This garden really stands for local food production”.
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