Korea: Former publisher teaches joys of urban farming


Ahn Cheol-hwan, an urban farmer, smells the soil from his own farm. He says the smell is the bracing smell of life. [Kwon Hyuk-Jae]

The population of urban farmers is growing rapidly, from 1.5 million in 2014 to 2 million in 2017. In 2015, there were 74 ordinances to foster urban agriculture and there will be more now.

Korea Jngang Daily
Mar 31, 2017


Ahn Cheol-hwan, 55, an urban farming pioneer and a chairman of the Onsunhawn Association, runs a farmer training school at the foot of Mount Gwanak in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi, for people who dream of urban agriculture. “After practicing, people will either farm in the city or return to a rural area,” Ahn said.

Is farming difficult?

I had polio when I was a baby, and became handicapped, so I need crutches and a wheelchair. However, disability is not an obstacle to farming. I crawled on the farm and made a special handcart for my tasks. It was difficult, but also enjoyable. Now I am a professional farmer.

How did you learn to farm?

When I was in the publishing industry, I got to know an organization that helps urban dwellers return to farming and published its quarterly. During the four years in which I worked with that organization, I interviewed many professional organic farmers across the nation and learned farming skills from them.

How did you become an urban farmer?

In 2004, I opened a pre-farmer training school in Ansan, Gyeonggi, at the request of the organization. The following year, I opened a school for urban farmers because I found that farming is more urgently needed in the urban areas than in the rural communities.

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