i'm so excited about finding this website! i'm a newbie to permaculture but have always been interested in organic sustainability. and i happen to be living in south korea at the moment and i was wondering if any one knew of a permaculture community in korea. i tried to look up online but couldn't find any.
To the best of my knowledge, and I've spent a bit of time searching and asking around, unfortunately, there isn't any permaculture community (in the sense that permies-types would consider) in Korea. There is a place that calls itself the Permaculture College. The founder did study permaculture in Australia and has written articles and texts about permaculture in Korean. I visited there once, and though I recognize the important work that they are doing, it wasn't anything close to the kind of hands-on project-based community that I was expecting.
There are a number of eco-villages in South Korea, as well, though many of them are organized around a religious core more than anything else.
As far as functioning communities, the Mindeullae 민들레마을 was among the most impressive. It is an intentional village that runs an alternative high school, grow their own rice and wheat, run a collective bakery who's products help fund the community. And they are the home to the ATC, Alternative Technology Center. They even have a week where the students are banned from using electricity and have to make due with alternative technology systems only.
Alternative Technology Center Korea
It seems that there is a growing interest in permaculture in Korea. Independent study groups have been spring up. More than once, permaculture instructors have been flown out from Australia to give PDC courses. There isn't however, a consistently conducted course. Part of the problem is a lack of material in Korean, and part of the problem is that permaculture hasn't been made to seem relevant to the Korean context.
Nonetheless, Korea has a vibrant natural farming movement. There has been a back to the land movement happening for a while.
There is a fermentation-based farming method known as Korean Natural Farming that has gained quite a bit of popularity abroad.
Korean Natural Farming
All of the elements of permaculture that we know and love are out there, earth-building, no-till farming, food foresting, just not collected together in a comprehensive way.
If you know Korean, I could refer you the few articles and resources that I'm aware of. I'm not Korean, but I can speak it decently. I'm sure there amazing stuff happening that I'm just not aware of yet. I'd love to find more people who wanted to help grow a Korean-relevant permaculture.
I've previously lived in Korea and am hoping to go back next year. Seems like there is a bit of a scene - albeit small - in Seoul. There's a link below.
I think the time is definitely ripe to spread permaculture in Korea. A place to start could be urban gardening and introducing the millions of urban Korean kids who have no idea where food comes from or environmental impact. I agree with you Jeff - traditional Korea utilised many techniques that are permaculture-related. If you get off the beaten track in Korea you will discover some beautiful villages/villagers in the mountain recesses where life is semi like it used to be in that life is tied to seasonal change and natural rhythms. You'll notice the lack of young people and I hate to think of the wealth of knowledge disappearing with the older generations! You could also try wwoof Korea which will lead you to some families and projects all over Korea.
I think there is also a hanok village on Jeju-do where older traditions are actively preserved by people living in the village - although it is used as a tourist attraction it is different in that it is actively inhabited.
Hope this helps and I'd love to get a solid permaculture group going in Korea - problem is I don't want to be tied to teaching English haha - could be some regular visa runs on the cards.
It's great to hear there are some fellow permies in south korea. I had no idea! I've got an acre of land where im trying to practice permaculture in gyeongsan-namdo. I have some experience but no rsources i could point you to. Jeff, i would love to get some of those korean text resources you mentioned. If anyone would like to share some experience or ideas just let me know!
Ian Gordon wrote:I am in South Korea. I work in Seoul but I have a tiny farmstead in Chungcheon-namdo, where I spend my weekends.Its near Gwangcheon, which is on the Seoul-Iksan railway line. Haven't done much to the land yet.. having problems finding red wrigglers.
Hey Ian, you can get worms online for about 30 bucks. you get a huge bag about 20-30 lbs. maybe more of worms, eggs, casting, all that. its great! I bought some a few years ago. Wonderful stuff.
if you have a big project on your farm and need extra hands, I'd like to get down and dirty.
You are doing the world a favor! Thanks!
Ian Gordon wrote:
Would you happen to have a telephone number or an address or something? Only thing I found online was a company called Sworm Korea and they produce just meal worms for pets.
GMarket or Auction, bro. look in the gardening section and you'll see a picture of a happy worm with a 30,000w price on it.
I am traveling to Korea in late Nov. to exhibit my work and give some lectures on what I am calling: The New American Pioneer. This is photography I started at Wheaton Labs in 2015. I am interested to know if you've gotten any traction on the permaculture projects around South Korea. Would love to meet anyone there or doing permaculture there as well! Any info about what is going on there would be great.
You can email me at email@example.com