Agrarian Heritage and the Future of Sustainable Agriculture in South Korea
According to the “Miracle on the Han”, South Korea made a transition unprecedented in its rapidity from a primarily agricultural, impoverished post-war society to an industrialized nation with the third largest economy in Asia. Although South Korea today is highly urbanized, the marks-and social stresses of the agrarian to industrial transition are still highly visible. It is with both nostalgia and mild repugnance for the hard labor entailed that many young urbanites regard the agricultural past of their parents and grandparents. Nonetheless, despite their declining numbers, from the late 80s, a burgeoning farmer’s movement began to make itself heard, demanding the “right to farm” and opposing agricultural trade liberalization talks- a concern which remains current for farmers today.
Increased affluence has also fostered growing consciousness and demand for non-GMO and organic foods, paralleling the emergence of environmental NGOs, and bringing the language of “sustainable agriculture” into currency in the 1990s’. Considering the rapidly aging face of the countryside, the overall decline of the agricultural sector, (despite its political significance), the increase in environmental awareness, and consumer demand for more diverse foods/food products, this presentation will reflect on how these changes impact current and future possibilities for sustainable agriculture.
Keywords: South Korea, Sustainable Agriculture, Environment
Ms. Soo Sun Choe
Graduate Student, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Hawaii at Manoa