This past summer a visiting delegation of Korean food activists and academics dropped by the Britannia School Food Garden formally known as BUG (Britannia Urban food Garden) and now known as Nexway’s wa lh7ay’nexw or transformed Life in the Coast Salish language to learn about our school garden and the various urban agriculture projects here in Vancouver. It was an honor to host these visitors who were very interested in the Vancouver urban agriculture model. After all, we are known to be a world leader in urban agriculture and indeed our Vancouver Food Strategy is very progressive.
However, it could also be argued that Seoul’s urban agriculture system is far larger than Vancouver’s with over 150 gardens as compared to Vancouver’s 75 and some 828 hectares of agricultural land according to a Seoul government document. Seoul too is becoming a global leader in urban agriculture and as a goal is setting out to create a plot for each household in Seoul. And really this is not surprising given the long agricultural history of Korea.
And there are differences between our systems. The Korean visitors were particularly interested in our emphasis on community gardens as community builders and as spaces for community engagement, inclusion and socialization. Here in Vancouver, community gardening is perhaps understood within a more holistic framework and meeting other social, spiritual, and emotional needs. In Korea, the objective is still very much food production only, or so our Korean visitors explained.
In the photo below, our Korean visitors also had the opportunity to meet Frank Martin and his wife. Both are wonderful community members who have lived around east van for many years. Frank carved our garden sign and both have participated in classroom learning at Britannia School.