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Future retirees work the land at farm school in Korea

Farmers at the Jecheon City Agricultural Technology Center in North Chungcheong show off their produce earlier this month. The rural training center welcomes urbanites to move in for a year and learn basic farming techniques. [KIM SEONG-TAE]

The Jecheon city government combined forces with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to build an agricultural training center for urbanites who knew absolutely nothing about farming but wished to temporarily move to the countryside and learn the ropes.

By Choi Jong-Kwon
Korea Joongangdaily
Aug 22, 2016


Participants move into the village for a year, paying the city between 180,000 and 250,000 won ($163 to $226) per month with a 600,000 won deposit.

In return, the city provides each student with a small house and land, in addition to farming lectures led by agricultural experts. The Jecheon City Agricultural Technology Center is nestled in a village more than 3,000 square-meters (3,588 square-yards) in size that comprises a training center, a factory, two vinyl greenhouses, 30 houses and a small plot for each household. The entire project required 9.6 billion won when it opened, which was jointly paid through national and municipal coffers.

Yoon Jae-sam, 58, who heads the agricultural center, calls it a “village filled with a bunch of beginner farmers.” Thirty-four people from 25 households have moved in so far.

When I dropped by the Jecheon City Agricultural Technology Center on Aug. 10, what stretched before my eyes were rows of various crops including sweet potatoes, peanuts, tomatoes, chives, corn and red peppers. Wagons, boots and farming utensils were scattered in front of each house. Sesame seeds were neatly spread out on mats in a corner of each yard, glistening in the sun.

From far away, the fields looked perfectly mended. But up close, it wasn’t long before I realized why Yoon, the center’s chief, had made that earlier remark: some of the produce was rotting, while some looked bizarrely smaller than average.

Read the complete article here.