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Experts discuss urban farming at conference in Seoul

Seoul is holding a two-day international conference on urban agriculture to encourage sustainable development. The 11th Seoul International Conference on Urban Agriculture kicked off on Thursday, the 13th of October, with the theme “Urban Agriculture in the Age of Transition” at Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) in eastern Seoul.

The Korean capital started an international urban agriculture network in 2012. Since then, an international conference has been held annually to discuss urban agriculture around the world and to promote the idea. This year, 22 experts from five countries, including the United States, Japan, Germany, and the Netherlands, came together.

“With the response to the climate crisis emerging as an important agenda item, urban agriculture is drawing more attention as an eco-friendly lifestyle that reduces carbon emissions and produces healthy food,” said Kim Eui-seung, First Vice Mayor of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, in an opening speech.

On Thursday, Kwon Young-gull, Chairman of the Seoul Design Foundation, gave a speech called “Urban Agriculture Opens the Future.” People are surrounded by concrete buildings, asphalt pavements, poor water and air quality, and electromagnetic waves, Kwon said.  

The most direct factor that harms the bodies and minds of people these days, said Kwan, is food — citing GMOs, pesticides, and heavy metal-containing foods. And because of this, a significant number of people are looking for healthy eating options and cultivating their own gardens in cities.

“Urban gardens are a new cultural behavior that not only contributes to food self-sufficiency but also brings fundamental changes to life attitudes through the process of touching soil and raising life in a desolate city,” Kwon said.

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