Tuesday, June 24, 2014


It is well known that by 2050, the population is expected to reach nine billion, we are currently just under seven billion. These people are all going to have to have a place to live and food to eat. How is it going to happen? We already have mass shortages of safe, quality food for the populace today! Within the last few decades, this has been a real challenge for the agricultural community around the world.

Numerous techniques and methods have been implemented. There is not just one way to help fix the problem of where is our food going to come from in thirty years. From global corporations to small communities, people are trying to change the world we are living in for the better. Monsanto is one organization that has made an impact. Below is a brief informational video from them of the changes they have employed. 

While Monsanto, and other companies like BASF, Cargil, Elanco, and many more, are relying on technology to improve the current situation, some believe that the best way is to go back to an all natural approach; no chemicals, no genetic improvements, will minimize the environmental impact. 

I am of the opinion that there is no right or wrong way. I feel the answer is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum; that spectrum being a sliding scale. There are a lot of factors that go into becoming "green" or sustainable.

There are many small gardens throughout and very close to the city for the citizens to use. I have seen this in many American cities as well.

While being here in Korea, I have seen "green thinking" to the extreme. Never would I have thought space management as part of being green, but the Koreans have space conservation down to a science. Where I would have thought there was not enough space for a store or vendor, the Koreans have put a stall for a vendor. I witnessed a man selling Jiffy Store-type items in a three feet by four feet corner on the stairs to the subway. As we have walked around the city of Seoul, I am ever amazed that the stores go up, not out. Most of the restaurants we have eaten at in the city have not been on the ground level. 

Lotte Outlet Map
Even the malls are different. In America, each store has their own four walls and door. Here, their malls are more like stalls in an antique store or flea market. They optimize space by eliminating walls between vendors. For example, this map shows forty plus stores in the same floor space as the average JCPenney's.

Korean War Memorial

I will admit to being very close-minded when it comes to cities and city life. Having grown up not far from Tampa, Florida, I often saw that the city just wanted to sprawl and stretch out to cover as much land as possible and have as much concrete as possible. Since arriving in Korea, I have changed that opinion. The Koreans are very in touch with the environment and plant life in the city. From having beautiful water ways, to mountains and hiking trails in the city, even hanging baskets of beautiful flower arrangements on the sides of the roadways, they bring in the beauty of nature.

Walking in the Nakeseongdae trails in Seoul.
Today we had the long trek to the National Ecological Institute's Ecorium. On the three hour trip we were able to see more of the landscape and countryside of Korea. The vast portion of the land is mountainous. Every valley is utilized for production agriculture; even to the extent of the road ways being built above the valleys to not take up any space from the crop production.

 For being a small country, they have had to implement strategies that will optimize land use and production. I can not help but compare differences of our home to this forward thinking country. They are on the right track in many ways.

Road side on the way to the Ecorium.
I still worry that many consumers are not able to see the benefits of technology in the improvement of our food supply. I recently read an article about going off the grid (electricity grid) in order to reduce one's impact on their environment. However, the state of Florida has ruled it illegal to not be connected to an electricity grid. If someone is able to make a living on limited resources, without exceeding their means, is it right for someone else to mandate their way of life as wrong?

     Korea is the home to some of the biggest technology firms in the world, Samsung, LG, Hyundai, Nexon, and many more. I believe that it is because of their emphasis on technology on a global scale, the citizens here are more open to allowing and accepting the changes in agricultural technologies.

     I look forward to seeing more of what this country is doing to be green and environmentally friendly. Hopefully I will be able to take what I have learned here and apply it to my home and community.

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