Thursday, September 17, 2009

Urban Agriculture

Daejeon may have a population greater than Portland's, but it is still very provincial and stays true to the spirit of it's name: Great Field. Every bit of available land, including the median in the highway, is farmed and farming is still at the heart of life in Daejeon. Ample evidence of this can be found within fifty yards of my apartment, and even within it. I walked out of my door one morning on the way to work and saw this:

The old woman who lives below me apparently didn't have enough space in their apartment to prepare her cabbages, so she cut the right on the floor of our stairwell. I saw her sweeping up later.

A block down the street there are super nice houses--possibly some of the best in Daejeon--alongside lots that are used for gardens. It is odd to see what are essentially small scale cash crop farms in the shadow of mansions and twenty-five story apartment complexes. My first reaction was to marvel at how odd it was to put such different values on adjacent bits of land, some worth a fortune and others owned by poor farmers, but when I considered this further I realized that I like the fact that the land use is not determined simply by sheer economics and that the mixture of urban and rural is rather pleasant.
My neighbors are growing gochu, the Korean word for pepper which also means 'penis', which explains the sign over a 'sexy bar' that depicted a woman riding a horse-sized pepper.

I see about a dozen of these tarps where gochu is being dried out on my ride to work.



this is awesome!! i am really into this stuff lately. would that every city used land so sensibly. as far as values go, i'm gonna have to say that food that doesn't require major use of fossil fuels to get to the mouths of those who will eat it = priceless. i would love to see more photos of gardens and mini-farms, if you get a chance.

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