WWOOF Korea Updates (05/2017)

A snapshot of Korean WWOOFers and hosts

When people think about going WWOOFing, the first countries that come to mind do not usually include Korea. It is a little surprising considering the percentage of land that remains rural and the diversity of native species that exist in this small country.

Rather than try to convince you to join us for your next trip to Korea, we would rather show you what hosts and volunteers have been up to during the month of May.

Host Choi Seok-geun

Ulleung Island, North Gyeongsang Province (GB_107)

We start off with one of our most unique hosts, host Choi Seok-geun located on Ulleung Island. Located far off the main Korean peninsula, it is not easy to access as the ferry is beholden to often tempestuous weather of the East Sea.

While the main draw for visitors is for sightseeing, the island is also known for its incredible seafood as well as its harvest of a variety of seaweeds and alpine leek.

WWOOF Korea CEO Helen Kim took advantage of the good weather at the beginning of the month to visit Choi and his family.

Host Kim Tae-gu

Cheongsong, North Gyeongsang Province (GB_112)

Host Kim Tae-gu and his wife live in Cheongsong, a region in the central part of Korea that is well-known for its cultivation of blueberries and apples. Rather than following the trend, the Kim family decided to grow a variety of Korean medicinals such as yacon, purple jerusalem artichoke, and Korean hedge-nettle.

This month, they were joined by Singaporean Canadian, and German WWOOFers, who assisted them in planting peppers and yacon and and in preparing the fields against pests. During their free time, the Kim family brought the volunteers out to visit nearby attractions and introduced them to their friends. Kim felt very grateful for the WWOOFers’ kindness and the effort they put into helping in the field.

Host Keum Kyung-yeon

Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province (GG_101)

Gyeonggi Province host leader Keum Kyung-yeon and his family live just about one hour from Seoul in Hwaseong, where they cultivate a variety of pumpkins, squash, cabbage, and other native vegetables.

Lithuanian and Singaporean WWOOFers had the chance to prepare the fields for planting and to sow seeds for this year’s growing season.

Ever-thankful for their help, the host and his wife left the message, “See you again next year~!”

Host Son Chil-kyou

Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province (GW_107)

This year, WWOOF Korea added a few hosts who have stables on their farms, but host Son Chil-kyou is by far our oldest. Having joined the program in 2012, he has been allowing WWOOFers to work with his horses and to learn how to ride for the past five years.

The weather finally began to warm up this month, which means that horseriding is back in full swing. Son and his wife are eagerly awaiting WWOOFers for this upcoming summer season!

Host Kim Hun-sik

Yeongwol, Gangwon Province (GW_109)

Host Kim Hun-sik is a fun character, even among our many unique hosts. First working as an interior designer, he quit his job and started his pine tree farm 12 years ago. Aside from maintaining his many trees, he builds traditional clay houses, cultivates a variety of vegetables, and keeps a number of chickens for eggs.

Volunteers this past month enjoyed some refreshing watermelon after trimming pine trees and assisting Kim in the building of a clay house.

Host Park Ja-ya

Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province (GW_112)

Located in one of the cleanest areas in Korea, the communal village lived in by host Park Ja-ya and his wife is dedicated to environmental consciousness. The Park family is focused on cultivating hemp, a crop native to the Korean Peninsula, and creates a variety of products using the plant.

This month, they employed the help of WWOOFer Brenda to prepare red pepper paste, a sauce used in a variety of Korean dishes. Afterwards, they enjoyed barbeque as well as other cultural activities with Park’s friends.

As the host like to put it, “Life is more fun with more people!”

Host Oh In-ja

Seogwipo, Jeju Island (JJ_107)

Host Oh In-ja has been farming for the past 16 years and recently joined WWOOF Korea in 2012 as one of our oldest hosts on Jeju Island. Like most farmers on Jeju, she farms citruses but is focused on the specialty breed, Hallabong. Known for resembling the island’s most famous mountain (and the tallest on the South Korean Peninsula), they are prized for their sweetness and unique shape.

Oh was joined by a lovely WWOOFer who helped her pick and package the fruits for delivery as gift packages all over Korea.

If this looks like something that you would be interested in doing during your trip to Korea, please check out our membership page for information on how to join.

This post was written by Yolanta Siu, who works as an administrator for WWOOF Korea but is also an independent documentary photographer and visual journalist.

All the images in this post were taken by WWOOF hosts, while the text was written using information from hosts and WWOOFers.

If you are a WWOOFer who would like to contribute text or images for next month’s post, feel free to send us an email at wwoofkoreainfo@gmail.com with the subject line “My WWOOFing Experience”.