Haja Center (English&Japanese Blog)

Starting Farming in the Haja Village, 始農


Starting Farming in the Haja Village, 始農

 Written by Seong-eun, Hong (manager of the corporation and planning team)

Translated by Hayan, Jeon

The ‘Flower Seeds Party’ which shows that spring comes in the Haja Center every year changed its name to ‘Starting Farming Feast,’ in line with a farming project in urban areas named ‘Four Hop[1]s of Brown Rice’ of the Haja Production School and let people know that the Haja village started this year’s farming by nourishing soil in the rooftop farm and the front yard, sharing seeds kept from the last year, and holding a joyous feast full of delicious food and fun. I would like to invite you to the feast where everyone had a big smile all the time under a warm spring sun.  

In the past, when the time to start farming comes, farmers told the god of farming who controlled farming that it started and held a rite to pray for a good harvest. Indeed, in Chinese, the same sound ‘Si’ meaning ‘starting(始)’ is used for expressing several different meanings. How about looking back the feast with different meanings of the sound ‘Si’ in Chinese? 


An Experiment to Tend a Garden for Self-reliance - 時農 (the time to do farming)

The self-sufficiency ratio of food in Korea is around 28% but grain and vegetables account for only 8% of the total 28% because rice accounts for almost 20%. Food security is also a problem but food freshness and safety affected by transportation of food and environmental problems caused by energy spent for transporting food are more significant. The farming project in urban areas of the Haja Village mainly led by the Haja Production School started from the concerns of the problems and it is a kind of experiment to transform little piece of land in public buildings such as the Haja Center to a small garden enabling villagers to be self-sufficient for food.

Incheon Urban Agriculture Network and farmers from Ganghwa Island help the project to be well run and people started basic works such as growing vegetables and grains and learning how to touch earthworm and soil.  They have been dreaming that they can experiment whether weeds, rain, the sun, and villagers are able to live together.    

Seeding in the Haja Village – 蒔農 (Seeding), Seeding in Spring

As soon as the feast started, people living in the Haja Village planted various vegetables, potato, trees, and flower seeds in the rooftop garden and the front yard. In the rooftop garden, they kept a proper distance and space between each vegetable according to the lecture and demonstration of an experienced teacher. They looked like real farmers. In the front yard, people expected that they could be happy this year also when they share vegetables and trees by planting the vegetables and trees which have made them happy every year.  

Food in the Feast, Flower Noodle – 施農 (happy for farming)

In the feast, there is always delicious food.

For this ‘Starting Farming Feast,’ people prepared pan-fried sweet rice cake with azalea petal and flower noodle of which soup was made of mango vine. The pan-fried sweet cake has been a favorite food served every time in the flower seeds party but even the cook and those who ate food tried the noodle for the first time. One day before the party, the cook made the mango vine soup, put honey into it, and made it cool. Then, noodle made of mung beans was put to soup for people to eat, which satisfied people’s taste and mind like a sunny weather on the day.    

Fun in the Feast – 施農 (happy for farming)

It is said that there should be fun as the work becomes harder and harder. In this feast, people played music and did some performance. After the youth band of Yooyoojajeok Salon performed, villagers themselves became actors to perform ‘A Big Turnip’ of Bookteller’s Quilt to make it more attractive. Especially the center leader Jeongoon was transformed to be an old lady on the spot and made many participants have smile warmer than the spring sun.     

Binari, the Rite for a Good Harvest – 侍農 (enshrining farming)

Lastly, the rite for praying for a good harvest was held. Binari, a song for a shamanistic ritual to avoid misfortune and bring good luck, and Maehwa Taryeong, one of Korean traditional ballad, worked people up in the party and Jeong-hyeon Kim, a respected person in the Haja Village, said good words to pray for a good harvest. As such, the ‘2012 Starting Farming Feast’ ended. 

This year, expectedly, the garden in the Haja Village becomes a space where people can understand energy that soil and grass have and people learn how to live with the nature and take actions to do by caring soil and grass. I will conclude the review on the ‘Starting Farming Feast’ which became the fresh start showing the expectation with the last phrase of ‘Binari,’ wishing for bearing abundant fruits for the Haja Village and its villagers.  

May your hopes come to pass.

Video: http://vimeo.com/40647575


[1] Unit of volume, about 180 ml

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