Host of the Month: GW122 Jonghyuk Choi of Samyang Farm

WWOOFKorea News
2024-06-06 09:56

"Re-learning the value and importance of agriculture through WWOOF Korea"

Q: When did you start farming, and what did you do before?

 I studied agriculture back in university. Though it was very essential to our lives, I didn’t find it interesting at that time and chose another field. While working on various events such as local festivals, performance planning, and arts education, I met lots of artists and people for 10 years. About a year ago, I came across the job post that Samyang Roundhill looked for an event and festival planner. I had good memories with Samyang as a part-time job and wanted to be a part of their new attempts.

Q: What are the rewards and difficulties of practicing eco-friendly farming? 

 I don’t know all the difficulties as I don’t work in the field directly. The biggest part might be the financial side. Samyang Round Hill as a subsidiary of Samyang Foods is involved in a part of corporate management. It is undoubtedly meaningful to grow grass and feed cows in a healthier and eco-friendly way. But there are difficulties considering costs and profits from the business viewpoint. Personally, I feel proud of cultivating the field to pass on to the future generation. I used to think of the founder’s philosophy that we need to think a thousand years after us though we as a human only live less than a hundred years.


Q: How long have you been hosting WWOOFers?

 We became a host in 2023. It has been over a year now. It was a great opportunity to meet WWOOFers from all around the world. Whoever I met, the first meeting was special. I am quite excited to share the beautiful scenery here and time with healthy animals.


Q: What tasks do WWOOFers typically work on your farm? 

 There are a variety of plants and animals like cows and sheep on the ranch. As Samyang Ranch is popular for sightseeing, we did the landscaping on a regular basis. During the spring and summer, WWOOFers plant flowers alongside the roads and pull the weeds. Sometimes they help tour programs. Then we prepare for winter and take a break.


Q: What experiences or activities can you offer WWOOFers besides farming? 

 Above all you can have a connection with cows as a living creature. WWOOFers can participate in activities like feeding cows and milking them. It requires a fair amount of knowledge and practice but we would like to offer a chance to feel connected to cows and understand the dairy farming. Also the scenery of the ranch around sunrise and sunset is stunning. I recommend the tracking course around the ranch.


Q: Do you have any memorable WWOOFer from your experience?

 Jessica from Singapore. She came here by herself and my first impression of her look was a bit sophisticated and fancy. To be honest I was worried about her not fitting in and introduced her to the landscaping and woodwork team. A few days later, I met her on a stretchy uniform and dirt-covered shoes. She smiled brightly in a slightly tanned face. There was nothing to worry about. Even to this day she still misses WWOOFing here


Q: Can you give a message for readers of the WWOOF Korea newsletter?

Thanks to WWOOF Korea, I am learning the value of agriculture with the new perspective. I wouldn’t say that organic farming is easy but it is worthwhile to do. As long as all the hosts work together and support each other!

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