Mayor's Hope Journal

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  • Chrysanthemum bonsai, anyone?
    [Mayor Park Won Soon’s Hope Journal 96]

    SMG 1435
  • One of the things that caught me by surprise is that there is an agriculture industry in this highly urbanized city complete with a fully equipped agricultural technology center. Isn’t it astonishing that there is space for fields and rice patties in districts such as Gangdong-gu and Gangseo-gu, where over 1 million residents live?

    I have keen interest in agriculture. This includes a peaceful, symbiotic relationship between cities and suburbs, Seoul and satellite cities. After the declaration of urban farming, there have been all sorts of movements to cram small beds on rooftops and other nooks and crannies in this city.

    I strongly believe that Seoul can become the center of agriculture. Why? Because agriculture does not end at harvesting; processing and distribution are also important aspects of the industry. There are over 500 specialists working at the Rural Development Administration, researching on agricultural technologies in various fields. As a result, Korea has become the world’s number one cactus exporter. Indeed, in Seoul, anything can happen!

    I recently visited the University of Seoul where I saw the most beautiful bonsai chrysanthemums. The school official told me that they were made by the students in the horticulture department. If we were to develop this area and open a shop specializing in bonsai chrysanthemums, wouldn’t it create more jobs for the students? I heard that bonsai is very popular around the world, but Japan practically has monopoly over the market. The good news is, the Seoul Agriculture Technology Center started a bonsai class for the general public.

    Chrysanthemum technician classes for 2013 will be held from March 16 (Saturday) to November 9 every Saturday from 13:00 to 16:00 for three hours per class. The classes are absolutely free, and they will start with theory (30%) before moving on to practicing bonsai chrysanthemum on wood and on stone (70%).

    I firmly believe that there are plenty of jobs around us if only we change our perspective. What if we hold a chrysanthemum contest at the square at City Hall this fall?

    Bonsai Chrysanthemum

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