Welcoming Remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the 2nd Seoul Urban Agriculture Expo
Date: May 3, 2013
Venue: Seoul Plaza
Hello. I am Park Won Soon, the mayor of Seoul.
Thank you Seoul citizens for participating in the 2nd Seoul Urban Agriculture Expo. I welcome all of you!
When I visited Nodeul Farms last year, I announced the beginning of urban agriculture in Seoul with the aim of making our city the world’s first capital of urban agriculture. And now, as an urban farmer myself, I am directly participating in this initiative. I have built a small two-story farm in my office, where I grow kumquats, kale, tomatoes, red peppers, and lettuce. My kumquats taste particularly good, and I hope to try the tomatoes soon, but they have not ripened yet. The red peppers are still very small, so I did not bring them here today. I get great pleasure from watching my plants grow every day.
Seoul is currently home to 1,600 urban farms, one of which is on the roof of Seoul City Hall, where we keep honeybees. In support of urban farming, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has cultivated 3,300 urban farmers by operating an urban farming school, where urban farmers learn the skills they need. The citizens of Seoul are practicing urban gardening in diverse areas, such as on small farms, rooftops, and balconies. By doing so, they are revitalizing community spirit and breathing fresh air into our often dreary urban lives.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government is holding this expo to promote the practice of urban agriculture in the daily lives of its citizens as well as to facilitate the incorporation of urban farming into our lives and industry.
The 2nd Seoul Urban Agriculture Expo, held under the theme “A Festival of One Thousand Urban Farms Created by One Million Urban Farmers,” was planned and operated by Seoul citizens. From the planning stage, citizens involved in urban farming and civic groups worked together to make this meaningful event a reality. Ideas were gathered through a pubic idea contest and 11 meetings we held with the Urban Agriculture Association and related experts. This year, 50 or more civic groups will take part in the event all across Seoul, including at Seoul Plaza, Nodeul Farms on Nodeulseom Island, and Hannae Farms in Geumcheon. I sincerely hope that this event provides you an opportunity to experience hands-on the development and growth of urban agriculture in Seoul.
Furthermore, the organizers have prepared an international symposium with the participation of urban farming experts from Japan and Taiwan, participation-based programs, and concerts by urban farming artists, so please enjoy. I would once again like to thank all of the urban farmers in Seoul who made it possible to plan, organize, and launch this event.
This expo is an opportunity to have fun, and I hope all Seoul citizens here today enjoy this exciting gathering of our city’s urban farmers. Your active participation will make Seoul a city that “cultivates urban farms,” “creates happiness,” and “brings life to the Earth”.
Are you ready to have some fun? We welcome you. We love you. We thank you.