SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, January 11, 2021 – The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced to invite 60 families that will participate in the “Returning to the Farm” program by January 28.
The program provides those interested in becoming farmers with an opportunity to experience it in advance. Selected households will be allowed to live in farming areas designated by the city for up to ten months.
The Returning to the Farm program was started to run by the Seoul Metropolitan Government five years ago in 2017, aiming to allow Seoul citizens to experience the entire process of farming life with their families to better understand and adapt to the changed life.
Currently, 60 families can join this program in nine rural areas – Jecheon, Muju, Gangjin, Gurye, Yeongju, Gochang, Heungcheon, Hamyang, and Yeongcheon. The city government supports 60 percent of the expenses for their residence and education for their better adaptation to the local areas in a smooth manner.
Because of COVID-19 outbreak and accordingly decreasing foreign workers, many farming villages are short-handed, especially these days. Through the Returning to the Farm program, Seoul will match “farmer-to-be” families with farming villages that need workers in order to help the participants get a solid start in farming, and the villages get economic benefits at the same time.
According to the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s survey of 101 families who took part in the program, 49 families, or 48.5 percent, have already settled in farming villages, and additional 31 families responded that they plan to do so in the near future.
Kim Eui-seung, Deputy Mayor for Economic Policy at the Seoul Metropolitan Government, said, “Through this Returning to the Farm program, many citizens who have dreamed of becoming farmers or returning to the farm can experience the farming life in advance. A participant can stay at each family’s accommodation, tend a private kitchen garden, and use education centers and other convenience facilities in the village. I hope they will realize the dream of becoming a farmer successfully.”