The Mother of all Memories

Read letters from international fans, long-lost readers, faith-based farming feedback, and battery technology reactions.

| October/November 2019

From Korea, with Love

My name is Minju Kim, and I’m an enthusiastic reader of Mother Earth News from South Korea.

I became interested in — and concerned about — the environment when I was in college. One of my college friends had a small organic garden called Gong Garden, located in Fredonia, New York. At the time, I was living in a trailer without water or electricity. The couple at Gong Garden taught me how to grow plants and, eventually, helped me realize the grace of nature. We also regularly sold our produce at the local farmers market. Since then, I’ve tried to live in a way that leaves the smallest carbon footprint possible.

This desire led me to study and act more intentionally to live a self-sufficient life. After graduating college and coming back to South Korea, I worked at a nongovernmental organization, where I assisted in managing the Seoul Eco Film Festival. It was a meaningful career, but I yearned to really jump into a self-sufficient life. I’ve since found a Seoul city-sponsored program called “Atelier Non-Electric at Seoul,” which was originally started in Japan by Yasuyuki Fujimura. Along with 11 other applicants, I participated in the program for a year. We learned about topics related to self-sufficient living, including woodworking, ecological architecture, organic farming, and small business models that could help us become more independent. We built an off-grid cafe that doesn’t use electricity, and we’ve been running it since last November. (Check it out on Instagram @Cafe_Off_Grid.)

I also fell in love with preserving native plants in South Korea. Since graduating from the program, I’ve rented a small farm where I can start growing rice and other native plants. I’ve also been hosting a book club for people who are interested in self-sufficiency. As a Mother Earth News subscriber, I’ve found really great articles that I’ve wanted to share with the group. My friends and I translate the articles into Korean together so we can actually discuss the articles’ contents. We read “Pure and Simple Kitchen Craft” (April/May 2019) and hosted a small workshop where we carved a wooden stirrer by following the steps in the article. I’m planning to visit the Mother Earth News Fair in Topeka, Kansas, in October.

I wish more people could be fulfilled by leading a simpler life. I believe Mother Earth News can act as a bridge between their current life and one of self-reliance.

Minju Kim
Gunpo, South Korea

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