Thanks to many of our amazing friends in South Korea as well as the fabulous KY/Virginia team who traveled with BaeNaChi, the Korea trip 2023 was a huge success!
As the first official travel program curated by BaeNaChi, this introductory trip had an important mission: laying a foundation for sustainable and long-term global partnerships with South Korea. The KY & Virginia team for this trip included Cowan Community Action Group from Eastern Kentucky, FoodChain from Lexington, and Virginia Extension Services (Virginia Tech). Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles also traveled with our group.
We attended some major agricultural events as the goodwill ambassadors of KY & Virginia agriculture and rural heritage. So many great connections were created with our South Korean partners for future global collaboration projects. The highlight of the trip was the 3-day visit to a small rural town in Sunchang, Jeollabukdo. Cultural exchange we did with the village folks was so much fun and beautiful. Their hospitality, kindness, and friendship for us deeply touched our hearts and souls. BaeNaChi Korea trip 2023 was truly about Leaning, Sharing, and Healing!
IAE is a prestigious biennial event organized by a few major agricultural government agencies of South Korea including the Jeollanamdo Agricultural Research and Extension Services. It took place in Suncheon, Jeollanamdo. The topic for this year's event was "Agriculture changes the world: Healing the earth and human health". Our team was invited to attend a symposium on climate change and the role of healing agriculture. Commissioner Quarles delivered a greetings speech, and four from our group participated in the panel discussion. Our Appalachian music team performed at the pre-opening ceremony. We were also special guests at the beautifully prepared official welcome dinner. Kentucky will be invited to this event again in 2025.
It was a special symposium organized by a group of Seoul urban & healing agriculture professionals in collaboration with a few government agencies. Its purpose was to create a venue to share information and ideas for mutual growth and sustainable global collaborations. Healing agriculture or agro-healing is an emerging new field of global agriculture industry, mainly in the European countries and South Korea. Although the term itself is still very new in the US, our team was able to share the stories of community-led healing agriculture programs both in the urban and rural areas in Kentucky and Virginia. We will work with our partners in South Korea to continue the effort to share information and knowledge about the power of agriculture for the mind-body-heart healing.
Located in a rural region in Jeollabukdo in South Korea, Sunchang is known for its Gochujang industry. Bokheung village in Sunchang was our host community. We spent three magical days with the local folks (some of us did homestay), visiting schools, seating together, learning how to make Kimchi and Gochujang, and sharing traditional music and dance from both cultures. A team from this village in Sunchang plan to visit Kentucky next fall. We truly appreciated their hospitality and hope to match it when they visit us.
Jeju Island is a world-famous tourist spot with the highest mountain in South Korea. It is a volcanic island known for its natural beauty and cultural heritage, boasting three UNESCO labels (World Heritage, Biosphere Reserve, and Global Geopark). Our time in Jeju was filled with special healing activities. We got to swim and dive with some Jeju Haenyeo (female divers). We also had a rare opportunity to spend time with rescued horses living in a beautiful wild forest in Jeju.
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