“Let’s go to Korea. Or more accurately, Let’s move back to Korea. Anjeong, South Korea to be specific. Soyeon and I invite you to join us. Become an Anjeong Chingu, or a ‘Friend of Anjeong.’ We’ll see you there!”
-Peter and Soyeon Gallo of the Kimchi Farm
“한국으로 가요.” 보다 정확히 말하자면, 특정한 지역 안정마을, “한국으로 돌아가요.”
소연 그리고 피터와 안정 친구가 되시길 원하시는 분을 초대합니다. 안정 마을에서 만나요!
- 김치 농장의 피터와 소연 겔로
I’m Peter Gallo… Currently reporting from Albuquerque, New Mexico (USA). I have to say “USA” because most people don’t realize that New Mexico is in the United States. Most Americans don’t even realize that! Albuquerque has been my adopted home for about 20 years, but I am still considered a tourist, here. Many New Mexican families have ancestors that go back before white settlers arrived in 1492. My wife, Soyeon, joined me here in Albuquerque during 2009, and together with help from some very handy friends started the Kimchi Farm. Kimchi is the name of a spicy fermented food from Korea. Soyeon is also from Korea, and she loves hot peppers, called gochu in Korea. I also fell in love with hot peppers after I move to New Mexico and first tried roasted green chile. Eventually, I learned how to grow hot peppers, along with many other staples of New Mexico cuisine.
While studying agriculture, I’ve also become an educator, and I’ve come to understand that the local heritage foods that are so much a part of traditional culture need to to be grown and processed by the people who consume them. Organic food, anti-GMO, the local food movement, and food justice all emphasize how essential it is for communities to have control over their food. So, the answer to many of the world’s problems is “grow your own”.
Even though, I’m socially awkward/ challenged I’ve still managed to travel in Europe and Asia, and I’ve learned that I could get by teaching English, but that if I wanted to have a positive influence, then encouraging young people to grow their own food was one of the most important things I could do.
Soyeon and I first met in Gwangju, South Korea where I was living and teaching ESL in a hogwan. She introduced me to her parents who have been rice farmers for most of their lives in the small village of Anjeong, where she and her brothers grew up. Anjeong is name of the small village that we are moving to in South Korea. The name Anjeong also has an ancient meaning, “comfort” or “stable”. So we are starting a club: The Friends of Anjeong. We want to spread all the enthusiasm and support for new farmers to the youth of Korea by creating a foreign exchange program for the educators and farmers of the world. Want to help us take Kimchi Farm on tour and start this kind of organization? Maybe you already want to join so you can come stay with us!? Please follow the Anjeong Chingu Blog for updates on how to join.
This is the story of moving back to Korea, and eventually what it’s like to live there as a so-called expat and in Soyeon’s case, an ex-Korean. Anjeong Chingu will keep you inspired, informed, and entertained with our posts. It’s also an invitation to join us.