The Legacy of Lee Kyung Hae

By John Feffer

The South Korean farmer snaps a cucumber in two to show me the drops of moisture that bead to the surface around the break. "If you put it back together and wait a minute, then it will stick together," Yang Yoon Seok says. Sure enough, he easily rejoins the severed halves and the cucumber is once again whole. He shakes it around in the air, and, like magic, the vegetable remains intact. "It's not magic," he tells me. "It's organic." The Smile Farm is all organic, a little magical, and very possibly the future of Korean agriculture. It's not a huge farm -- only 4000 pyong or a little over 3 acres. On those three acres, though, Farmer Yang grows thirty kinds of vegetables, all of them organic. He supplies organic stores in the South Korean capital of Seoul, sixty kilometers to the north. He also sells produce from a store that fronts the nearby road and distributes vegetables through South Korea's new organic e-farm system on the web. Thousands of visitors a year make the pilgrimage to study Yang's growing and marketing techniques.