Some good news has just come from Korea – a success in the struggle for the preservation of the Paldang Organic Farmlands.
The Paldang region is the birthplace of modern Korean organic agriculture and has been the source of drinking water for the residents in the metropolitan areas of Seoul. The Korean government under its ambitious Four Rivers' Restoration Project planned to convert the region into bike trails and public parks, claiming that organic agriculture has a negative impact on the water quality of the region.
The struggle of the Paldang organic farmers was joined by the organic, environmental, religious and other social groups in Korea and it became symbolic in the national struggle against the Four Rivers' Restoration Project. Dumulmeori, a beautiful scenic haven in the Paldang region remained the last region to be developed under the Four Rivers' Restoration Project.
In October 2011, the IFOAM membership present at its 20th General Assembly unanimously passed a declaration in support of the Paldang farmers. The Declaration "openly supports the determined efforts to maintain organic management of the land inthe Paldang region" and recognized that Paldang as the birthplace of Korean organic agriculture "has a symbolic value for the national and the international organic movements."
A common consultation body is to set up with the participation of the local governments of the Paldang region (Yangpyeong County and Gyeonggi Province), and the members of the Committee for the Preservation of the Paldang Organic Farmland. The budget for conversion into a community ecological park would be borne by the government. The organic farmlands will be preserved and Paldang will be a model of sustainable development in watersheds.