The Korea Herald


Seoul’s urban expats seek gardening oasis

By Korea Herald

Published : April 23, 2013 - 20:13

    • Link copied

A group of Seoul expats has gotten together to get its hands dirty with a project to create a community garden to grow vegetables in the heart of the city.

The Maht Baht Community Garden might sound as if it was named after a beloved expat or a Thai idyll, but the name is based on Korean ― from the words for taste and field.

Kang founded SPACE, a center in Gyeongnidan for yoga classes, reiki sessions and other group activities, and got together with the people she met there to start the garden project.
A lettuce seedling (123RF) A lettuce seedling (123RF)

“We at SPACE always thought that building a community garden would be a great way for people to do all that while also providing a beautiful natural oasis amidst the concrete jungle that Seoul often feels like,” she said.

“The big inspiration came last year when we witnessed a small group of Korean women transform an unused, trash-ridden plot of land in Gyeongnidan into a fruitful vegetable garden.

“Watching them reclaim the land and cultivate life where there was waste inspired us to look at the project as a service to our community ― a way to clean up parts of our neighborhood that have been abandoned or abused and give it new life.”

To fund the project, the group has been running a beginner’s gardening workshop at SPACE and other fundraisers.

The group is searching for a plot in the Yongsan area and hopes to find one by the end of April, with the first crops harvested this autumn.

“The plan is to grow vegetables that we could offer at a farmer’s market and also donate to a charity organization,” said Kang.

As a warm-up the group will go and help clean up another plot currently used by Seoulites on May 4. For more information, visit the community garden Facebook group or the SPACE website at

By Paul Kerry (