South Korea

National Commission

Chairperson of the Committee:
Ahn Wansik
A researcher of local species. As a senior advisor at Korean Academy of Native Species, he has been playing an important role in collecting, preserving, and spreading native seeds in Korea. Dr. Ahn began to have interest in indigenous seeds about 30 years ago, when he joined a training course on plant genetic resources in Japan. After that, he served as a director of the National Agrobiodiversity Center at the Rural Development Administration and devoted himself to establishing gene bank for the stable preservation of seed. In 1986, he collected 5,100 seeds with help from more than 7000 training officers of Agricultural Technology Service Centers around the country. Now, even in his 70s, he collects seeds from around the country and raises various crops at his home. He has written books such as “The Seeds We Need to Keep” and “How to Gather Our Seeds”. In the former, he emphasizes the importance of local seeds, and in the latter he introduces how local farmers gather seeds. One of his books, “The Encyclopedia of Korean Crop Land-Races,” describes about 2,500 different crop varieties in Korea. He also established and runs the non-profit organization “Seed Dream” which has 6,000 members in on-line community

Committee Members:
Joon Kim
He is a researcher at JeonNam Research Institute. He studies fishing village societies. Over 20 years, he has walked seashores and islands and met fishermen around the country looking for a long-standing relationship between the ocean and humans. He has a wide range of publications introducing islands, seas and mudflats and sharing fishermen’s wisdom with people.
His recent book “Journey to the Taste of the Sea” tries to build a bridge across the divide between people, land and sea through seafood on our table. He believes the only way to preserve the sea and mudflats is communication between people from both seaside and land. He has also written books such as “Islands Culture Voyage,” “Joon Kim’s Mudflat Story,” and “Salt Trip with my Father.”

SeongJa Park
After her involvement in the founding of Slow Food Korea, she served as the secretary general and executive director. Now, she works as a vice chairperson of Slow Food Korea. For the past 40 years, she has dedicated her time to developing Korea’s farming villages, especially for women. She has also worked to make policies for women and welfare policies at government. Through these activities, she has contributed to improving women’s quality of life in farming villages. She is now preparing to establish the Slow Food Biodiversity Foundation in Korea.

JongSook Park
She is the head of the Food Research Institute of Gyeonggi Province and operates a traditional soy source and soy paste academy. Through her various activities, such as royal food researcher and working with the Korea Institute of Taste, she studies local and traditional foods. She tries to spread the local cuisine through her blog “Jongsook Park’s Handmade Studio,” her cooking columns and articles, TV cooking shows and college lectures. She has published books such as “The Basics of Dishes and Side Dishes,” “Jongsook Park’s Morning Meal,” “Jongsook Park’s Dinner Table,” and “Traditional Local Cuisine – Seoul, Gyeonggi-do”.
GyeongSik Yang
He is a researcher at Jeju Biodiversity Researth Institute. He contributed to building the Institution of Habitat Maintenance for protecting and preserving endangered insects and species in Jeju. He runs education programs on biodiversity for students from elementary to high school. He also studied endangered species at Mt. Halla and analyzed animals’ habitats. His environmental impact assessment survey has helped minimize the damage to creatures brought on by the exploitation and destruction of the Jeju environment.

SungHee Yoon
He is head of Heuksalim (Soil Saving) Native Seed Institute. He studied field crops in graduate school and has been researching organic farming and local seeds for over 20 years. While working at Heuksalim Native Seed Institute, he wrote books such as “The Theory and Practice of Organic Farming” and “The Reasons for Farming on This Land.” He has educated over 30,000 farmers over the last 20 years. He also took charge of organic certification. In 2010, He worked as a trainer of organic certification inspectors in Myanmar. Currently, he works on a native seed project by collecting, researching, and spreading over 1,500 kinds of seeds. He took charge of an IFOAM pre-conference on the subject of organic seeds in 2011.

WookJeong Lee
A program director of food and cooking. He directed the documentary “Noodle Road,” which captures the history and culture of noodle dishes around the world. Believing that, to create a program on cooking he should know how to cook, he went to study at Le Cordon Bleu in London. Based on his experience in London, he wrote a book called “Cook Cook,” introducing his London cooking program, star chefs, and problems in Korean food. Back in Korea, he opened a cooking studio for a professional cooking program and now is preparing a cooking documentary titled “Cooking Human.” He believes that food culture is the synthesis of wisdom that humans gain from continuous communication with nature, and he works on this documentary out of a deep concern about losing food culture.

SukYeong Lee
Team leader of resource management at the National Agrobiodiversity Center of Rural Development Administration (RDA). Since starting his career at RDA in 1993, he has been involved in the collecting, growing, and surveying of genetic resources, and has also worked with the international cooperation team. From 2003 to 2005, he worked at the International Plant Genetic Resource Institute (now named International Biodiversity Institute). Not only did he play an important role in collecting and preserving native seeds, he has also contributed to the stable preservation of seeds abroad, running training programs to raise professionals on generic resources in developing countries.