Today, I ate all my snails at breakfast.
Normally, I might have balked at the idea: a few dozen tiny, round, green-gray bodies floating in a bowl of murky broth, partly hidden by a thick layer of cooked greens. But today, at this table, with this Korean drumming troupe, I ate every single one. I finished the last of the broth with an exaggerated slurp to show I’d enjoyed it, which is what you do when you don’t know how to say you did.
I’ve eaten everything offered to me since I arrived three days ago at the Nanumteo farm in South Korea: countless bowls of chicken, stuffed with dates and rice and garlic, and boiled in a ginseng broth; pork hooves; and dried squid in sweet sauce. I’ve eaten, of course, because I’m hungry, and when you’re in a place where you can’t communicate, you eat when and what you’re given. But I’ve also eaten because I’m deeply, profoundly grateful to have a place at the table.
I’m here because in 1971 a British secretary named Sue Coppard thought it would be nice to get a group of people together to visit organic farms on the weekends.
Because the group she founded became the sprawling grassroots organization called Worldwide Opportunities in Organic Farming, or WWOOF.
And because a WWOOF branch was founded in South Korea in 1997.
Continued on Student Reporter: http://studentreporter.org/2014/09/wwoof-korea-a-bridge-of-the-agricultural-past-and-urban-modernity/