We love to hear stories of collaboration and partnership between the different branches of our network.
One such story arrives from Slow Food Korean and a student from the University of Gastronomic Sciences of Pollenzo who, after learning more about Slow Food here in Italy, decided to return home for her internship to embed herself in the work of Slow Food members and get to directly meet producers working for a good, clean and fair food system in Korea.
We caught up with Yoonjin Ji on her return to Italy to finish her master’s degree, and this is what she had to tell us.
Why did you want to do your internship with Slow Food Korea?
Since I started my studies at UNISG, in the Masters of gastronomy: World food cultures and mobility, I became interested in Slow Food’s mission to work toward good food for all, understanding better the philosophy of getting to know producers and their products. However, I didn’t know much about Slow Food Korea, even though I am Korean. Therefore, I wanted to connect with that philosophy in my own country, understand the system, workers, producers, products, events, and cook’s alliance of Slow Food Korea.
Because of the coronavirus situation, Slow Food Korea also has many difficulties, as the rest of the world has. They had to cancel or postponed all of the events they arranged for this year to next year. In this difficult situation, they needed to innovate, so they deliberated to do something online. This is how the online community and market was born.
I helped developed this online community, working with the biggest platform in Korea. This online space helps the community to communicate and interact with producers and customers while serving also as an online market where customers can use to purchase directly with Slow Food members. The members offer agricultural and livestock products, processed goods, craft items, and intangible things such as lectures and seminars. From this online community, we help Slow Food producers who are in an economic crisis to have a better business. And we help customers find good, clean, and fair food easily. Also, we made a community that can be an active exchange among Slow Food Korea members.
What was your favorite part of working on these projects?
In the online market, producers have to introduce and explain their products or skills to the customers. Therefore, I was able to meet many producers, learn about their products, and know more about the activities of Slow Food Korea. It helped me realize my place as a member of Slow Food Korea, and how I can help the movement grow and spread.
How did this internship help you in your future goals?
I am planning to have my own small business in Seoul, Korea, after I graduate from UNISG. My business will be a cooking studio to teach people how to cook with various ingredients which can be Slow Food products from the Ark of Taste or Presidia; as well as discussing what is world food culture and the sustainability of food. I also want to work with the Korean Cook’s Alliance and promote the local agriculture of my country.
All of these goals require me to understand and to know Korean Slow Food producers. Through this internship experience, I was able to meet many producers and learn about many products from all the regions in Korea. It helped me connect with others who are working for Slow Food Korea.