Have you ever heard of Foodening? Foodening means urban agriculture, and the word was coined from a compound of 'Food' and 'Gardening'. It refers to the growing of vegetables firsthand in order to get trustworthy food. City dwellers use their own land or space in their homes to grow various types of crops and vegetables. Those without farming or gardening experience run into a lot of difficulties when they try foodening, and some have even reported having troubles creating the optimal environment for growing the plants. As a result, people can now purchase vegetable cultivation kits which make foodening simple. This SMT reporter wanted to participate in foodening and purchased a soybean sprouts cultivation kit.
Why are people attracted to foodening?
The number of people doing foodening reached 1.6 million in 2017, but with the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, the number has increased noticeably. E-commerce company WeMakePrice investigating the sales of lettuce seedlings and soybean sprouts said they had risen 3,398% and 1,284%, respectively, in March last year. The results of this survey imply that foodening interest among people is excelling. There are two reasons why COVID-19 impacted the popularity of foodening. With social distancing mandatory to stop the spread of COVID-19, more time was spent at home, and people began looking for hobbies they could enjoy at home. One example of this is baking, and you can learn more about it in the EXPERIENCE in The Sookmyung Times No. 362. Foodening is another stay-at-home hobby that people can enjoy, and people at home have tried it. And the increase in the number of people who prefer to be self-sufficient is another reason. People who stay at home began to look for ways to solve their needs, which gave rise to Do-It-Yourself (DIY) fever. Foodening is another DIY activity, and people began to grow, harvest, and cook the crops at home.
Foodening has had a positive impact on people. As people make their own foods, they have trust in the food's safety—no bad chemicals for instance—and enjoy fresher ingredients. Another positive element relates to economics. Less is spent on buying food from shops. Vegetable prices have soared in recent years due to climate factors, and it has become a burden on families. However, through foodening, families ease their expenditures on food. Some people do foodening for emotional factors such as the pride they feel in growing their own plants. In particular, city dwellers cannot easily experience farming or gardening due to urban life, but through foodening, they gain experience and knowledge. People also gain pleasure by participating in the process. The positive impacts have contributed to the steady increase in people engaging in foodening and are key reasons behind foodening's attractiveness.
Attracted to its ease and simplicity
As mentioned earlier, a wide range of vegetables can be grown through foodening, but this SMT reporter chose to begin with a soybean sprouts kit as a newcomer to foodening. People who do foodening for the first time usually give soybean sprouts, lettuce, and cherry tomatoes a try. These choices can be attributed to ease and simplicity of those crops. The soybean sprouts kit includes all the tools and ingredients needed to grow the vegetable, as well as a guidebook for those who are new to foodening. To grow soybean sprouts, a box or a PET bottle with several holes punched out on the bottom is needed. The holes in the box and bottle must be smaller than the size of the soybean sprouts. Holes are essential because the excess water poured on the soybean sprouts when they are watered dispenses out. With soybean sprouts seeds at-the-ready, the preparation for growing soybean sprouts is finished. As mentioned earlier, people prefer to grow soybean sprouts as they are relatively easy to grow and care for, and they can be harvested in just five days.
Before planting the soybean sprouts, the seeds were soaked in water for about three hours. Any seed that floats to the surface of the water or looks poorly during this process was excluded. After soaking the seeds, they were moved to a perforated box. In this process, a lot of attention should be given not to pack the seeds too tightly. In other words, to easily harvest the soybean sprouts later, the seeds should not be gathered in one place. Once the seeds have been planted, place a box without holes under the box that contains the seeds. The most important thing is not overlapping the perforated box and the box to collect the excess dispensed water. If the boxes are placed one inside the other, the seeds may get submerged in stagnant water. Therefore, if the perforated box is horizontal, place the other box vertical. After planting the soybean sprouts, the boxes were kept in a dark space as it is the best environment for growing soybean sprouts. Soybean sprouts grow well when they are not in direct sunlight, so boxes should be kept in areas that are blocked off light. After preparing all the environments for harvesting, this reporter watered them five times a day. The more they are watered, the thicker the roots, which resulted in prettier soybean sprouts. In just a day or so, the soybean sprouts began to grow, and in about a week, they stuck out of the box. Harvested soybean sprouts can be used in a variety of dishes. People cook them for eating as a side dish or put them in rice or soup. The dish this reporter made from the harvested sprouts was enjoyed more tastily because the sprouts were grown with sincerity.
Create your own garden
People can harvest their own crops through foodening. The home-grown plants bring more sincerity to the dining table, so more and more people are falling in love with foodening. The process is easy and simple, so even those who haven't experienced foodening before can enjoy it without any burden. Also, whenever you encounter difficulties, you can get detailed help from people familiar with foodening or guidebooks. This SMT reporter gained a lot from investing a small bit of time and effort and hopes that many other Sookmyungians experience the joy and learning from doing foodening.