December 04, 2022

Sowing the seeds of improving agriculture: Quakers in North Korea

The American Friends Service Committee has been helping farmers in North Korea for nearly 40 years

On a snowy day in 2001, Ro Song Cho came to Bear Creek. Pausing in Iowa on a seven-week tour of the United States, the-then deputy director of the North Korean ministry of agriculture took time to chat to local farmers, and get pictured with Iowa heifers. Ro even enjoyed a potluck dinner in Bear Creek, eaten in a squat wooden cabin flanked by endless prairie.

This surreal encounter can be explained by the location for the Iowa potluck: the local Quaker Meeting House. For nearly 40 years, the Society of Friends has flourished in North Korea, developing relationships with officials and farmers that improve lives even now.