The certified organic farming in Turkey started in 1984. Organic production began with the regulation based on European standards and the demands from abroad. Almost the whole amount of ecological goods produced has been exported, although thanks to efforts of Bugday, the domestic demand and consumption is increasing. Ever since its foundation in 1991, Bugday has been supporting ecological, local and fair food production and responsible consumption by implementing model projects and creating awareness.
The basis of the ecological farmers network in Anatolia was set up with TaTuTa Project, (agro-ecotourism) initiated by Bugday in order to share the experiences and knowledge about ecological living. The focus of all this work was to popularize organic production and to remove the obstacles to enable the public reaching them.
At this period, the idea of ecological public markets was the only solution to create internal organic markets. Turkey’s first 100% ecological farmers’ market was set up in Şisli, Istanbul in the leadership and coordination of the Bugday Association in 2006. Whilst there were 20 stalls at the beginning, in five years, the number of stalls has gone up to 200. Today, the number of markets increased to 6 in Istanbul. Diverse Ecological markets have been set up in Izmir, Samsun, Antalya, Bursa and Ankara.
In its efforts for creating awareness on organic & ecological food, Bugday works with the national media closely, writing and sending press releases on a weekly basis. Bugday is also one of the few associations that have created its own media – the quarterly Ecological Life Guide, weekly newsletter and its through website constantly promotes ecological food and living.
Now we are in a “new” period. Small farmers’ life is not easier but there are more people who understand them. The return from city to village has begun, there are a few and small countryside living places that urbanite lives. Local seeds are sown, harvested and shared in these fields. Topics like traditional agriculture, permaculture, ecological living is interesting more and more people, the knowledge about self-sufficient agriculture and the harmony with nature is gaining momentum. The IFOAM Organic World Congress that will be held in Istanbul in 2014 (www.owc2014.org) and organized by Bugday will be the occasion to share with representatives of the world organic movement, experiences and know-how to pursue the goal of sowing seeds for change.Güneşin Aydemir Bugday Association for Supporting Ecological Living President www.bugday.org