A day in Sile Ovacik Village
Interview about “A day in Sile Ovacik Village” project
Fatma was one of the friends I met in 2000s when I started my business life. The roads that we have deviated from working life over the years brought us back together. I quit corporate life and returned from the Southeast Asian cycling tour. After that I also founded the Bisiklet Gezgini (Bicycle Traveler) shop on top. In our shop, we were improving the market about a life with bicycle travels and supporting cycling tourists in every respect. One day Fatma came to the shop to drink our tea. It was year of 2013. I had a serious consciousness with Fatma on slow food, real food, local seed.
“Come with your bicycles,” said Fatma to the Kabakoz Seed Exchange Festival organized by Biovacık, Ovacik Village Women’s Seed Association and Sile Municipality. We said “with pleasure”. We pedaled to Kabakoz village with a group of 50 cyclists. We camped by the sea at night. The next day, we organized bicycle workshops at the festivities. Its taste remained in our palate. Seed exchange festivals continue to be held in other cities and Sile. The “A Day in Ovacık Village” local development project that is prepared last year was one of three ideas that deserved to be implemented. How did they come to these days? What are the details of the project and how can we support this project on a voluntary basis, as an association, NGO, university, or just anyone with various abilities? The answer to the questions is in our interview below.
Note: Sile Ovacik Village also has bicycle and trekking routes that connect to the surrounding villages. Sile Municipality will start the construction of a bicycle road passing through an eleven km forest soon. Sile and Ovacik Village are waiting for your visit with real food and many nature activities.
Who is Fatma Denizci? Can you tell us about yourself?
I worked in finance departments for 25 years in private companies. In 2010, I finished my professional life and started working for nature, peasant women and peasant youth.
How did you meet Şile Ovacık village?
My husband and I love spending time in nature. We searched to buy land for ourselves and make a house where we will live in retirement. We found Sile Ovacik Village in 1994 and fell in love with this village. We built our house and started growing vegetables and fruits. We built a full farm with our cows, chickens and bees.
How did organic farming begin? How did you decide to get a certificate?
We received Organic Agriculture Certificate in 2010. To make organic farming, you need to start with organic or local seeds. It wasn’t that easy to find. I traveled from village to village to find local seeds. I participated in seed exchange festivities. I asked for seeds from my family elders in Konya. I learned how important it is to farm with good, clean seeds.
For what purpose was Ovacik Village Women’s Seed Association founded? What is the mission and philosophy of the association?
Ovacık Village Women’s Seed Association was established with the aim of making sustainable contributions to the society by creating common values with the view that local seeds are the basis of real food production and life in the area where food is produced. To create awareness in the society by implementing and expanding ecological agriculture, traditional peasant agriculture, natural agriculture, permaculture and all other agricultural models, which is an alternative to industrial agriculture, for the protection of local seeds, village varieties that are disappearing day by day and the standard seeds that can adapt to different ecosystems. Working is one of the main goals of our association.
What does seed exchange mean? How do you see the role you played in seed exchange festivals and the future of seed exchange?
Prohibition of the sale of unregistered seeds according to the Seed Law in our country leads to the disappearance of local seeds. The main purpose of seed clearing festivities is to ensure that local seeds are protected and kept alive by hand, without selling. We made our Sile Ovacik Village Seed Exchange Festival for the first time in 2012. Seed exchange festivities gave us the idea of opening a Producer Market. There was no regularly established producer market in Sile. When women could not find a place to sell what they produced, they did not produce. In 2013, we opened the producer market with 10-15 women producers. Then we realized that this was not enough for Sile and Istanbul. We opened the Sile Natural Products Market with the contributions of Sile Municipality, Sile Agriculture District Directorate, Sile Tourism Association and Ovacik Village Women’s Seed Association. This year we organized our 5th Sile Seed Festival.
What is Slow Food? For what purpose was Slow Food Şile Bonito Union?
Slow Food; It is an international and publicly supported organization established in 1989 in response to the rise of fast food and fast life and the disappearance of traditional food. Slow Food works to protect food biodiversity and traditions all over the world, thanks to the convivium created by volunteers. We established the Slow Food Sile Bonito Group in 2014. Our aim is to help people access good, clean, fair food, protect biodiversity, promote family farming, reveal lost flavors, and bring producers and consumers through real food. Our goal was to turn our market into a sales area called Yeryuzu Pazari / Earth Market, which is included in the Slow Food movement. On November 15, 2015, we were registered as Sile Yeryuzu Pazari / Earth Market and we managed to announce our name in an international area. The secret of our success is the consensus of local governments and NGOs.
Which channels would you recommend to those who want to reach real food?
We need to know where our food comes from and who produces it. It is possible to shop from producer markets and organic markets. Very beautiful formations have been established in the past few years. Food communities, such as consumer cooperatives. These are the systems that protect both the producer and the consumer, which were established to support the small producer. Just as we want.
Can you tell us about “A Day in Ovacik Village” project?
Our “A Day in Ovacık Village” project, which will be carried out by the Sile Municipality, Sile Tourism Culture and Promotion Association, and by the Ovacık Village Women’s Seed Association was chosen as one of the three projects to be supported in 2018 of Future is in Tourism, which is carried out in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP),The Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Anadolu Efes. With the project, local people will experience the art of harvesting and harvesting traditional food from ancestral seed. Recipes will be prescribed with local food training. While all these are experienced, in line with the responsible tourist and responsible business principle; local people and guests will also be informed about environmental impact. The target is to diversify the livelihoods of the local people and increase the level of welfare by creating a sustainable tourism movement in the region.
What are the supports you need to realize the project?
We need support in issues such as ecological architecture, permaculture, waste management, gastronomy, environmental activities, web page construction, logo, poster, brochure design, training of villagers.
How people who want to support can reach you?
Social media accounts of the project have not been opened yet. We will open it as soon as possible and share the processes, activities and needs related to the project. For now; They can reach us at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Update of the project “a day in Ovacik Village”
Our video, where you can watch exquisite images from the day of special for International Women’s day in 2020 event, is on our 700binkm YouTube channel. We appreciate this project as 700thousandkm, the rural development, the realization of women’s labor and most importantly, the return to the village are the movements we value very much.
“A Day in Ovacik Village” project has been launched, you can attend an experience workshop by appointment. They announce the workshops from the @ovaciktabirgun instagram account and receive registration. We had a new interview with Fatma Denizci after the project was launched. In a pickle workshop with 100 women. Don’t miss this new interview.