Karaot Seed Association, which set out for local seeds that were on the verge of disappearing, attracted attention from the visitors of Ecology İzmir Fair.

The Association, which pioneered the finding and reproduction of many local seeds and their distribution to producers, brought many saplings together with end consumers and industry professionals with the fair.

For the tenth time this year, hosted by İzmir Metropolitan Municipality, T.C. Ecology İzmir Fair, organized by İZFAŞ with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and in cooperation with the Ecological Agriculture Organization Association (ETO); continues to welcome its visitors. Ecology İzmir Fair, which has been hosting end consumers and industry professionals at fuarizmir since May 15; It also hosts many organic products. Visits to the Ecology İzmir Fair, where international meetings, sectoral exchanges and meetings about Türkiye's place in the organic sector are held, are free of charge between 10:00 and 19:00.

1 million kilometers with only volunteers

Karaot Seed Association Board Member Aytuğ Gündüz, who took part in the fair with its saplings, explained the foundation process and purpose of the association. Gündüz said, “We started this journey with one of our founders, Feray Karapınar and the small producers in Karaot Village. Our aim is to reproduce our local seeds that are on the verge of disappearing, to increase and protect biodiversity, and to protect them. While doing all these, we did not receive support such as European Union funds or projects. We have stated these very clearly in the statute of our association. We are approaching our 14th anniversary. We have traveled up to 1 million kilometers in so many years. We only did it with our volunteer teams,” he said.

We want to pass it on to future generations

Indicating that they want to become a cooperative in the following years, Gündüz said, “We visited 700 – 800 villages. We started to try and grow some of the varieties we obtained from these villages and the old grandmothers in the villages. We did not use chemical fertilizers and pesticides in cultivation. As an alternative to these, we have applied natural methods to combat harm. We researched how it was done in the past and got positive results. Our biggest goal and ideal is to turn our association into a cooperative. This cooperative is primarily run by women. In this way, we want to leave something to future generations. We are all volunteers, there are no professionals among us," he said.

Need movement

Indicating that the interest in Ecology Izmir Fair was quite high, Gündüz stated that public institutions should also take responsibility for agriculture. Gündüz said, “There is a lot of interest in Ecology İzmir Fair. But there is interest from an urban audience. It goes according to its own needs. The biggest reason for our crisis in agriculture is the decrease in our producers. That's why people buy products at high prices in the market today. It produces a limited mass. Reflexes at the fair are very nice, but not a manufacturer's reflex. Consumers have an interest in meeting their own needs. These are very nice, but there must be a movement in the public interest. Hundreds of people have visited, but we have never heard the question of 'what can I do for the public good'. We have such a problem. When the question of 'what can we do' begins to be asked, the right things will move forward," he said.