From April 12 to 14, the town of Foça, on the Aegean coast of Turkey, a few kilometers from Izmir, celebrated the first anniversary of joining the network of Earth Markets with Terra Madre Foça'da, three days of events dedicated to good, clean and fair food.
"We needed an event to promote our ideas and the Slow Food philosophy," Gul Girismen told us. The leader of the Slow Food Foça Zeytindaliı Convivium continued: "Everyone keeps thinking of our market as an ‘organic market.' That's why we wanted to make it clear that ours is much more than a market of ecologically ‘clean' products. With the market, we are protecting our gastronomic traditions, adding value to many women's homemade products and contributing to the local economy of the surrounding small villages." Many different vegetables, herbs and lettuces are on sale at the market, all of excellent quality, as well as bread, preserves, mushrooms, cheese, milk, yogurt and flowers. Taste education activities and seed exchanges are also held at the market.
More than 20 producers from all over Anatolia participated in Terra Madre Foça'da (Terra Madre Foça in Turkish), bringing products like cheese from Kars, a town on the slopes of Mount Ararat famous for its aged cheeses and wide pastures, and wines from Bozcaada, an enchanting Aegean island that guards the entrance to the Dardanelles strait, where the winemaking tradition is rooted in the history and mythology of an ancient past. There was also apple vinegar, wild lavender jam, extra-virgin olive oil and sourdough bread, representing the inexhaustible cornucopia of Turkey's gastronomic riches.
Yet consumers are increasingly unaware of their own traditions, and are especially struggling to recognize which are the ingredients and culinary techniques that make their cuisine one of the richest in the world. This is why Slow Food Foça Zeytindalı wanted to organize a space to dedicate to seminars and workshops, including lessons on wine history, quality oil and sourdough bread. All the sessions were very popular with the public, showing that there is a desire to know more, especially when the subjects are being introduced by experts of the caliber of Ahmet Uhri, an ethno-archeologist and author of many essays on the local gastronomy, and Nejat Kutup, a lecturer at the University of Izmir.
Piero Sardo, the president of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, also gave a talk on the importance of saving food biodiversity, giving the example of many Turkish products that deserve to be protected. Burcu Gezeroglu, a graduate from the University of Gastronomic Sciences, then introduced the Essedra project to the public, a mapping of food biodiversity in Turkey and seven Balkan countries, coordinated by Slow Food and funded by the European Commission. The Essedra projects wants to safeguard the local gastronomic traditions currently at risk of disappearing, and strengthen the capacity civil society in the Balkan countries and Turkey to contribute to constructing rural development and sustainable agricultural policies. In Turkey, Slow Food is collaborating with Mutfak Dostları Derneği, an organization run by Ahmet Örs which has been working for years to promote Turkish gastronomic traditions.
The Terra Madre Foça'da event was made possible by the support of the Municipality of Foça, the City of Izmir, Slow Food and the UNDP Supportive Programme for Turkey.
Foça Earth Market
every Sunday throughout the year
from 8.30 am to 6.30 pm
Gul Girismen (convivium leader) - +90 532 616 82 49, email@example.com
Fadime Zulfikargil (producer) - firstname.lastname@example.org