Sounds, noises, voices and other good vibrations from Turkey

Farming in Küçükkuyu

In Nature on 16/06/2011 at 17:25

Erkan and Tamahine Alemdar used to live in the city. Eight years ago, the couple bought a piece of land in Mıhlı, a few kilometers away from Küçükkuyu, in the Kazdağı region of Turkey where Erkan’s grandmother grew up.

“We wanted to have a self-sustainable lifestyle, grow some vegetables, live in nature, learn about plants and herbs and the olive trees” Tamahine told me when I visited their farm last summer. The Alemdars constantly share their family life with volunteers from all over the world. Every day, except Sunday, they work for five hours with a dozen other volunteers in return for free room and board.

Graham and Scott, two young Canadians, had signed up for three weeks at the Dedetepe farm. When I met them, they were building stonewalls around olive trees.

Listen to Graham and Scott as they describe a typical day at the farm and the art of wall-building:

The Alemdar farm is part of Buğday, an organization that promotes organic agriculture in Turkey. A few years ago, Buğday sowed the seeds of the Ekolojik TaTuTa project, a network of farms that offer city dwellers the experience of an ecological way of life. TaTuTa started in 2003 with some 25 host farms. It now boasts 55 and is aiming for 80.

I also met Maria, an Austrian volunteer at the Dedetepe farm. She had been longing to live that experience for years. She convinced her youngest son, Leon, to take the plunge with her. She proposed two weeks, he wanted one week, so they agreed on 10 days.

Listen to why this 49-year-old schoolteacher insisted on bringing her teenager here:

At the Alemdars’ farm meals are cooked with fresh vegetables from the garden and with natural ingredients from the local market. The olive oil served at breakfast comes from the trees planted on their land. It is also the family’s main source of income.

Around the wooden table, a happy hubbub of English, Turkish and laughter covers up the crickets’ chirps. But once lunch is over and everyone goes to rest, it’s not only the crickets that provide the background music. The horse, the rooster and the sound of a wind turbine cradle those taking naps.

Listen to volunteers enjoying a meal together:

For more information, e-mail, call 0 533 320 89 24 or visit


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