Buğday: Creating Social Change One Step at a Time

DSC_0034 Our experience at Dedetepe has been focused on coming closer to the environment and in becoming more aware of how we can change the way we live in order to practice a greener lifestyle. We spoke to a number of different people, starting today with Güneşin Aydemir. Our meeting with her was very inspiring because she told the story of Victor Ananias, a man who brought on a lot of change through his ideas about the environment. He started small and ended up sparking a movement that was the basis for Buğday, the extensive network currently in place that implements a lot of green projects throughout Turkey.

Victor’s work began as he noticed a particular system inefficiency, the fact that consumers did not understand the stories of those who produced their foods. In order to remedy this, he opened a store first, where farmers could explain how they produced their goods. He later moved on to a restaurant and finally created a group of people who helped him to  develop Buğday, his organization where Güneşin works today. Buğday worked in a number of products, focusing on a lot of grassroots initiatives and today helping with the creation of organic markets in Istanbul. Some of the grassroots movements coordinate the buying and selling of different crops and create monitoring  systems for farmers to be accountable to each other. Güneşin also mentioned the idea of creating prosumers and of erasing the difference between consumers and producers. Finally one of the most interesting things that she talked about was how new communities were created where parents could talk about alternative eating, education and medicine. Therefore creating new spaces for people to discuss and develop alternative methods for growth. This is an interesting concept, which we will continue to discuss as we visit the “Happy Goat” school and look into how social entrepreneurs have found alternatives to the traditional channels for poverty relief and “development”.

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