“We should at least admit that we have destroyed the earth’s natural resources and now we need to travel a long way to reach the natural.”
Yazar: Merve Aktaş
Fotoğraflar: Şener Yılmaz Aslan
Feriköy Ecological Market, with over 550 different products and 36 stalls, is a neighborhood market created in 1990 by Buğday Association for Supporting Ecological Living in Feriköy, a district in Şişli, Istanbul in cooperation with local administrations. The market, located in the marketplace in Feriköy, is open every Saturday from 7 am to 5 pm, looks like any other at first glance and yet it stands apart due to the legal-based factors such as every product sold to be first checked by civil society organizations and public institutions, and not allowing the sale of uncertified products. And yet, the market where you can find a wide range of produce from fruits to vegetables, charcuterie products, and a variety of cereals among others, is also much like the others in that the sellers on the other side of the stalls, despite their tiredness, speak in short but sincere words with the visitors, creating a pleasant shopping experience.
So what does the term “ecological” that makes this market special mean? The world’s largest online encyclopedia describes the concept as: Ecology is the scientific analysis and study of interactions among organisms and their environment. “Ecosystems on the other hand are composed of dynamically interacting parts including organisms, and the non-living components of their environment.” Şişli, population 272k, is a considerably smaller provincial district in Istanbul with its population of approximately 15 million people (2016). Going past Şişli’s hard to walk pavements, and air as thick as cigarette smoke, the market beckons on a sunny Saturday, inviting us to discover ecological nutrition methods, and also giving a sense of happiness and privilege for accessing healthy tomatoes under such difficult conditions.
As the children of an unfortunate generation who will never know the real taste of cheese from Gökçeada, olive oil from Izmir or the fruits from Ankara’s wholesale produce market, we should at least admit that we have destroyed the earth’s natural resources and now we need to travel a long way to reach the natural.
At this point can we really talk about ecological living in an ecosystem that is built on acquiring (and perhaps ordering) the most valuable and natural food to gain maximum benefit from our planet, and to enhance the quality and extend the length of our life that seems shorter despite more advanced technologies than a century ago? As long as people do not depart from their position at the center of life, and learn to respect all living including themselves that make the environment, our one and only planet will continue to be devastated by humans and their systems.
And so we hope to see the days when we will not fear sunrays, the air we breathe will smell of flowers and trees, a bright red wild strawberry or a small lemon will taste powerfully delicious despite their humble looks. And to see that life is meaningful as a whole, and to capture the importance of every single detail that makes the earth exist.