Have you ever heard about wwoofing? This is one of the most representative Knowledge Sharing projects worldwide and we were quite impatient to experience it along our journey. The principle is easy: you as volunteer offer your time and energy by working at an organic farm and in return you have accommodation and food provided by the host. Besides learning rural skills, it is also the matter to get closer to a different culture and meet local people by helping them in their daily work. In Turkey, the wwoofing organisation is called TaTuTa and we got the chance to be hosted during one week at the Bayrak farm, located in the small village of Gümüshaciköy in the Amasya region.
After getting retired, Ibrahim Bayrak and his wife Birsel built their own farm and have been working for the last eight years mainly in the production of organic jams (strawberry, blackberry, rose hip) and growing apple trees. Their way of living is a remarkable example of ecologic sustainability: what they produce not only fulfils their basic needs but also provides friends and family with healthy and delicious food.
Besides getting inspired by their hard-working and generosity, we learned constantly from their farming know-how. Our daily tasks consisted on picking ripe fruits and vegetables (berries, pears, peppers, tomatoes, beans, potatoes, …), helping out in the process of producing marmalade and other farming activities like watering the fields, removing bad weeds or participating in the preparation of their amazing meals.
We would definitely recommend this enriching experience to everyone. It did not only teach us the technics behind farming but also made us think about where our daily food comes from and the benefits of a sustainable and organic production versus what you are used to get in supermarkets. Also, meeting these wonderful persons and their environment was something we won’t forget.
Zelazo is a creative space situated in the Anatolian side of Istanbul, more exactly in the laid back moda neighbourhood. Started in April 2012 and being run by Nazlı and Mehmet (both DIY and design passionates), Zelazo is both a shop where you can buy handmade clothes and carefully crafted products, and also a local where knowledge is being shared through regularly organised workshops (Bike manufacturing, DIY furniture, notebooks, accessories… ). Basically, your will to do creative stuff will be exponentially increased if you happen to pass by and join their activities.
For this first time since the beginning of our project, most of the attendees had a designer background and were really interested in the tools we taught. As well as CartoDB, we also pointed out Ushahidi as an easy way of generating georeferenced data visualisation which don´t require programming skills. For example, it was particularly relevant for the project Kapi Komsum, a platform for sharing used products between neighbours.
Although we presented our workshop to a small group, we had a very intense discussion and the topic of open data generated a great interest. As the majority of the participants expressed, Turkey cannot be counted under the most active countries promoting transparency at political level. Even though it participates on the Open Government Partnership initiative since 2011, none of the commitments presented on the action plan has been realised yet. Promised were three websites to promote transparency (www.transparency.gov.tr and www.spending.gov.tr) and active participation of the citizens (www.regulation.gov.tr) but no one has been implemented yet. As many other countries, the National Statistics Institute (TÜIK) publishes data on its platform, which you can directly browse and download. Unfortunately, the formats and structure of the data don´t comply to the open definition which makes it difficult to access and be used.
With this last event at the gate of Europe, we completed the first section of our journey. Now it’s time to sum up the information gathered in the last weeks and to go ahead with the next steps in India and Asia. Stay tuned!