Bostan – A Garden near your House

Our 2000m2 project is based on the idea that if you were to divide the global surface of arable land by the number of people on the planet, we would each get 2000m². It is on this piece of land that everything Mother Earth supplies you with must grow: wheat, rice, potatoes, fruit, vegetables, oil, sugar… not to mention all the animal feed that does not stem from meadows and pastures. On top of that we also need to grow cotton for our clothes, tobacco for smokers, “bio” gas or diesel, and other so-called renewables on our field.  The idea in looking at global resources through this lens is to creative a more digestible tool for thinking about the food we eat: both our levels of consumption and methods of production.

In Istanbul a community garden project is awaken to a new life. The Bostan garden includes a field the size of 2000 m². Hannes Lorenzen, has recently visited Istanbul and taken the first steps towards a new cooperation: 2000 m² in Istanbul. This is his story.

The word Bostan means garden near your house, where you grow your daily food. And this is what people like to do in Turkey, even when they live in a city of millions – like Istanbul.

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A view on the future garden

I was visiting Bostan when it was still cold, very cold and you could hardly see anyone in the garden. But a long struggle was over – almost 30 years of struggle of Kuzguncuk people to defend their common garden against urbanisation. There were many projects to turn one of the last green areas of Istanbul into concrete. They all were about money instead of community: also schools, hospitals – this might sound like good intensions, but those would have been private profit-making projects, not communal facilities.

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Still cold – but yet sunny
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The amazing Istanbul

People of Kuzguncuk got organized over time, they were supported by lawyers, artists, architects, journalists – all together with a fighting spirit. They organise pick-nicks, festivals, open air cinemas – all free of charge and started negotiating with the municipality to turn Bostan into a community innitiatibe. And a long battle succeeded, because they kept the good spirit over so many years. In 2015 the municipality agreed to turn Bostan into a community garden. Since this spring people can produce their food at Bostan, School gardens and fruit trees included.

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Hannes with Tan, Bogachan, Tulay, Petek and Aylin

The picture shows the core team of the citizens association in a talk with Hannes, Tan, journalist; Bogachan, architect; Tulay, Restaurator and President of Bostan association; Petek, Baker; Aylin, who runs a coffee shop with friends.

At the meeting we envisaged to call for a gathering of community gardens and initiatives, co-organised between Bostan and 2000 m² in Istanbul.

Stay tuned for more about Bostan at 2000m2.eu. You find the Bostan project’s website (in Turkish) here.

 

 

Hannes Lorenzen
About Hannes Lorenzen 20 Articles
Hannes Lorenzen was senior adviser to the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg from 1985 to 2019. Before starting his career in the European institutions, he carried out research, coordination and evaluation work on rural development projects with the Technical Service of the German Government. On the international level Hannes Lorenzen is co-founder of Genetic Resources Action International (www.grain.org) and co-president of the European Rural Development Network Forum Synergies (www.forum-synergies.eu). He is also co-founder of PREPARE, the "Partnership for Rural Europe" network for Central and Eastern European Member States (www.preparenetwork.org), serving as chairman and president until 2016. He co-founded ARC2020 and is its president since 2016. Closer to home, Hannes chairs a local rural development organization on his home island of Pellworm in North Friesland, Germany, which works o organic farming, renewable energy production, soft tourism and nature protection projects in a local dimension.