Berkay Tunali is a filmmaker with around 10 years of experience, specializing in documentaries as well as different types of video production for positive change for humanity and the environment. Currently, he’s really interested in finding suitable storytelling for the main target audience in his works. He is the director, cinematographer, and also editor in this project.

Ilkim Idil Bursa is part of the team as the second camera operator and co-editor. Previously, she worked on various productions around the world as a producer and cameraman.

Barbaros Vardar is our farmer, has a long life full of adventures and enterprises. Now, retired, finds happiness in growing trees, doing İyi tarım. Skeptical at first, because this Onarici tarım was too good to believe, he wants to try now to help biodiversity.

Begoña Rodriguez is a Spanish Medical and Scientific Illustrator, a teacher at Trakya Universitesi. Environmentalists since the cradle, couldn’t hold herself from getting into activism in Turkey. She is the scriptwriter and pre-film researcher.

As the time to finish the project approaches we get more excited, nervous, doubtful… and questions arise. One of them is, will our documentary make any effect on the target audience? And, will we have any chance to reach them? Although we really want to make a difference, the reality shows that the chances are very low.

By experience, we know that most of the people that come to informative events about organic agriculture or similar alternatives are people that are already interested. Go to any course about organic farming and try to find a “real” farmer. Most of the attendants are retirees, university professors, people interested in permaculture that own a small garden for the weekends, people that love nature and want to learn to grow food without damaging nature…, but the real farmers, the ones that bring the food to our tables, don’t go. Our dear Yeşim Güriş was sadly saying how in her events, where she is promoting the usage of Soyuhan Gübresi -the brown gold for natural farming-, people go but none of them are the farmers that we need for the switch. When talking with staff from İl Tarım ve Orman Müdürlüğü in Edirne area about the need to revolve the system, they agree, but they say it is very difficult to move the farmers mind-setting. Knowing how difficult the task is, we take this chance to heartily thanks, for their tireless work, the personnel of Afyon Karashihar (Konya) and Yozgat İl Tarım ve Orman Müdürlüğü in their research, diffusion, and educational works about alternatives to conventional farming, more respectful with the environment and, also, profitable.

We should remember the secret of happiness: low expectations. So, don’t take this low expectation as a negative thing, let’s just keep our feet on the ground and hope that after the documentary is finished we can, at least, reach the audience. And for that, we will need the help of everyone reading this. Although the target audience is farmers, anyone should help to promote it, even if you live in a city, your support as a consumer and as a vector to spread information is really valuable.

Barbaros Vardar, our farmer, asks his worries, his doubts about this system, questions it, the practice, the production, the profitability… He is a good example of a change: in the beginning, he was reticent to believe that farming without plowing was possible and profitable, it was difficult to convince him, but not impossible. He just needed to see the practical example, and that took some time to find. After seeing the example, in Tolga Havsa’s farm, Begoña recalls him very excited saying, “if this is true, this must be a revolution!”. With these words, she heard the choral of the 9th Symphony of Beethoven one her mind, the sound of hope.

More hope, the young generation. Some of Begonia ́s students are sons and daughters of farmers, and when they learn about Onarıcı tarım (or any of the other names that it has), they get very surprised, all of them say “my family will laugh at this’’, but they are interested and willing to try in the school garden. This little regenerative experiment was truncated by the COVID19 but they will try when they get back to school. They are the next generation, they see farming as a boring job, just going up and down with the tractor spraying pesticides and fertilizers, monoculture, monotony… but this system gives them hopes: they love the idea of becoming heroes storing carbon underground, helping to mitigate climate change, having animals in the farm (like the old times), help biodiversity, save water, and produce tasty food without chemicals. Even in some of my medical students, I see the shine in their eyes, like “hmmm, this may be a good thing to do’’, because, why not? They study to become doctors to help to heal people, but what better way to help people than tackling the problem from the root? (literally). We all know that fertilizers and pesticides are sickening our farmers, our people, our water, our nature…, but until now it was impossible for them to think in a way of farming the fee of chemicals. In Berkay’s case, as anyone familiar with farming, the main question was how to farm successfully without tilling, which is, actually, the main deterrent for farmers to change.

As with the students, the same surprise and willingness to help to change farming could be seen in the eyes of the youngest member of our crew, İlkim İdil Bursa, not in her 30s yet, when she joined us on the trip to find how regenerative works in Konya. And like everyone, she wondered, why is this alternative farming almost unknown in Turkey? We were gladly surprised, during the making of the documentary, that there were many more farmers than we expected already leading the change, but still, they are just a tiny fraction of the sector. And with the same hopes as these revolutionary farmers, we are want to make the information available to everyone, not only in social media but also directly to the farmers, in the village’s Muhtar centers, helped by local governments, organizing meetings to share the documentary and the “Pulluksuz tarım” book, by Mehmet Karli, where he explains simply and clearly the science of soil.

We hope this article has arisen your curiosity and that you start finding information on the internet, (easier in English or Spanish, but not so much in Turkish). You can find examples, studies, and enterprises under the different names that the system has: regenerative farming, carbon farming, conservation farming, minimal tillage farming…, but the keywords are “healthy soil”. Fortunately, there is more and more information in the Turkish farmer’s groups on social media, and we hope to join forces with them to keep spreading and accelerating the change, because we need it, urgently.

We hope.

Written by

Impact Journalism Grant Programme // Medyada Değişim Yaratanlar İçin Hibe Programı

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