Regenerative Agriculture

Berkay Tunali — filmmaker with around 10 years of experience, specialising 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 the right storytelling for the main target audience in his work. He grew up in a small scalefarm with his family who grew most of their own food with changing and evolving farming approaches and techniques over the years. That is why finding better approaches in agriculture which can help his parents in more practical ways has been one of the main motivations for Berkay to start this project. Through this process, he would like to share the insights and useful information with his family, other farmers and who else is interested in bringing more sustainable approaches to agriculture in Turkey and beyond.

During the last years the global situation on climate change, plastic pollution, lack of water, over consumption… etc. kept growing. There is information about these problems everywhere but it seems that people simply deny it or just surrender feeling that nothing can be done. We need to teach the problem and the solutions that each one of us has in our daily lives, think global act locally and encourage the students to use their artistic skills to raise awareness as well as share the solutions that we find. This mind setting led to a grant from BeMed (a coalition of foundations based in Monaco to help the Mediterranean Sea in the fight against plastic), that has helped us, in Trakya University, to raise awareness and reduce plastic usage.

Trakya University is in an agricultural region. Actually, agriculture is one of the most important industries of Turkey, is one of the top producers of the planet. In my free time, I help in the farm of a friend, which made me wonder about the need of tillage or plowing. Through that questioning I found that there was an alternative to conventional farming that can be a great help palliating the advance of Global warming, preservation of biodiversity, saving water, and reducing the chemical usage in farming. It sounds too good to be real, but it is. This kind of farming is mostly known as Regenerative farming, but also as Carbon farming, preservation farming, and maybe other different names.

Summarizing, it is ecological farming with the “novelty” of no-tilling or plowing, and, it is profitable. I tried unsuccessfully to convince my farmer friend of the awesomeness of this practice unsuccessfully. I learned through videos, documentaries in English… I shared with my students and this farming gave them hopes for the future. Carbon/regenerative farming can absorbe up to 10 tons of Carbon from the atmosphere and store it under the farming soils.

There are a few farmers doing this in Turkey and all of them shared a few things: they were adventurous and all of them spoke in English. Seems as the barrier to spread out this farming system is not only the well-known farmers’ stubbornness but also the lack of examples in Turkish. There is a lot of information in English or Spanish about this, but very little in Turkish. Our drive to explain this story is the environment, the drive of the average farmers is the profitability in their operation.

So, at the time to communicate this farming system we need to focus on profitability and productivity because if we approach farmers from the environmental point of view, they will not care. With this film, we will try to explain the mechanism of soil biology with the help of researchers and regenerative farmers, and hopefully, once it is understood, farmers will also appreciate more nature, and the general public will learn that there is hope, if they support farmers.

While the idea of making a documentary boiled in my brain and was talking with other friends on how to make it, Berkay Tunali called me asking to collaborate for Project Zoom. And here we are embarked with my farmer friend and another young filmmaker, on a trip to understand the details of regenerative agriculture, explained from Turkish farmer to Turkish farmer, hoping to open the eyes to a new way to see farming and the future.

Written by

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

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