Izmir Metropolitan Municipality organized a traditional seed exchange event at the Can Yücel Seed Center in Bornova Aşık Veysel Recreation Area. Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Tunç Soyer said, "Those who ban ancestral seeds and allow foreign seeds to take over every inch of the country's land cannot be local or national." Mentioning the importance of the festival, Soyer also gave the message that "Seed is root, tradition, future".
Can Yücel Seed Center, which became operational in Bornova Aşık Veysel Recreation Area in line with the vision of "Another Agriculture is Possible" of Tunç Soyer, the Mayor of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, hosted the traditional seed exchange event. Hundreds of thousands of local seeds brought from every region of Turkey were exchanged for future generations. Workshops and interviews were also held as part of the event program, in which all Izmir residents were invited. Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Tunç Soyer also participated in the local seed planting with the children.
“We have also multiplied the seeds of a calm life in harmony with nature”
Speaking at the event titled "Seed is root, tradition and future", Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Tunç Soyer said, "Today, we came together around the seed, which is the essence of life. I wish that everything we will talk about here will spread to our country and the whole world with the blessing of the seed. We are proud of the way we have come since the Seed Exchange Festival, which we held in Seferihisar for the first time on February 5, 2011. In the 11 years that have passed, we have not only preserved and multiplied our ancestral seeds. At the same time, we have also multiplied the seeds of the main idea that created those seeds, a life in harmony with nature and calm. We made it spread to Turkey and the world. The seed derives its real existence from the power of self-reproduction. This power makes it possible not only to copy oneself, but also to adapt to changing external conditions. Reproducing and adapting to its environment… A seed is a blessing only when these two come together.”
“Those who ban ancestral seeds cannot be local and national”
Stating that these two basic characteristics that produce seeds were banned with the Seed Law No. 2006 in 5553, President Tunç Soyer said, “With this law, the control of seeds has been completely given to companies. This was further reinforced with the regulation issued on October 19, 2018. In other words, our domestic and national seeds were destroyed in plain sight. Hybrid imported seeds, which completely need seed companies and lost their ability to reproduce, paved the way. Along with our culture, roots and knowledge belonging to our past, our future has also been mortgaged. Saying the yield is high, they drowned all parts of the country with imported and foreign seeds. They purged our local seeds and races one by one. While foreign seeds invade our homeland day by day; our lands began to become barren, our lakes to dry up, and our streams to disappear one by one. Our groundwater disappeared hundreds of meters deep. Moreover, those who did these also took the courage of being local and national. Well, what could be more local and national than our seeds, soil and water that make us who we are? When you change the seed, you change everything. When our producer becomes foreign-dependent for seeds, it becomes totally foreign-dependent in agriculture. So it loses its independence. Imported seeds are taking the place of the boots. Those who forbid ancestral seeds and allow foreign seeds to seize every inch of the country's land cannot be local or national. The local and national one is Halil İbrahim Uncle from Gödence, who has kept a handful of Karakılçık seeds in his chest for years with a lot of effort. It is the Anatolian women who protect those seeds with great care, the real local and national ones!” said.
“İzmir agriculture is fed from this root”
Emphasizing that they took the first steps regarding ancestral seeds in the villages in 2009, Mayor Soyer said, “That day, my dear friends went from house to house, from village to village to collect those native seeds. In this process, our biggest supporters have been our women. We turned the treasure accumulated in their chests for hundreds of years into the most beautiful bank in the world. In March 2011, we opened the Can Yücel Seed Center in Seferihisar. In the past 11 years, we have accompanied the organization of seed exchange festivals not only in İzmir and its districts, but also all over our country and in our baby country, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. And exactly 10 years after Seferihisar, we opened the Can Yücel Seed Center in Bornova Aşık Veysel Park in March last year. We brought together the names of two immortal masters such as Aşık Veysel and Can Yücel in the same place to immortalize the seeds of Anatolia. Today, our local seed network in Turkey has extended from İzmir to Ardahan and Kars. We continue to share the seeds we produce with every corner of Anatolia. Our seed mobilization in Eastern Anatolia will continue this spring in Kars Susuz.”
“Despite all obstacles, we will save our country from the grip of poverty”
Emphasizing that a handful of black fish entrusted at the first barter festival in Seferihisar has sprung up on thousands of decares of land in İzmir today, Mayor Soyer continued his words as follows: “Today, we will harvest 700 tons of karakılçık wheat from that handful of seeds. We will buy this karakılçık wheat from our producer for 7 liras. In September 2022, we will increase our seed struggle one step further. We are bringing the world's largest gastronomy fair, Terra Madre, to Izmir in order to make our small producers, who are the protectors of our ancestral seeds, exporters. Terra Madre Anatolia fair is one of the most fundamental steps we take to increase the welfare of İzmir and ensure its fair share. Despite all the obstacles placed before us, we will save our country from the clutches of poverty and drought. We will achieve this by taking the intelligence of a seed as a guide and with the power it gets from simplicity. Our struggle is so that our peasants, who are driven into debt, do not have to be forced into more imported seeds, imported drugs and imported food. In order for our producer to be fed in the place where he was born. So that these fertile lands do not become barren. To end poverty. To keep alive this unique homeland that was entrusted to us by our ancestors. To be able to leave a very good future and a handful of seeds to our children. This is the main purpose of our gathering today at our Seed Exchange Festival. Because the seed is the root, the tradition, the future.
“The place of independence is Izmir”
President Tunç Soyer and his wife Neptün Soyer joined the conversation with journalist-writer and local seed volunteer Cem Seymen after visiting the stands. Referring to the local seed initiatives initiated by Mayor Soyer when he was mayor in Seferihisar, Cem Seymen stated that his visit to the district was a turning point in his journalism life. Seymen said, “It was a visit that helped me understand concepts such as agriculture, seeds, and national independence. I had been to an amazing local market where most of the things I had in mind fell into place. Then I thought a lot about it, researched it, and built my mission entirely on agriculture. President Soyer is keeping on the agenda an event that is so important that it will affect our national independence. So thank you very much. The work done is a patriotism, patriotism. Fortunately, there are soldiers like Tunç Soyer and Neptün Soyer. The place of independence is Izmir. Continue on from Izmir," he said.