Narkoy [Nar’s village] is a huge organic farm in the north of Turkey, with everything inside. All possible plants, animals, 16 workers, all the time at least a few international volunteers. Everybody smiles, everybody welcomes you, happy that you join the community for a few days, few weeks.
Ahmed, father: This was my wife’s dream. She started with a small field, set up an individual company, then our son joined with his wife and the company grew a little bit. Then, we decided to buy a bigger land. Finally, we found this place empty for more or less 20 years. It was perfect for us, we wanted to open an organic farm, at least we could be sure the land is clean.
Beste, daughter: My mother used to have this hidden dream of having an educational, organic farm, since years. It turned out that, simultaneously, my brother who is a businessman interested in education & training, had the same idea but with a hotel inside. In 2002 my mother established a consultancy company (where she was giving consultancy and training mostly to families and students). A couple of years later, my brother decided to work with her and he founded the corporate part of the company. Then, this dream of founding a training center and organic farm started to become more real, with the power of the family business behind. In 2006 we decided to look for land.
Nar, mother: I was born on a farm, managed by my grandma. I believe farming is important, if you make your own food, you have freedom. I’m nomad, with my family I used to go to mountains, they taught me about nature, growing your own food. They also taught me diversity, in our house there were always foreign people, we talked many different languages and I loved it. That’s what I want to do here as well. I don’t like a world based only on money, power, I want to dream and put dreams into practice. I also volunteered a lot, we helped each other, we felt, shared, looked in the eyes. It’s empathy. We are all human.
The human touch is something you feel in Narkoy from the very first moment. Although almost none of the workers speak English, all of them come to introduce themselves, they love to interact, share, proving that language is not a barrier.
Nar: We are working all together, feeling good together, learning from each other. We can earn clean money, make our own food. I didn’t do all this alone. But I had a dream and I dared to share it with others. People thought I’m really crazy, they said it’s impossible. If nobody had come with me, I would have tried alone. But I was lucky, my daughter, my son, my son’s wife believed in me.
Beste: I studied interior design. Then I decided to study architecture. The year I started my architecture studies was the year we bought the land for the farm. I fell into the project, from the start. I was in the architectural team, following every step of the architectural project, from the sketch to the realization. This project became my second school. Within the project I discovered sustainability, ecology, the philosophy and ethics behind it. Creating a change, doing something for the people and for nature. I believe that being able to sustain this system without compromising the principles is the biggest success for us. We’ve created an organic farm on 10 hectares and an ecological hotel and training center. We have started with an ethic. We said we would be simple, real, sustainable, transparent in every aspect of the project, from the management to the architecture, from the agriculture to the training, from the staff to the founders. It is always very difficult to initiate a new system. Introducing something not conventional, not accustomed makes you confront lots of paradigms, resistance and discouragement. Under those circumstances you might become fragile and weak and sometimes it becomes very difficult to keep all the principles. I believe we did.
We also believe so. Spending on the farm we have seen those principles in many details. They try to be efficient, yet open and flexible. Workers are responsible for their fields, not controlled in every step. As volunteers we had very clear working hours, which were never compromised, by any occasion. We were treated with respect and big love, especially by Huria, the one responsible for volunteers. Even without English she was able to explain everything to us, she gave us so much positive energy, attention, that till now, few months after, we still miss her. As much as so many others, who day by day tried to catch some new words in English, practicing with us during the tasks and the meals we shared. Every morning starts with a common breakfast, in the middle of the day people gather for lunch, prepared from organic, local products. There is time for eating, talking, laughing, playing instruments, singing, and just being together. Then, after a few more hours of work and around 5 pm most people go home. Those who stay are the volunteers, Nar and Ahmed, few more people with whom we shared the dinner, step by step discovering their stories, way of thinking, motivation, philosophy of life.
Nar: Firstly dream! I always say: if you have a dream, you have a job. Try to put it into practice, step by step.
Beste: Even a baby step has a meaning and it has the power to create a change. Try to find your soul and be connected to that. This gives you the power and shows you the way.
More information: Narkoy