Turkey – a country built on sustained resilience:


(photo:October 8th in front of the National library in Ankara)

In just one week I’ve learned how much respect & adoration the States should have for our key ally Turkey.  If not the epicenter, than surely the bridge of global influence, this country of 98% Muslim inhabitants well represents the West while keeping a working relationship with the Middle East, managing turmoil with their immediate neighbors, and equally keeping Russia at bay.

Regarding Turkey’s food (the premise of my Fellowship study program) well, it’s amazing!  Fresh, vibrant, local, wholesome would be a few ways I’d best describe it thus far.  You see, Spain, France, Greece and Italy are the pinnacle of food cultures. Even Switzerland, Austria, Croatia and Portugal have immense clout. The secret seems evident – they’re all connected by being directly on, or one degree of separation from, the richness of the Mediterranean and its climate. That capacity to deliver healthy & diverse crops, and preserve social & cultural food values over thousands of years has made each of the aforementioned countries of some of the healthiest societies & equally lowest healthcare costs in the developed world.


(Safa Uslu – Int. Eisenhower Fellow & Turkey’s Min. of Energy head of multinational relations)

The country not yet included in the discussion is Turkey.  With the 4th largest imprint on the Mediterranean, and when including the bounty of the Black Sea, Turkey has the same milage of coastline as Italy, and far more land mass than any of their EU brethren.  Turkey has resources to not only feed well their 77M populous, 44M tourists and 2M refuges – they produce significant gross export.

Now, with plans of investing in agriculture at significant scale, let’s hope the Turks don’t forget the value of preserving the infrastructure and food culture afforded by their 3M farmers who often work the land with husbandry in a similar practice with 10 generations prior.  I will continue to promote the importance of what’s happening Stateside with changing consumer sentiment and within an agricultural system of intrinsic flaws. To better appreciate that a flavor of modern farming which includes advancement in circular practice is where the next innovation economy lies is equally essential for us in the States and the future practices of Turkey. Being coerced into thinking the grass is greener on the side of industrial conventional practice, just as many domestic consumers in the States, awareness of the true cost of food is vital to Turkey’s future.  As we all continue to evaluate the importance of nutrient security and not just caloric output in this unique region, we’re reminded we all share this shrinking planet and must plan and act accordingly.

more to come…

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