In Istanbul a community garden project is awaken to a new life. The Bostan garden includes a field the size of 2000 m². Hannes Lorenzen, a friend a great supporter of the 2000 m² project has recently visited Istanbul and taken the first steps towards a new cooperation: 2000 m² in Istanbul. This is his story.
The word Bostan means garden near your house, where you grow your daily food. And this is what people like to do in Turkey, even when they live in a city of millions – like Istanbul.
I was visiting Bostan when it was still cold, very cold and you could hardly see anyone in the garden. But a long struggle was over – almost 30 years of struggle of Kuzguncuk people to defend their common garden against urbanisation. There were many projects to turn one of the last green areas of Istanbul into concrete. They all were about money instead of community: also schools, hospitals – this might sound like good intensions, but those would have been private profit-making projects, not communal facilities.
People of Kuzguncuk got organized over time, they were supported by lawyers, artists, architects, journalists – all together with a fighting spirit. They organise pick-nicks, festivals, open air cinemas – all free of charge and started negotiating with the municipality to turn Bostan into a community innitiatibe. And a long battle succeeded, because they kept the good spirit over so many years. In 2015 the municipality agreed to turn Bostan into a community garden. Since this spring people can produce their food at Bostan, School gardens and fruit trees included.
The picture shows the core team of the citizens association in a talk with Hannes, Tan, journalist; Bogachan, architect; Tulay, Restaurator and President of Bostan association; Petek, Baker; Aylin, who runs a coffee shop with friends.
At the meeting we envisaged to call for a gathering of community gardens and initiatives, co-organised between Bostan and 2000 m² in Istanbul.
Stay tuned for more about Bostan here in our blog. You find the Bostan project’s website (in Turkish) here.