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Young visitors learn organic farming in Turkey

ERZURUM - Doğan News Agency | 6/27/2010 12:00:00 AM | TURGAY İPEK

Three young foreigners are learning organic farming techniques in the eastern Anatolian province of Erzurum.

Three young women who travelled from the other end of the world by taking part in a voluntary work camp are learning organic farming techniques in the eastern Anatolian province of Erzurum.

The volunteers are participating in agriculture, working with farmers at the Erzurum plain. “Our hands developed callosity but we are very happy [to be here,]” one said.

The volunteers, Yoonnyung Chang, 23 and Evnjeong Kim, 21, from South Korea, and Mariana Vieira, 21, from Portugal, are being trained by Turkish farmers within the framework of a program organized by East Anatolia Agricultural Producers and Stock Farmers Union. They spend an average six hours everyday with organic farmers.

Going to the field early in the morning, the volunteers work on the field together with the farmers. They said that they were in Erzurum because they loved organic farming as much as they loved working with soil in general.

South Korean Chang and Kim said organic farming needs to be supported. “We joined an international working camp and came to Turkey. They offered us a lot of options in the camp, but because we loved organic farming, we decided to come to Erzurum. For a better future for the human race, organic farming is a must. We will stay in Erzurum for two weeks. We are trying to do all the seasonal work that needs to be done here. Our hands developed callosity but we are happy to be here. In addition to organic farming, we also had the chance of learning about the culture here. Our days here have been unforgettable. When we go back home, we will be voluntary tourism envoys for Turkey.”

Belgüzar Üzümcü, 47, from Istanbul, accompanied foreign students. Married with two children, Üzümcü has been participating in international working camps for years. Üzümcü said it was also her first time in Erzurum. “I met these young foreigners in Turkey. We are from three different countries, but organic farming united us in Erzurum,” she said. “We are going to the field everyday like a regular farmer. The field owner only provides our lunch in exchange of out hard toil. Eating together, we overcome the fatigue of the day. I believe that every single person on the planet should back up organic farming.”

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