Ecology with long roots
In the 1980s, Urtekram staff went to Turkey, and they told the local farmers: “if you drop the pesticides and start doing organic farming, we will buy your produce."We focused on dried fruit such as raisins, which is something that many children enjoy eating. At that time, organic raisins did not exist, and the production of raisins involved large amounts of chemistry.
The Turkish farmers accepted the challenge: today, their products are sold as Urtekram raisins, figs, apricots, chickpeas, red lentils and hazel nuts.
This means that the grapes are not longer sprayed, and the figs are no longer gassed with methyl bromide, which kills pests but ruins the ozone layer. Instead we get rid of the pests by subjecting the figs to a cold shock of -25ºC.
Urtekram did not initiate organic farming in Turkey we cooperated with companies in England,Netherlands and France through the so-called Good Food Foundation, which aims at developing sustainable organic farming in accordance with the Fairtrade principles. Today, the organisation has its own office in Turkey, and three local farming consultants – paid by Urtekram and the other partners – assist the farmers and the factories in keeping the poisonous shortcuts at bay.
At Urtekram, we are very proud of this project, and at least once a year we go to Turkey to say hello...