This March, Tarsus Earth Market is our featured member! The guest post below was written by Yasmina Selfun Lokmanoglu.
We are one of your members in Turkey, located in one of the oldest towns in the world, called Tarsus. It is also known as the city of Saint Paul, as he was born here. Tarsus is a city where many cultures intersect and one that has hosted many civilizations. The market is located next to the house of the prophet Daniel in the courtyard of a 500-year-old Madrasah, on the route of Saint Paul’s well and church.
Slow Food Earth Market Tarsus is the 70th market that Slow Food International has opened and one of three markets based in Turkey. The other two Earth Markets in Turkey are based in Istanbul and Izmir.
Our market is run in conjunction with the Tarsus Municipality, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Chamber of Commodities and Agriculture. Each of these stakeholders has a board member on the Slow Food Earth Market and we distribute our duties accordingly. This multilevel stakeholder approach was the first example of its kind by the Slow Food Communities in Tarsus and it set an example for the neighboring cities, such as Adana and Mugla. Our market promotes equal access to all and is also a child and pet-friendly market.
We also promote sustainable food systems and our market’s motto is the farm-to-fork policy. We are also a plastic-free market: all the packaging is paper or made from recycled material. We also have a water purification system, and water is free! Eighty percent of the ingredients of savory or sweet foods sold at the market are made by the farmers from the products they grow.
Tarsus Earth Market hosts a range of great events, These events attract all kinds of customers. On each market day, we organize seminars, workshops, and discussion groups for the exhibitors, visitors, and their children. We host a range of discussions ranging from the importance of biodiversity or to the displacement of groundwater resources after the recent earthquake. We also host a range of cooking and baking classes focused on using local ingredients and recipes, as well specific classes on how to make cheese or sourdough bread.
We are a mixed-gender market and the majority of our small-scale producers are women. Last year, we provided training to our exhibitors on marketing, customer satisfaction, and product development. This year, we held a focus group meeting to measure the satisfaction of gender equality with our female producers. We received their feedback, and they expressed very positive results in working at the market on Sundays and that it contributed a lot to their personal growth.
Lastly, we have several events focused on educating about plastic, such as switching our market to zero plastic, why we should not use plastics (and their effect on the environment), and how to have a plastic-free life. We received a grant for a plastic-free market from the Small Grants Programme, GEF Europe, and UNDP. Every Market day, we have seminars and workshops about environmental damage created by plastics and alternative elements to plastics.
Check out the Instagram Live with Tarsus Earth Market here, where Yasmina walks us through the beautiful market, and we have a chance to meet the Mayor of Tarsus!
Featured Photo Credit: Slow Food Earth Market Tarsus