EDIRNE TRIP and MEETING WITH BEGONIA RODRIGUEZ
July 2, 2022
Finally I met Begonia in person! After phone calls and emails, it was great to meet my advisor in person and visit her farm; chat with Barbaros Bey and meet their many animals. Begonia who knew my interest in medicine & health invited a recent graduate of the Trakya University’s Medical School Ugur Simal Atabey. We spent the entire day discussing “no-till farming”, “organic farming”, “climate change”. Begonia and Barbaros advocate for “no till farming” which is much better for the environment and helps fight climate change. Ugur talked about pollution in Western Turkey which is the area called Thrace. This area is where my mother’s family lived for hundreds of years. They’ve all been farmers and landowners. However, now, there are many factories that pollute the area. Ugur mentioned the increase in cancer patients from the regions where the main river is polluted with factory wastes.
Many people my age do not know the correlation between farming and climate change. Conventional farming releases the gasses from the earth that pollute the air. It also takes away the nutrients from the soil. As my other advisor, Oliver English, says there might not be any healthy soil left to farm in 30 years. Farming is also directly related to health. We ate delicious food from Begonia and Barbaros’ kitchen. The vegetables and fruits tasted amazing, the eggs from their chickens were so tasty.
I am going to organize a global conference next summer for people my age. I want all of us to be well informed about the food we eat. If we know where that food comes from, we can make better choices. A documentary about “no-till farming” for Turkish farmers is also in the works.