Board Member & project manager, Zeytince Ecological Life Support Association
Tramp Kitchen intends to use Kültürpark as a public space to open up a medium for people to interact with each other through ‘food and solidarity” by encouraging them to be more aware through co-creation. It invites citizens to reconsider their consuming habits and re-think their definition of ecology: How can we act together? Where are our groceries coming from and how? How much waste do we create to get them? With whom do we eat? How do we share knowledge with others?
In Izmir, Kültürpark is an important memorial place and continues to exist as a social gathering & recreational place, food market, and also an urban center where İzmir International Fair takes place. The project takes the Kültüpark as a social space which exposes the urban processes of food production, distribution and consumption, in order to discuss the local community’s consuming habits, create awareness towards zero-footprint habits, and encourage urban cooperation, citizen takeover and co-creation.
İzmir is the Turkey’s third largest city, and its harbor is historically the gateway of Anatolia to the Mediterranean. It’s the metropolitan region with the largest influx of migrants in Turkey, hence the rapid urbanization in recent decades. This rural to urban transformation causes immigrants to lose their connection with food sources and rely on a new urban process of food production and consumption.
Through urbanization and modernization, escalated by recent neo-liberal policies, the table (sofra) culture as an ancient way of eating and socializing has nearly disappeared.
As a result, the cultural transmission of information between generations, the culture of hospitality and collective way of living have also been jeopardized. Neo-liberal and authoritarian social and economic policies have also diminished collective consciousness and public spaces. Therefore, it is harder and harder for inhabitants from various socio-economic layers to come together.
Izmir is also threatened by the effects of climate change as a coastal city. Recently, there are problems with access to ‘clean food’ despite the fact that İzmir is historically a city with accessible farming areas. Also, climate change is affecting humanity on a daily basis: natural disasters damage farms; the price of food is on the rise, while local purchasing power has decreased.
This has led communities to lose their basic relationship to food – they have become individual consumers detached from the production and collective bonding processes of eating.
Team Izmir is working to form a co-creative medium, a community that will be come together at different gates of Kültürpark: the neighborhoods around each of them have different historical and urban symbolic meanings, and are inhabited by communities from various socio-economic backgrounds. The team created a new community model through designed activities such as eco-talks around the table (sofra) prepared by shared food, workshops and performances.
Ultimately, Team Izmir hopes to create a mobile kitchen which will wander around Kültürpark, invite people around the neighborhood and prepare dinner with local and international chefs and local residents. These dinners would be supported with eco-awareness talks and other activities such as ecology-related workshops and performances. After creating a network with the project, the team wants to extend the project to build a community garden.
“With this practice, we aim for Kültürpark to reach its full potential as a fundamental organism of the city with a minimized carbon footprint and a communal meeting and exchange hub.”
Team Izmir aims to inspire others by creating a community to start acting together, bringing new dimensions to issues of ‘hospitality’, ‘collectivity’ and ‘cultural values’, and fostering a new understanding to the dynamics of the city and life in it, which contains all aspects of the east and west of Turkey.
“Food is a good excuse to come together and create new bonds. We believe that when we come together, we learn from each other and can counter learned helplessness in society.”