Tree successful women entrepreneurs who rolled up their sleeves in order to give direction to the agricultural sector and to contribute to women’s employment in different provinces are undertaking projects to make a tremendous impact not only in Turkey but also in the world.
We asked Ebru Baybara Demir, Aslı Aksoy, and İksir Sema Aydın, who pursued their dreams and overcome all obstacles in an idealistic stance, how they made a difference in the agricultural sector.
From field to plate
Ebru Baybara Demir, Chef, Social Entrepreneur, Culinary Researcher, Trainer, Speaker, Storyteller, and Content Producer, who says that life always tries to tell and show you something and what you see will be the fate of yours and what you don’t will be the fate of others, is among the names who come to forth with their social entrepreneurial identities. Although she had spent her childhood and school years in İstanbul, Demir said that she grew up in a family of Mardin, which was loyal to their traditions and continued to her words: “My father emigrated from Mardin to İstanbul to have his 3 daughters to study there and to raise them as strong individuals in a period when having a daughter was believed to be disadvantageous. I returned to Mardin after 23 years and implemented projects that would strengthen the women of Mardin and change their status.”
Demir, who expressed that her inspiration in business life comes from her mother and her father, who filled her heart with courage, is now inspired by soil. Demir, who started 8 different projects under the name of “Topraktan Tabağa” (From Soil to Plate), gives the following information about this project: “The power, energy, unity, and success of 21 women developed years ago in Cercis Murat Konağı (The Mansion of Cercis Murat) are inspiring new projects that produce solutions for the future. We launched “Topraktan Tabağa” projects to improve the soil, to obtain good food from the soil at bearable costs, and to create an ecosystem with a promising sustainable income model, where farmers and women are involved. My biggest dream is to see the impact of these projects on agricultural practices in Anatolia and agricultural employment, especially women.”
Turkey’s asparagus producer
The entrepreneurship story of one of Turkey’s most famous asparagus producers, Aksoy, inspires many people. Aslı Aksoy, who graduated from ODTÜ Department of Business Administration, has been cultivating asparagus fields, which are about 40 acres located in the Yeşilçam Village of Muğla, with 7 women who have been neighbors since 2015. Aksoy, who received the Certificate of Good Agricultural Practices from the Ministry of Agriculture, rejected the use of pharmaceuticals and chemical fertilizers and started the process of transition to organic agriculture. Aksoy advances with the brand of Elibelinde Tarım through the goal of seeing Turkey among the asparagus exporter countries. Aslı Aksoy is a successful entrepreneur who never gave up dreaming even for a day. She tasted asparagus in the USA and put her mind to cultivate it in Turkey someday. After returning to the homeland, she constructed a production model, which was powered by women and soil. Aksoy continues to produce asparagus in the Aegean. She made a reference to her dreams: “We dreamed that day, the rest followed! We went back to the Aegean, the field we established became the second largest asparagus production area in our country. We called the brand Elibelinde (hands on hips) as the symbol of female labor, soil, and fertility. As Pablo Picasso said, everything you imagine is real.
A vision of tourism, agriculture, and production
İksir Sema Aydın, who is originally from Kastamonu, returned to Daday district of Kastamonu and realized the İksir Resort Town and İksirli Çiftlik (farm) Daday project. Aydın invested in the vision of tourism, agriculture, and production and built a 60-room building on a 60-acre area with the inspiration from nature and cultural heritage. With its social units and equestrian sports center, İksir Resort Town promises its target audience a holiday intertwined with nature. In İksirli Çiftlik, einkorn wheat, the genetic structure of which has been preserved, and vegetables are produced with local seeds on 100 acres of land. Aydın said, “We welcome guests in our 60 rooms. All our guests can participate in our production processes. They have the chance to experience the agricultural and tourism model which is becoming more and more important in the world. We are happy with our work and life, which we constantly develop with the contributions of my industrial engineer daughter Ece Aydın, who is also a young entrepreneur. Our future dreams include expanding our self-sufficient pilot farm project, enabling other facilities to benefit from the model, and developing our tourism model based on outdoor sports, activity, and regional gastronomy.”