Aynur Tekin/ DUVAR
As a result of globalization, urbanization and an increase in income, in recent years our diet has changed in a profound way. In a world where food is produced with industrial methods, obtaining sustainable food is becoming more difficult by the day. These methods, which are said to be used to end world hunger via increasing production, are threatening our health and the health of the planet.
In order to obtain safe food, the first thing that needs to be done is to stop using pesticides, according to Turgay Özçelik, communications coordinator of the Wheat Association for Supporting Ecological Living.
“This year's theme for the World Food Day is zero hunger. If this matters to us and we want everyone to be able to access healthy food in a sustainable manner, we must abandon the use of industrial methods and pesticides in particular,” Özçelik said, adding that there are 14 pesticides that are still being used legally in Turkey today, despite being determined to be very dangerous according to a report published in 1999 by the World Health Organization.
“For our health and for the health of the ecosystem, these pesticides must be banned right away,” Özçelik told Duvar English.
It has become quite apparent that accessing healthy food in cities has become an important problem. Many people are unable to access information regarding the environmental conditions and the process in which their food is raised and produced. Özçelik said that the best way of obtaining healthy food is by growing it ourselves.
“This may not seem quite possible in cities but it is possible to produce [some food] on one's balcony or garden. At the same time, this aids us in understanding the journey of our food from the seed to the table,” Özçelik said, adding that other options include forming relationships with reliable produce sellers and purchasing organically-certified products.
“Genetically modified food is a big problem and apart from that they use pesticides. Because of these pesticides, I'm not able to feed my child in healthy manner,” Istanbul resident Ayten Kıran told Duvar English.
Kıran said that she established a relationship with a producer in her hometown and is at least able to access safer foods during the summer months:
“When I find acceptable prices, I buy from the markets. Because pesticides are used, I peel the fruits that I give to my child and as a result they lose vitamins,” Kıran said.