This project addresses two interrelated major challenges facing rural Turkish farmers today: climate change and increasing government regulation of industrialized agricultural practices. The latter magnifies the detrimental cultural cost of climate change by alienating farmers from agricultural decisions, and has driven younger generations to abandon family farms for low wage jobs and poor living conditions in urban centers, initiating an enduring cycle of poverty that threatens to eradicate a millennia-old rural way of life. We posit that creative collective action-based solutions, suggested by rural farming families and based on past-practices, will mitigate adverse trajectories, reinvigorating rural communities. This requires a frank assessment of rural industrialized agricultural regulations and the impact of climate change.
Combining ethnographic research and scientific strategies, we will work with agricultural community groups to: 1) identify current challenges facing farmers and agricultural communities in rural Turkey; 2) identify causative factors (e.g., government regulations and restrictions, climate variation, etc.) affecting positive agricultural outcomes; 3) recover ancient agricultural strategies used to manage climate change; 4) develop and revitalize collective-action based solutions, per participant suggestions, to improve current and future agricultural systems; 5) disseminate this information back into the community and to governing authorities.
Ethnographic and scientific investigations will gather data on the successful and failed agri-management of past and present climate crises, the evolution of agriculturally-based technologies and land use practices, and the farming techniques dictated by present-day government policies (most implemented with the best of intentions), to capture first-hand accounts of the cultural evolution from non-mechanized to mechanized farming before the generation who lived it can no longer be interviewed.