Though the Black Sea coastal town of Şile is over 70 kilometers from Istanbul, it still falls within the city’s metropolitan area. Istanbul has experienced incredibly rapid growth in recent decades, swelling from a million inhabitants in the 1970s to the current population of 15 million. Building speculation and the grandiose infrastructure projects of the past few years have marred the relationship between city dwellers and the natural environment—rich in native and endemic species—in which the city was once immersed.
Within this context, the Şile Farmers’ Market is a symbol, a sign of hope. It represents the desire to give a future to many small-scale farmers and food producers who struggle to carry on their ancient traditions. It is also an attempt to bring Istanbul’s inhabitants closer to their roots and to their surrounding environment, teaching them to know and respect it.
The idea of the market came about in 2011, as a way of helping the local producers who would come from the municipality’s villages and sell their products in the street. Now the market is held every Friday and Sunday in the very central Terminal Meydanı Pazar Sokağı, and hosts many small-scale producers, all from within the municipality of Şile. The majority of stallholders are fruit and vegetable growers, though many dairy products, including fresh milk, can also be found. This is in line with tradition in the Istanbul region, once famous for the quality of its milk and cheeses.
The Şile Earth Market was started in 2012 on the initiative of the Şile Ovacık Village Women Seeds Association. The market is run in collaboration with the Slow Food Şile-Palamut Convivium, and has been made possible thanks to the support of the Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyesi (which supplies the stalls), the Şile Municipality (which supplies the market with electricity and water for free, and takes care of the cleaning), the Şile District (producer audits and training), the local Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture (provides certification to the producers) and the tourism board.
Friday and Sunday, from 9am to 6pm
Terminal Meydanı Pazar Sokağı