There is agriculture in Sarıyer!

One of the biggest agriculture area in Istanbul is here in Gümüşdere, really close to Koç University. Local people of Gümüşdere have made their living by doing what they know best: farming. Gümüşdere has the biggest local greenhouse agricultural plantation in Istanbul. Production concentrates on vegetables and ornamental plants in greenhouses. The importance of local scale farming is recognized and localization movements are becoming popular. We should eat local foods because local agriculture preserves biodiversity, eating local contributes to local economy, eating local foods helps protect the rights of small farmers and keep them in business, eating local foods is important for human life because it is fresh etc. However, there are several initiatives that bear down on improving in-city agriculture. Protection and adoption of this agriculture area by Sarıyer neighborhood that have provided the need of fruit and vegetable for many centuries matter. For this reason Koç University community believes that protecting the neighborhood, adopting, improving and solving the problems of Sarıyer’s production would add value to there. So, a competition project is conducted, Idea Challenge, and the first subject for the competition is Sarıyer and agriculture. 

Idea Challenge coordinates awareness raising activities and prepares informative events in this new semester. Besides these, a social entrepreneurship competition for supporting innovative ideas is organized. Participants of Idea Challenge seek the answer for the question: What are the ways to raise awareness of farmers and customers to support sustainable agriculture in Sarıyer district in an innovative way? The winner of the competition is both financially supported and consultancy services is provided by Incubation Center to realize their project.

Students can invite professors, professors can invite students, and neighbors can invite neighbors for all the activities!

Additionally, campus-wide guerilla marketing campaign is run with the Student Council and student clubs to raise awareness for the problems. This involves posters, flyers, and other promotional materials which focus on the extent and impact of the current problem on the local environment. 

PS: You can send an e-mail for further information or


To support the development of such innovative solutions a variety of activites are organized on campus for interested students.

1) Seminars and Workshops

        Introduction to the Problem Seminar, Agriculture and problems in Sariyer Seminar with Local Farmers @Koç University: Together with guest speaker(s), the problems that serve as the base for the challenge, providing facts and figures to illustrate the extent of the problems and how we are all affected are introduced.
         Exploration of Current Solutions Seminar, City Gardens and Making a Community'Seminar by Aytaç Timur @Koç University: Together with guest speaker(s), current alternative solutions to the identified problems, both locally and internationally, are explored. The applicability, or lack thereof, of those ideas within the defined context are discussed.
          Design Thinking Workshop​, Design Thinking Workshop by Cenk Sezgin (Innovation Principal at SAP): Design thinking is a formal method for practical, creative resolution of problem, a form of solution-based thinking which starts with the goal or what is meant to be achieved instead of a specific problem. Workshop(s) will be hosted to help interested solutions through the brainstorming process, viewing the problems and potential solutions from different perspectives.


2) Interactive Events

           St. Valentine's Day Event: On February 13th, with the help of Muhsin Kılıçoğlu who is the botanical consultor of Koç University, 130 bouquets composed of vegetables like parsley, spinach, lettuce were formed and distributed to Koç University community.

           Mavromoloz Forest Trip: On March 16th, forest areas near the university were toured as a part of the event that was organized by Koç Environmental Club and supported by KUSIF.

           Gümüşdere Trip: On March 8th and May 4th, together with Koç University community consisted of 50 people, KUSIF visited the agricultural producers and had breakfast with them. Afterwards, fields and greenhouses were toured.

3) Competition

Initially, there were 7 applications; however, at the end 2 applicants, one group and one individual, have been elected and both got the award. The group was consisting of KU staff and KU students; their project was about local product marketing. Moreover, single applicant's, Çiğdem İrem İleri's project was about organic pesticides. 

The jury in the competition:

-Baler Bilgin: KU Assistant Professor of Marketing

-Özlem Keskin: KU Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering

-Mustafa Ergen: Founder and Director of Koç University Incubation Center

-Pınar Öncel: Social Entrepreneurship

-Beyhan Uzunçarşılı: Local Farmer

You may download the document below for general info about Gümüşdere and our relation with this agricultural site:

Gümüşdere Info Pack (DOCX)

Annual agricultural report published by Food, Agriculture and Livestock Management of Sarıyer District is provided below:

Sarıyer İlçe Tarım Müdürlüğü 2012 Yılı Raporu (PDF) (TR)