A community kitchen created with innovative practices opened in the village of Kahrat, Izmir

October 31, 2022

Within the framework of sustainable urban development, UNDP built a new community kitchen through 'tactical urbanism' in the Kahrat village of Izmir on 22 October.

To create inclusive, resilient and sustainable cities and communities, a public space where women can co-produce was implemented in the village of Kahrat with the support of UNDP Türkiye

Within the framework of sustainable urban development, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) built a new community kitchen in Izmir through 'tactical urbanism', which means making spatial improvements in public spaces through rapid, low-cost, and effective interventions. The Community Kitchen opening took place in Kahrat village on 22 October as part of the Women Farmers Festival, and included colorful activities such as music, folklore performances and ceramic workshop for children as well as food stalls selling local produce.

The work carried out by UNDP, with the financial support of the Japanese Government and in collaboration with Döngü Cooperative and Japanese design firm Sotonoba, revitalized an old school garden through an innovative approach. The transformation implemented in the village of Kahrat, located in the Tire region, aims for the women of the village, who mostly make their living from agriculture, to produce local delicacies together, provide social opportunities to women and young people in the production process, and scale up agro-tourism in the long run.

“We have put great emphasis on supporting both the economic and social development of women and girls in Kahrat with this project. In this context, the intervention was developed entirely based on the needs and the wishes of the villagers.” said Gökçe Tuna, Head of Exploration at UNDP Türkiye Accelerator Lab. “We have no doubt that their desire to co-produce, solidarity and aspiration to participate in employment will be strengthened with the newly opened community kitchen which in turn will have a positive impact on the development efforts in the region.”

In the initiative, which aims to create a scalable model that can be reproduced in different scales and geographies, the design team, consisting of place-making experts, interpreted the analyses made during site visits, the existing features of the site, the needs of the villagers and reflected their findings in the concept design. The design was finalized in collaboration with the Döngü Cooperative team, and was implemented with the participation of local citizens and Tire Municipality.

In the Tire region, where groundwater is diminishing and the drought problem is growing every year, the aim is to provide both economic and social benefits to the people of the region by increasing the production of flax which can grow without irrigation if planted in winter and establishing a flax processing plant. “We aim to make Tire region a flax hub by expanding the production of the almost forgotten flax plant in agriculture.” said Zeynep Derece, Chairperson of the Board of Döngü Cooperative. “As an R&D cooperative, we are taking the first steps thanks to the UNDP Türkiye Accelerator Lab team, which supports our efforts in this regard. Kahrat Community Kitchen will provide an important socializing area for our women in the village. We thank everyone who contributed.”

The population of rural areas, which is gradually decreasing due to migration to cities, causes cultural life and fabric to fade away. In order to ensure the continuity of socio-cultural values and activities in rural areas, it is crucial to protect these areas and transfer local values and ancient knowledge to future generations. Making rural areas more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable like cities will only be possible with the participation of local governments, all public institutions, non-governmental organizations and citizens.

Izmir Provincial Director of Agriculture Mustafa Özen said, “It is very meaningful to create an open kitchen by revitalizing an idle school, especially in a way that takes into account the needs of our village. I congratulate you for this intervention you have carried out and wish good luck in our kitchen. I would like to thank all our stakeholders who contributed to the realization of this project.”

With these tactical urbanism interventions, implemented with the participation of local citizens, it is expected that the current functions of the public space will be strengthened and its utilization will increase. After the monitoring and evaluation studies are completed, the aim is to produce a scalable model that can be applied in other parts of Türkiye.