Note that this post is part of a series of posts that I am making after attending the first ever Savory Institute International Conference held recently in my hometown of Boulder, Colorado.
Durukan Dudu inside the Boulder Theater. June 2013.
The mission of the Savory Institute is to promote the restoration of the world’s grasslands through holistic management. This holistic approach combines economics, ecology, and social systems.
The institute’s founder, Allan Savory, gave a TED talk earlier this year which greatly increased the public’s awareness of his vision for solving the global crisis of desertification.
Community based Savory Hubs are popping up around the world to educate people to apply holistic management practices to the land in ways which are economically viable and reward all parts of the system. These parts include the soil, the grasslands, pastoralism, biodiversity, water storage capacity, carbon sequestration, and a revitalized hope for people that are living in the regions adopting the holistic practices.
The Savory Institute’s goal is to establish 100 locally led and managed Savory Hubs by 2025 which will influence the management of 1 billion hectares of grasslands that are currently desertifying.
Savory Hubs educate and train people about how to heal their land and become profitable at the same time. Research is ongoing through data collection and interpretation at each Hub until the best system is worked out to properly manage livestock and land for each unique region in which the Hub is located.
During the conference, we heard reports from a wide variety of global Hub leaders. Although each report was enlightening, I’ve chosen to feature the presentation by 28-year-old Durukan Dudu, from Anatolia, Turkey.
Durukan was a bit of an entertainer and appeared to enjoy his time on the stage. The audience ate it up, so we might dub him the “rock star” of the Savory Hub representatives. As he paced the stage, his message was vibrant and inspirational.
He represented not only his Turkish Savory Hub, but also, his twenty-something demographic. He spoke of an age group that wants to return to the land to find meaning in their lives and do the right thing, even though they’ve obtained educations and degrees which would offer them careers in the city. With passion and commitment, they “just want to be good people.”
But this is not easy. They lack knowledge, money, and the skills necessary to farm. They need internships. They need capitol.
Yet, this group of young people out of Turkey did it anyway, and although it took them eight years to get going, they’ve finally moved to a rural area to farm. They are a group of engineers and professionals who now run a Savory Hub.
While most of the youth around the globe are fleeing the countryside to go to the cities, they have done the reverse.
People in their Turkish village ask them why they are “going backwards”.
To that, they answer, “No, we are going forward.”
They are now setting a positive example for their community and they are having a positive ripple effect, too, because farmers who had left the land in their region are returning to it because of a renewed hope and contagion of positivism and goodness. The example that this Savory Hub group is setting demonstrates a successful model to regional farmers who had given up.
Durukan likes the American movie “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” and explains that he’d be afraid of any of the individual characters in the movie, but that as a team the three work well together. He equates this with holism and Hub teamwork.
He says that most of us are not able to see the whole. “It is there, we just don’t see it.”
He sees the potential in what they are doing to “maximize our goodness for each other.”
I liked Durukan’s message because the story that he told is classic for his age group today. I have heard many young Americans tell the same story, and I have read about the large numbers of young and unemployed in Greece and Spain, who also wish to return to the land. Suddenly, the land offers more hope and sanity than the urban areas they came from.
While the average age of the farmer becomes older everywhere, this age group’s desire to return to the land is increasing. They see the farmer’s role to be a healer of our people and our planet.
You may find out more about the Savory Hub project, including how to start your own by following this link.
DD’s Twitter photo
Previous Savory Conference Posts:
● The Savory Institute Conference
● Allan Savory: “Agriculture is More Destructive than Coal Mining”