Marmariç Permaculture is a group of close friends who came together in 2003 around the idea of forming a rural community and living there in harmony with nature. In 2004, 2 pioneers among this group moved to Marmariç (an abandoned neighbourhood of Dernekli, a small village in the Bayındır County of Izmir.) Today, the population living there throughout the year is a minimum of 8 people including the Beyazıt Family with their 2 small children, and friends from İzmir and İstanbul are visiting regularly at weekends or for extended periods of time.
The old and abandoned school building and the teachers lodge, rented from the Dernekli Village for 49 years, have been repaired and became the centre of the community. Other than those two buildings, the remnants of the abandoned stone buildings within the pieces of land bought from the villagers are being repaired or rebuilt with the help of local or volunteer labour. Traditional, ecological and permaculture design principles and materials are used in all construction work.
Marmariç Permaculture tends apple and cherry orchards, olive gardens and a vineyard. There are also vegetable and herb gardens, chicken coop and bee hives. Locally produced olive oil, honey, grape molasses, tomato paste and eggs are the major sources of income.
In 2009-2010, Marmariç Ecological Life Association (founded in 2005) has carried out a permacultue design and demonstration project with the support given by UNDP / GEF SGP. Within the scope of this project a permaculture demonstration site has been established in Marmaric, presenting examples such as swales and a small dam, both of which are based on the principle of collecting the runoff water in the rainy season; planting of strips of food forest on and just below the swale mound; raised beds with mulching for vegetable gardens; and a compost toilet. Additionally, a series of practical and theoretical training activities were carried out, in order to share information and experience with farmers in neighbouring villages.
Since 2010, Marmariç hosts the Permaculture Research Institute of Turkey and the Institute organizes several courses in Marmariç including Introduction to Permaculture (2 days course) and Permaculture Design Certificate courses (12 days course).
Last year, the Regional Permaculture Meeting was held in Marmariç and therefore intensive planning and preparing was being carried out in the village.
Intended at certified permaculture designers, the Regional Permaculture Meeting in Marmariç, Izmir has witnessed the largest international level permaculture get-together in Turkey to date. During the 5-day event – packed with presentations and discussions – new graduates has got the opportunity to exchange ideas and gain experience from veteran permaculture practitioners, tutors and specialists on 17-21 July, 2012.