How Returning to Farming Roots Led to a Happier Life

Meet Ebru Karakas from Frankfurt, Germany

I grew up in Turkey in a farming family and as a child, I always helped my family on the farm. After high school, I decided to stay with my family and continue farming with my family.

In 2008, I got married and not long after, I moved to Germany where my husband was already living. We were living in an apartment block which did not have a garden and I found it exceedingly difficult.

Settling in a New Country

My first child was born in 2010 and was followed by a second child in 2013. My second child had a healthy birth but unfortunately for us, I became ill soon after the birth and I was rushed to intensive care and had three emergency operations as I was suffering with internal bleeding.  I spent a total of three weeks in intensive care, and I eventually started to recover from my ordeal.

For one year after I gave birth, I became very depressed and unhappy with my life.  I begged my husband to find me a house in the countryside with a garden as I was sure this was the answer to having a happy life. Eventually, in 2015, we found our dream home; it was in the countryside with a garden. As soon I saw the garden, I had plans in my mind of how it was going to look and what I was going to grow. The first year was spent clearing the garden and planning its look. I was also able to prepare a small area on which I planted my first vegetables.

Countryside Gardening Leading to Happiness

Our garden is 700 square meters (about twice the area of a tennis court) in size, and I am using 400 square meters of it as vegetable plot. I only use heirloom seeds which my parents and gardener friends gave me. Every year, I collect seeds from my crops to save me buying seeds for the following season. I refuse to use synthetic chemicals and only use natural fertilizers such as horse and chicken manure and nettle tea to help my plants grow strong.

Everything I grow is sufficient for my family. Nothing is wasted and there is no need for me to buy vegetables from the supermarkets.  From my crops, I am also able to preserve some of it by drying, freezing, and canning so that I can provide my family with vegetables all year round.  Recently, I also added five chickens to my garden. They are Sundheimer and Brahma varieties and as well as being very friendly. They provide me with plenty of fresh eggs which are organic, of course.

The life I have now, is the life I always wanted for my family. We are all happy and content with what we have.  It has been challenging to get where we are today, but it has been so worth and rewarding.