Duygu quickly grabs her gear from all parts of the farm. Her mom follows in step to help her. Duygu is 17, and she just finished taking her placement exam to attend university. Duygu and her twin cousins (who are 18) are most likely the youngest organic certified beekeepers in Turkey. Here in Cakmak koy, five women under the age of 23 are keeping bees.
“Will you take your bees with you to university?” I ask. “Sure!” they laugh. I ask them what kind of career they would like, and how their parents support their beekeeping. Some explain that they want to become beekeeping teachers, and professional beekeepers. For others, it will remain a hobby while they pursue their studies. They describe how at first everyone in the village was reluctant for their daughters to sign up for the program. But it sounded like a good opportunity, and sure enough 140 women applied for the 40 spots. Now all the neighbors are even a little envious.