“Zeytince Association for Supporting Ecological Lives” is an non-profit, membership-based civil society organization that was founded on 31 December 2013 in İzmir/Turkey, by a group of academicians and research students. So far there are 35 members of the association. Our objective is to promote sustainable living and lifestyles which are in harmony with the ecological principles and functioning of our planet. In the face of the vast environmental problems and climate change we  believe that enabling citizens to assume active roles for ecological lifestyles, is needed in addressing these problems. We recognize that, people becoming true actors of change is a key mover towards a more sustainable world within a safe and resilient Planet.  

Our vision is to promote sustainable lifestyles and practices where people understand their relationship to nature, live by knowing their footprint on our planet earth and hence to live up to nature’s ecological life systems. To this end, Zeytince Association, undertakes  education; workshop, civil engagement and research activities across the İzmir Peninsula. Through these  activities we aim  to contribute to strengthening  awareness on sustainability and environmental issues, and to raise understanding, knowledge and inspiration in order to assume active roles in their individual and community lives.

Olive (“zeytin ”), has been adopted as a symbol of Zeytince’s relationship with nature, because olive fruit has been known as one of the most outstanding symbols of peace and friendship, but also as one of the common symbol of civilizations in the region. Olive and olive trees strengthen our bonds with life and with the earth.  

 The Olive Academy (“Zeytin Okulu”)  which is situated at Karaburun district of İzmir, is the school building of Zeytince Association. At Olive Academy the following activities are undertaken: 

  • Organizing national and international workshops to support the integration of the peninsula into international ecological tourism and eco-networks. 
  • The Academy operates as information and advice center for visitors, hikers and cyclists visiting the Ephesus – Mimas Cultural Route and Olive Route in Karaburun.  
  • Organizes workshops (in painting, music, tale, photography, philosophy, agriculture, ecology) and harvest festivals (monumental tree tours, antique and stone print workshops) that will contribute to increasing the awareness of the natural, industrial and cultural heritage of the Karaburun region.  
  • Undertakes training courses, projects to the olive and olive oil producers situated in Karaburun Region, on Olive cultivation.  
  • An ecological education center, which provides protection of natural, cultural and industrial assets, especially olive and olive products, and  assists in fostering opportunities for employment and income generation based on these assets.


During the first years of Zeytince Association, in-group training of the members of the association were given an emphasis, and a large number of studies were conducted on this area. Numerous trainings have been organized such as Access to Healthy Food and Healthy Food, Olive’s Chemistry and Components, Olive Oil Tasting Trainings, Pruning and Tightening. Zeytince was also included in the “Olive 2014” program organized by the Aegean Workshop in Nesin Matematik Village in 2014 with the participation of a large number of academicians, researchers and students interested in domestic and international olive issues. In the seminar titled “Olive, Civilization and Sailing” held in Yeni Foça in 2015, the association contributed to teach and learn from the seminar. 

In addition to these, in the process of learning about ecological life practices, many NGOs such as Nature School (Doğa Okulu), Buğday Ecological Life Support Association, Marmariç, Adatepe Taş Mektep, Nesin Matematik Village and other associations have been visited and visits have been organized and been participated in the activities organized by these associations. These communities have been a source of inspiration for the creation of Zeytince’s own path. 

In the “The Efes- Mimas Culture Route Project” conducted by İzmir Metropolitan Municipality in 2015; Zeytince  Association members worked voluntarily on the formation of “Olive Road” under the coordination of Professor Funda Barbaros and Ertan İplikçi, contributing to the formation of olive inventory of the peninsula region. During the field studies carried out in a total of 75 villages in Selçuk, Seferihisar, Güzelbahçe, Urla, Çeşme and Karaburun provinces, olive trees and traditional olive oil workshops and ancient mills were identified.  During this Project  the members of Zeytince  Association  gained a deep understanding of  the olive trees, the traditional and modern production techniques  of  olive oil production,  experienced  how  culture and  socio-economic life are  very closely  linked to the nature and hence the  “Olive Road Project”  itself become an active and participatory learning process.  

At the academic level courses –  both at graduate and undergraduate levels –  such as  “Ecological Economics”; “Environmental Economics”  and “Sustainable Development”  have been carried out by the  two founding  members of our Association  namely Prof. Dr. Funda Barbaros  and  Assoc. Prof. Meneviş Uzbay Pirili, at Ege University, Department of Economics. Prof. Dr. Alp Yücel Kaya from Zeytince Association has been running the “Community-Supported Agriculture” project at the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences at Ege University for nearly five years now (since 2015) in the Faculty of Agriculture, which is currently being implemented in healthy food. 

We have been undertaking training/seminar, workshop, research and project activities in order to achieve our objectives.   Some of the recent activities are; 


Education/Training Activities  

  • Eco-literacy  training courses and seminars to young people and adults in İzmir region since 2017.  
  • Undertakes training courses to the olive  and olive oil producers  situated in Karaburun Region, on Olive cultivation.  


Workshops  and Social Activities  

  • Organizing national and international workshops to support the integration of the peninsula into international ecological tourism and eco-networks.  
  • Organizing workshops (in painting, music, tale, photography, philosophy, agriculture, ecology) and harvest festivals that will contribute to increasing the awareness of the natural, industrial and cultural heritage of the Karaburun Region.  


Some of the Projects and Research Activities   

  • Olive Grove Road/Route within the Ephesus Mimas Project.  
  • Olive Fly Project: A comprehensive project to fights against the olive fly which ruins the olive trees in the Karaburun Region 
  • Ecological Literacy Training  Project: Zeytince Association acted as a partner in the    national project funded by the “The Scientific  and Technological research Counsil of Turkey” (TUBITAK) and undertaken by Ege University/İzmir 
  • Project Pomace: An international project between the Netherlands and Turkey that features a series of design experiments with bio-based materials towards a creative circular practice. 
  • Tramp Kitchen Project: An International Project between the Germany and Turkey on public space, sustainable food and urban change. 

Zeytince Association activities are run by a board of directors, advisory board and supervisory board. The Chairman of the Board of Directors changes every year. Association Presidents are in year order: In 2014, founding chairman Akın Erdoğan, in 2015 Dr. Dilek Akyalçın Kaya, in 2017, Aykut Uçar. In 2016 and 2018-2020 Özge Yılmaz.