We are from Organic Aymaks!
To sustainability by growing your food
Lead Applicant Organization Name
BIO-KG Federation of Organic Development
Lead Applicant Organization Type
Small NGO (under 50 employees)
If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.
Public Union "Kopuro-Bazar", Public Union "Aksuu Organic", Public Union "Taldy-Bulak", Public Union "Aral", Local selfgoverning bodies, Department of Organic Agriculture, IFOAM International Organics, Green Alliance
Website of Legally Registered Entity
How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?
Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
Bishkek - 160 km2
What country is your selected Place located in?
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
I love Bishkek because I know the way.
I know the way to avoid the 101 when it’s insane, and the 87 when it’s slow. I know the way to the giant white building downtown with the museum where children are encouraged not to touch. I know the way to find the best place to watch the banks of the might Alamedin River (though it is small and full of garbage) when it’s been raining and swelling and attracting more garbage of all types.
I know the best way through downtown to my office in the Eastern part of Bishkek, the one I called “my goat path,” which takes you past a great coffee shop, through the convention center, and by the park with the giant carousel. I know the way to the best public restroom, where the doors extend almost all the way to the floor and there’s classical music playing.
I know all the ways around the city: north from the Dordoi bazaar with its dense transportation, and south to the Highway with the windy broad roads. East from one "sacred tower", chimneys of the heating station, and its neighborhoods small private houses, to the other wide road in the west, the road to the South of the country.”
I know the way because this is where I was born and raised, and no place will ever feel more free, more alive, or more home than here.
This is a city where my family live, where my responsive colleagues work, where my friends have fun, where my neighbors unite, where strangers explore new culture.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
Bishkek in early 2000 - it was considered as the greenest capital in Central Asia
Bishkek in 2019 - less green coverage, chaotic construction and dense transportation
Bishkek is the capital and largest city of Kyrgyzstan. Bishkek is also the most commonly administrative centre of the Chuy Region. The province surrounds the city, although the city itself is not part of the province, but rather a province-level unit of Kyrgyzstan.
Bishkek has a Mediterranean-influenced humid continental climate , as the average mean temperature in the winter is below 0 °C. Average precipitation is around 440 millimetres per year. The mountains to the south provide a natural boundary and protection from much of the damaging weather, as does the smaller mountain chain which runs north-west to south-east. In the winter months, sparse snow storms and frequent heavy fog are the dominating features.
The topographic map of Bishkek can be found here https://en-ca.topographic-map.com/maps/p79i/Bishkek/
The city is multi national with more than 50 nations living shoulder to shoulder. The population is 1,043,000, 70% of which are kyrgyz, 12% russian and the rest are from all over the world. Due to high internal migration, kyrgyz language is commonly used in communication. But historically the russian language as a second official language is also used in Bishkek.
Most of elderly people are feeling desperate when the youth is not giving a seat in the public transport, youngsters are speaking russian forgetting the national language, schools and universities are becoming private. And feeling hopeless for the future forgetting the origins. Traditions as respecting elderly people, not wasting surroundings, keeping clean water, not harming others are becoming a history.
As most urban areas in the world, fastfood is expanding the diet of youth and diverse eating places offer you diverse food. The national food and beverage is becoming less popular. In most oriental markets and trade networks where you buy your food there is no a guarantee that the veggies, fruits and food you are buying are harmless. Most farmers all over the country are producing agricultural products using chemicals and pesticides. And the need for modern technology to grow more volume is a demand, as the most of peasants farming manually.
A small bunch of "green-minded" people are trying to change the system, raising awareness of people on nutrition, on the traditions forgetting of which has brought us to the current condition and there must be changes in the policy and thoughts of the people.
What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)
What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
Due to over population and improper city management, the inhabitants usually do not have much information where the products for food come from. Typical scheme for food distribution is "regions-middlemen-cities". But in the case of Bishkek, nearly half of the food delivered to trade networks are from unknown origin. The capital is a hub linking the regions and the country to others. And with a quarter population of the country it devours everything produced in the regions. To fulfill the "stomach" of the inhabitants farmers produce more products adding old and new chemicals.
Based on the methodology of system analysis, the distribution of oncological pathology under multivariate environmental impacts is estimated (According to research by National Oncology Center, 2018). It has been established that the environmental dependence of the spread of oncological diseases in the Chui valley, where Bishkek is situated is associated with the complex influence of the environment, characterized by a complex mechanism of inter-factor relationships, different in the nature of functional relationships. In general characterization of the prevalence of heavy metals in the city (smog) and using chemicals in producing agriproducts, oncopathology is more influenced by the module of factors associated with anthropogenic impact. The smog has been a big challenge for Bishkek last 3-5 years. The reason is extreme growth of the population, which is paralleled with the growth of transportation vehicles and using solid fuel (coal, wood, etc) during winter season.
Nowadays overpopulated Bishkek should fit modern requirements to give homes to migrating people from the regions. So more and more new buildings/houses are constructed annually by destroying everything green in the city. More trees are cut annually, more fields for agricultural purpose are occupied by construction companies.
The more "rocky jungles" are build, the more people are becoming estranged, the more culture is becoming extinct, the more neighborhoods are moving one from other, the more people are caring just to fill in the stomachs...
Kyrgyzstan has signed Paris agreement last October, anyway it will take several years, if not decades, to start doing significant activities. Policy of the city does not meet the requirements to make it healthier, safer, convenient and greener.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
Several efforts were handled to bring back the stereotype that healthy and fresh foods are produced by our farmers, the farmers you know. 2 small shops are functioning and selling products from Organic aymaks and organic producers.
Organic aymak is a group of farms that are part of one or several villages in mountainous regions that have common sources of water and adjacent lands, which on a voluntary basis have agreed among themselves and jointly develop in their territory agriculture based on organic agritechnologies and traditional knowledge.
There are 10 organic aymaks in Kyrgyzstan: 2 in Talas oblast, 2 in Naryn oblast, 5 in Issyk-Kul oblast and 1 in Chui oblast.
BIO-KG Federation of Organic Development is playing a role of facilitator in establishment, promotion and fundraising for organic aymaks since 2013.
Organic production in synergy with traditional knowledge contributes to the development of environmental awareness, supports the preservation of useful traditional knowledge and techniques, allows to combine the traditional way of life with access to the modern achievements of scientific and technological progress.
Co-creation and sharing of knowledge: The farmers of organic aymaks are united into communities based on the sector they are involved. There are farming communities, handicraft communities, agro eco ethno tourism communities and communities processing agricultural products. The members of each community share the knowledge and make their contribution for creation of a strong group.
The communities decided to unite into legal entities for reaching better markets, be able to raise funds independently, to have a strong voice to reach decision makers.
Synergies: Organic aymaks are uniting their capabilities and knowledge in promotion of sustainable agriculture, environment and communities. Touristic tours between aymaks are under development to display the best practice in organic agriculture, synergy of tradition and modern technologies, diverse traditions and culture.
However, one of the main achievements of organic aymaks was strong action against construction of a plant producing chemical fertilizers in Kyrgyzstan and acting against gold mining in organic aymak Kopuro-Bazar.
Culture and food traditions: Farmers of organic aymaks conducting festivals with traditional games, traditional ceremonies and traditional cuisine to preserve the meaning and the value of the rich heritage of ancestors in agrobiodiversity and restore nutritious value and salutariness of traditional cuisine.
Diversity: The organic farmers are focused on creating a seed cooperative to disseminate local seeds between organic aymaks. Finding GMO free, virus free and disease free seeds have always been a big trouble. Nowadays organic aymaks have more than 400 seeds of local vegetables.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
The first steps of Organic aymaks to Bishkek and its inhabitants will be offering citizens organic products. There are 2 shops functioning in the city delivering products from organic aymaks. And we feel that is not enough. We need to increase awareness of the citizens about organic food, how nutritious and healthy it is by informational campaigns, taking citizens to organic aymaks, showing the production processes.
Master-classes on preparing traditional dishes in a new way, with adding more green products will be performed during festivals and informational campaigns.
Second step will be initiating a campaign together with the mayor's administration "One tree from one citizen". The nurseries in Organic aymaks can provide different kinds of plants, from fruitful trees to decorative ones. Trees will allow increase the rising heat in the city during summer and will lead to "breath with full lungs" for the city.
Third step will be inviting the citizens to traditional festivals in organic aymaks with further approach to conduct the fests in the city. The citizens will have possibility to see, feel the deepness of diverse nomadic culture, which kept our ancestors survive and live in harmony with the Nature.
The parallel activities in lobbying organic agriculture as a main vector of developing agricutural sector, additions and changes to legal documents for creating pleasant conditions for organic agricultural production, requirements for clean air and nutritious food, food and nutrition security (Law and Acts) will be an essence.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
Monitoring organic potato fields on vegetation period
Organic Aymaks receiving guests from Bishkek. The meal they are offering, the cultural activities they are performing has deep interconnection.
2050. It seems so far and unpredictable in 2020. Anyway we have bright vision that we, Organic Aymaks, will make a change and help Bishkek to design Principles of Future-city design:
The main accent will be made on ECOLOGY: The future Bishek is designed around natural features and forces, protecting wildlife habitat and natural resources. Based on a unified vision for the region, the city is compact and dense to limit impacts on the ecosystem.
Rainwater cleansing in lieu of gutters, bioswales (absorbent rain gardens) and pools collect and filter rainwater for reuse.
As it is mentioned in the Toolkit, WATER is the most important for us.
Protecting upland water systems and rigorous collection and cleansing of stormwater improve water quality. Wetland restoration and sponge-city measures revive habitats and protect against flooding. The Northeren part of Bishkek are wetlands and hard to plant or build.
We cannot imagine the future without ENERGY: Solar panels and roof gardens are common atop buildings, encouraging sustainable energy and small-scale farming. In Bishkek of the future, energy is 100 percent renewable. Enough power is produced within or close to the city for it to be self-sufficient. Area buildings share energy resources, generating as much energy as they consume.
With approximate 5mln population in 2050, we should think of utilizing WASTE properly.
Recycling and reuse: Used items—those that aren’t already biodegradable—are more easily reused or recycled in dense communities. Waste becomes a resource to produce energy or alternative material. Landfills and abandoned industrial areas are gradually converted to other purposes after soil remediation. Wastewater is treated for irrigation or human consumption.
FOOD - as you know sustainability practices are mandated across the life cycle of a product, from food production to delivery and disposal. City standards are established for organic farming. Most food is delivered from organic aymaks to trade networks of Bishkek. PGS certification guarantees the quality of food, as well as Bishkek inhabitants are participating at production process assessment activities.
CULTURE - In the densely populated and diverse city of the future, historical heritage is preserved and celebrated. Recreation, arts, and entertainment can be shared globally, regionally or countrywide through virtual and augmented reality. In addition the inhabitants of Bishkek actively participating in traditional fests and activities. The heritage from ancestors is conserved and handed over to the future generation.
The ECONOMY of Bishkek will work in tandem with policies that safeguard ecological sustainability. The policies are changed to meet the realities and needs of 2050.
How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?