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Keywords:

  • bostans;
  • Istanbul;
  • market gardens;
  • Turkey;
  • urban agriculture

ABSTRACT. For centuries, a network of market gardens throughout Istanbul provisioned the city with fresh vegetables. These bostans and their gardeners held a respected place in Istanbul life, contributing to the city's food and employment needs. Today, only fragments remain. Massive urban development, intense competition for metropolitan space, modernization, changing institutions and laws, and the global industrialization of food have threatened this tradition with extinction. But in spite of the overwhelming forces behind their demise, some of Istanbul's bostans persist. Efforts to support and promote the gardens, and to draw from the expertise and experience of their gardeners, are emerging. From a historical perspective, this article examines Istanbul's bostans to understand their meaning and contribution to the city's people and landscape.