By: Jerry Tenenberg
Founder of High Quality Organics
What is our lasting legacy?
After inspecting seed crops like cumin and fennel in the surrounding valleys of the southwestern city of Burdur, Turkey, we decided to travel south towards the Anatolian coast. Here in the mountains we would find oregano and wild sage. We had taken this route many times, but today my companions asked if I would like to travel to see the ancient city of Perge. They did not have to ask twice!
Perge (pronounced pur-ga) was an ancient Greek city, whose presence dates back to the 13th century B.C. We arrived at a large site of ancient ruins about 10 miles east of Antalya on the coastal plain. A once sprawling metropolis with an acropolis (a citadel on high ground), a stadium, amphitheater, and bath houses; now lay in ruins from its glory 2,000 years ago.
A beautiful fountain had been constructed where artesian waters entered from a mountain slope and first flowed into the city. Water poured down from Kestros, the God of the river into a pool and then into the canal that flows through the city between the Roman columns that had been added to the Greek city, when Rome conquered in 180 B.C.
Perge had a unique character that had begun with the Greeks and continued to its peak in the second and third century of the Roman empire. It provided protection to anyone who entered its boundaries and all were treated with respect. Anyone could freely utilize any of the city’s features, including the bathhouses with their intricate stone fire chambers, that once heated the water in the bathing floor above, that has long since collapsed.
As I stood before this breathtaking view, I pondered what might have been considered a utopian city. All inhabitants were treated with dignity and it offered the finest theater, spas and culture of its day. But it also presented a strange juxtaposition. However magnificent this ancient city had been; it was now in ruins. It is amazing what people can build, and also impressive that this city’s legacy was one of harmony.
So I thought what would be our legacy? The day before I had witnessed the new growth of spring crops that would provide an abundance of sustenance and joy to many. I thought how fortunate we are to produce hundreds of different crops and products from thousands of farmer families around the world. We had embraced the organic alternative and eliminated toxic chemicals from the farming process. But I thought, most of all, we believe in what we are doing. We do it with a passion and are optimistic and excited about life. At High Quality Organics, we do what we do because it is right.