Ece Gulkirpik is from Istanbul, Turkey. She received her bachelor’s degree in Food Engineering from Istanbul Technical University. As an international student coming from a developing country, she’s aware of the need for a change in the current food system, and she is aiming to combine her engineering background and interest in food chemistry and nutrition to create sustainable food systems to enable the access of safe, nutritious and sufficient food to everyone.
She has been working in collaboration with the Artisan Grain Collaborative: Creating Diversified Infrastructure for Local Grains in the Upper Midwest. The goal of this project is to build a strong regional grain and legume value chain. Within the scope of this project, Ece has been working in the FSHN Pilot Processing Plant and IBRL under the guidance of Dr. Juan Andrade. She is evaluating the nutritional quality, physical-chemical, and functional characteristics of locally produced, organic grain varieties. Last year, she developed standard operating procedures for specific equipment and instruments needed for processing grains and analyzing their quality.
This project aims at promoting the processing of organic grains produced locally, expand the access of local farmers to markets, educate them in sustainable agriculture practices and create a sustainable food system by collaborating different parties including companies, farmers, bakers and consumers in Illinois. Ece wants to take this similar approach to countries where processing can enhance the nutritional value of products, especially for vulnerable populations.