When did agriculture become a right to fight for instead of a necessity?
I love this. To me, it represents urban decay meeting at a crossroads with modern sustainable agriculture. It shows the collapse of civilization and the return to a more wholesome and simplistic way of life.
Or something like that.
Some additional images from my little greenhouse visit. It is wonderful how everyone is so innovative in what they do, making use of things that were primarily rendered useless.
I love the garden.
Agriculture is one of the greatest industries. Not only will it always be a necessity, but it also holds within it almost mini industries that require more than just basic physical labor. Farming is about innovation, creativity, business. It’s about people helping people, and not necessarily on purpose.
The Potato Movement
“There’s some dispute about where and when it all started, but Christos Kamenides, genial professor of agricultural marketing at the University of Thessaloniki, is pretty confident he and his students have made sure it’s not about to stop any time soon.
What’s sure is that the so-called potato movement, through which thousands of tonnes of potatoes and other agricultural produce – including, hopefully, next month, Easter lamb – are being sold directly to consumers by their producers, is taking off across Greece.
“It’s because everyone benefits,” said Kamenides, standing in a clearing in the woods above Thessaloniki in front of one 25-tonne truck of potatoes, another of onions, and smaller vans of rice and olives. “Consumers gets good-quality food for a third of the price they would normally pay, and the producers get their money straight away.”
As devised by Kamenides and his students, it’s a simple system. Their brainwave was to involve Greece’s local municipalities, lending the movement a degree of both organisation and official encouragement that it might otherwise have lacked.
So: a town hall announces a sale. Locals sign up for what they want to buy. The town hall then tells Kamenides the quantity required and he and his students call local farmers to see who can supply it. They show up with the requisite amount of produce at the appointed place and time, meet their consumers, and the deal is done.
The direct sales are immensely popular. One organised last month by volunteers in Katerini, south of Thessaloniki, last month saw an online offer of 24 tonnes of potatoes sell out within four days, with 534 families pre-ordering.
“Today,” said Kamenides, “we have one truck here, and two in another municipality up the road. Tomorrow we have a sale with four trucks – that’s 100 tonnes of potatoes, straight from the producer to the consumer, with nobody in the middle pushing up prices.”
The movement, said Elisabet Tsitsopoulou, one of the women queuing up to buy, is “extremely important. Salaries here are so low now, and still falling, but the price of everything seems to stay just as high as it ever was. This is much cheaper, much less than half price.”
This is actually quite brilliant, and on a large scale no doubt.