Greece: urban gardens to fight the crisis

In Greece, the Permaculture Research Institute Hellas thinks about the future by focusing on agriculture in the city

He is about to end up run over, his mother saves him

"If we are to survive here, we must first help the earth to heal." Like this Nicola Netién, a Greek agro-ecologist at the Permaculture Research Institute Hellas, speaks to a group of about fifty people of all ages, gathered for a two-day workshop onself-sufficiency, self-organization, agro-ecology and composting. We are in Greece, an area where the economic crisis and the new austerity make themselves heard loud and clear. Precisely in the former Athens airport, Ellinikon, abandoned when 10 years ago another one began to be used to welcome athletes and visitors to the 2004 Olympic Games.

The state had promised it would become a park. Then came the 'crisis' and with it the rumors that the site would be sold to a foreign buyer. Thus, a small group of Athenians, armed with seeds and shovels, he decided to occupy the slopes and create a common area for agricultural production.

Since then, as the Greek government struggled to put its accounts in order, their efforts have launched agreen Wave that has swept the whole city. More and more people have visited the small "edible" garden and the examples of Athenians who have taken over the management of urban spaces in their hands to recover small plots of land have increased. They have created communal green spaces, sometimes quietly and peacefully, other times after long and grueling battles with riot police.

As in the Navarino Park, in central Athens, another example of broken promises by the Greek state. The inhabitants of one of the most densely populated areas of Athens strongly wanted a park but when the plans turned into the realization of a parcheggio, they organized themselves for resistance and struggle. Despite the violence and threats from the police, the residents occupied the little one piece of land, making it a small plot that is now a prime example of urban agriculture.

Thus, if life in Greece has become difficult and people are literally starving, urban gardens represent areal and practical solution, through self-organization, the sharing of knowledge and the redefinition of values ​​and identities. Perhaps these small groups and their gardens will be catalysts for an epochal change, perhaps they will become the fundamental node of a new network of urban farmers ready to change things.

Roberta Ragni

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