Crisis: from France to Greece, going back to the land

French collective gardens; Greek church offers farming plots

27 December, 17:08

Greek farmers harvesting olives [ARCHIVE MATERIAL 20070201 ] Greek farmers harvesting olives [ARCHIVE MATERIAL 20070201 ]

(by Patrizio Nissirio) (ANSAmed) - ROME, DECEMBER 27 - In recession-battered Europe, governments are not the only ones responding to the crisis with top-down policies, be they austerity or growth measures: the grassroots has also come into play, following the back to the land concept.

Called Incroyables Comestibles, the French version of the Incredible Edible movement, which began in the UK in 2008, involves planting collective vegetable gardens in easily accessible public spaces, such as school yards and in front of police stations, from which each can pick for free, according to his or her own need. In France, this movement began in the spring of 2012, and has spread to the four corners of the Republic, thanks in part to social media.

In Greece, now in its fifth consecutive recession year, the powerful Orthodox Church, which owns about 40% of the country's land, is offering lots to anyone willing to farm them. ''We want you to know that whoever is willing to work Greek land, to contribute to the country's food security and to the development of a modern and exportable agriculture and animal farming model, has what is left of the church's land at their disposal,'' the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Ieronymos, said in his traditional Christmas address to the nation. He did not, however, specify if the land is for free or for rent.

The Greek government has already started a successful program, with almost 10,000 lots of public domain land assigned to young farmers at cut-rate rental prices: 5 euros per acre per season, with a maximum of 100 acres per person. In Greece in 2008-2010, agriculture was one of the country's few growth sectors, with 32,000 jobs created, according to the New York Times. (ANSAmed).


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