In the face of stringent budget cuts and economic instability in Greece, a new movement of agricultural workers are taking matters into their own hands. Dubbed “The Potato Movement,” tens of thousands of pounds of potatoes and other agricultural produce are being sold directly to their consumers. Farmers are selling their locally-produced food out of the back of trucks, and the agricultural movement has spread across the country, with products like Easter lamb, onions, rice, and olives being added to the selection.
The start of these direct sales are attributed to Christos Kamenides, genial professor of agricultural marketing at the University of Thessaloniki, who along with his students devised the simple system through local municipalities whereby a town hall announces a sale and locals sign up for what they want to buy. Kamenides is told the quantity required, and he and his students source the produce directly from local suppliers. They then meet their consumers at the allocated place with the pre-ordered amounts. By going through local town halls, the deals are more efficiently organized allowing them to be made more quickly and easily for everyone.
Popularity for the sales is growing: in just one local meeting organized in February, an online offer of 24 tonnes (about 53,000 pounds) of potatoes sold out within four days. For the producers, this means that despite profits not being very high at just a little above production costs, they see returns immediately, while if they sell their produce wholesale it can take up to a year to be paid. And consumers are therefore getting cheaper fruits and veggies than before. Many see movements like this as an essential way to help provide food for the increasingly poor during the country’s tough economic situation.
Image courtesy of Flickr User Andreas Fucke
Via The Guardian