Combining theory and practice, research and communication, professionalism and activism: an interview with Pavlos Georgiadis

Combining theory and practice: interview with Pavlos Georgiadis

Pavlos Georgiadis is a multifaceted professional.

He studied Biological Sciences, he holds a MSc in Biodiversity & Taxonomy of Plants, a Msc in Environmental Protection & Food Production and is currently a PhD Candidate in Rural Communication. He is the founder of the Convivium Slow Food Thrace and Greece Coordinator of the Slow Food Youth Network. Besides this, he looks after his family's olive grove and he is one of the co-founders of the startup “We Deliver Taste”, a bridge between producers and consumers. Curious to know more about his activities we posed him some question.

Pavlos, in your activities you managed to combine theory and practice, research and communication, professionalism and activism. We guess that what lies behind all this is passion. Is this right?

Farming On Crisis  | vimeoI think it is very important to look beyond traditional barriers. Never before has our world been so interdependent, therefore it is imperative to create connections between cultures of thinking and known disciplines. We are confronted with multiple and complex challenges, this is why it is important that science is communicated to the society in a professional manner that is capable of inspiring people to get active.
I don't believe in "-isms", since they are creating dualisms, and dualisms create conflicts. Nowadays, in my belief, there is no more time for conflict. In view of climate change, biodiversity loss, hunger and resource depletion we need to act together and we need to act now. Especially on issues related to rural development and the environment, because they are very complex and diverse, it is time to rethink our fundamental values with respect to our food and our relation with the landscape.
This means positive change, and I guess it requires people with passion to bring it forward. But I think everything stems from my interest in exploring and explaining the natural world and how it interacts with humans.
We very much appreciated your videoblog series "Farming on Crisis?" an interesting way to investigate and communicate the challenges that young Greek farmers are facing today. We are not the only one who appreciated your videoblog, which has received some prizes and was presented at the last edition of the Food Film Festival of Amsterdam.
It was about time that we Greeks re-discover our countryside, which is full of traditions, knowledge and beautiful landscapes. In my opinion, these are some of the very few assets-if not the only ones-that we have in order to get out of the economic crisis. And I am very glad that this understanding is infecting more and more people in Greece, especially the youth.
I am convinced that Europe and the international community will be able to capitalize on the solutions that we Greeks are creating by returning to the land of our ancestors. In all, this videoblog series was an opportunity to show another Greece: this of innovation, solidarity, collaboration and young people.A Greece different from the one that is reported by mainstream media.
Of course, the film takes the example of young farmers in Greece in order to touch global challenges like food security and the environment. And it is very fulfilling to see that this dialogue is taking place across many countries and different audiences. The film is travelling around the world and together with it, a discussion about the future of our food is advancing.
How do you come up with the idea of the videoblog series “Farming on Crisis?” Can you tell us something about the project “Food Politics” of which your videoblog series is part?
Farming on Crisis? | videoblog by Pavlos GeorgiadisFor the first time, despite its weak outcomes towards supporting ecological farming, the reform process of the EU Common Agricultural Policy was open to a public dialogue and the civil society. "Food Politics" was an opinion portal that was created in order to disseminate information about this process. "Farming on Crisis?" is a sequel to a similar videoblog produced by the Youth Food Movement in Holland, showcasing the stories of Dutch young farmers.
With the production of the Greece series, we aimed to create a comparison of Europe's agriculture in the north-south context. Food systems across Europe is so diverse and it remains a challenge to deliver a single agricultural policy that works for everyone. Therefore, we felt it was important to demonstrate all this complexity to the wider public. Of course, the production of the videoblog came in a time where the Greek society was desperately looking for alternatives. And I believe that the film provided these alternatives, which are not easy but they exist.
Among your online activities, there is also the petition “A fair and ecological agrarian policy for the EU" started together with nourish9billion. Environmental sustainability and youth are the two pillars upon which the EU agriculture policies should rest. In light of the expected outcomes of the petition, what is your opinion about the concluding remarks of the EMEG Position Paper drafted together with researchers, citizens and other stakeholders?
Nowadays, only 6% of Europe's farmers are under the age of 35, and there is no future unless we act boldly in order to support the generational renewal of the agricultural sector. This is not something that only concerns decision makers. Everyone has a role in this process, including producers and consumers.
Today, more than ever before, there is a need to connect the food system in ways that are fair and transparent. I agree with your Position Paper that the focus should be on small scale farmers, who are the backbone of Europe's rural economies. They are the ultimate managers of the land, producing quality food, keeping the traditions alive and stewarding the rural landscape in the Mediterranean region. Water, access to nutritious food and energy have to be on top of the agenda.
To these priorities, I would also add strategies related to the protection of our soils. The social and cultural dimensions of agriculture are also not to be missed. In the Mediterranean region, a focus on regenerative, ecologically functional agriculture can show the way out of the crisis. Good taste and the pleasure of good food can bring communities together -especially youth- allowing them to regain a sense of control and dignity over their future. In view of the current economic crisis, this is very important.
And this process can occur despite policies of austerity that are dismantling core societal values in countries like Greece.
A strong food movement is central to the future of Europe. And given political support, it is something that could potentially evolve into something very powerful. But in the absence of political sense, we citizens will have to continue building it by ourselves.

This is the first episode of "Farming On Crisis?" All the episodes are on vimeo.

Videoblog on CAP | Episode 1: Food Security from foodpolitics on Vimeo.

Combining theory and practice, research and communication, professionalism and activism: an interview with Pavlos Georgiadis

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About the author

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The Euro-Mediterranean AGORA is a way to engage the civil society in the institutional and policy dialogue on research and innovation with the aim of becoming an integral part of the decision making and governance processes.

The Agora is an important component of the broader MEDSPRING project, supported by the European Union with the aim of strengthening the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue and cooperation on research and innovation.