Guerrilla gardeners fight hopelessness in Greec

Guerrilla gardeners fight hopelessness in Greece

As Greece flounders under debt and austerity, green-fingered activists are overtaking unused spaces to feed those in need - and build a more sustainable future.

Elliniko community garden on the outskirts of Athens is an oasis of calm just a stone's throw from the noisy urban sprawl.

Neat lines of rutted earth have been prepared to grow potatoes and tomatoes. Pots of tender seedlings wait to be planted out. And there is already a luxuriant tangle of runner beans. This is just one of the "guerrilla gardens" that have been popping up all over Greece, as people struggle to feed themselves under difficult economic conditions.

Desperate times

Since the Greek debt crisis, and harsh austerity measures imposed on the country in response, youth unemployment has risen to around 50 percent, and homelessness is a major problem. Hunger and desperation have driven some Greeks to come up with creative ways to feed themselves and their communities.

This is one urban agriculture project that has sprung up in response.

The Elliniko community garden is located on the 2,500-square-meter (27,000-square-foot) expanse of an old airport that was abandoned in 2001. When grassroots activist group Agros took over the plot, it was buried under mounds of detritus from the neighboring American base.

After clearing the land, volunteers at planted a variety of fruit and vegetables to help the growing number of Athenians who are struggling to feed their families.
Around 11,000 families are now registered with Athens' food banks - compared to 6,000 in 2014. The organization that runs them says 5,000 of the newly registered are children.

Read the full article by Heidi Fuller-Love via DW news.

[Photo via Elliniko community garden blog]

Guerrilla gardeners fight hopelessness in Greec

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