Patrick Cockburn: Fear of future is driving Greeks back to the land
Published 18/10/2011 | 05:00
'People are coming back to farms around here that they abandoned years ago so they can grow potatoes, cabbages and vegetables to help them survive the crisis," says Petros Citouzouris, as he prunes his vines high in the mountains of Naxos, the largest island in the Cyclades. The financial catastrophe in Greece is engulfing the most isolated parts of the country.
Pointing to newly cultivated terraces close to a long derelict leper colony at Sifones, Mr Citouzouris says that since the crisis began "unemployed builders, miners and pensioners have started returning to family farms they inherited a generation ago, but never worked". He reckons that 10 out of 20 nearby farms belong to the new arrivals.
"They don't see any light at the end of the tunnel," he says. "They won't be able to grow enough to live off farming alone, but it will help them get by."