We can mash potatoes and do the twist

© Kostas Vasilatos (wikicommons)

For the last few days, a story regarding the online direct distribution of potatoes has been receiving extensive coverage in Greece, both in national media and blogs, as well as in international wires.

The story, which revolves around an innovative initiative from a volunteer civil group in North Pieria who have joined forces with potato farmers to slash consumer prices and ensure producers can get their crop to markets, has generated wide enthusiasm and started to have a snowball effect to other regions.

“The idea is very simple”, stated Elias Tsolakidis, representative of the North Pieria Volunteer Action Group on the channel MEGA TV, “we just wanted to help a group of our society that is stricken like all of us from the economic crisis” .

In just 10 hours they managed to distribute 24 tonnes of potatoes at a cost 0,25/kilo to 530 families that had placed a prior order online. The actual distribution took place peacefully in the car park of the court in the city of Katerini.

The aim of this initiative was to avoid the middlemen and supermarkets that usually squeeze out the potato producers. Both producers and consumers gain. For example, potato producers sold their production for 0,25€/kilo, while the wholesalers usually buy it for 0,10-0,15€/kilo and then sell it to consumers 0,70€/kilo.

The next distribution, this time of 75 tonnes is scheduled for March 3rd. Apparently 1100 families have ordered this volume of potatoes within just 20 hours. The next initiative will include other products like rice, olive oil, pasta, flour, beans and so on.

The idea was born after the potato producers from Drama gave away their products to passers in Thessaloniki as a protest for the very low prices that wholesalers buy their production.

Not many of you speak Greek but on the website of the volunteer group you can see many pictures colourful pictures from the potato action day.

I hope to have more of such inspiring stories to report that proves that a crisis can turn to an opportunity for a positive change. To be continued…

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About Myrto Pispini 41 Articles

Myrto Pipsini’s work covers both Greece and Spain. Currently a freelancer, Myrto has 15 years experience in environmental organisations, campaigning on agriculture and food issues. Being based in Spain and Greece, and being a lover of all good and natural Mediterranean food, she is experimenting with growing her own food, putting in practice what she is campaigning for.