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MEDITERRANEAN AGRONOMIC INSTITUTE OF CHANIA

INVESTIGATING A PARADIGM OF FOOD SYSTEM SUSTAINABILITY: THE CASE OF FRESH VEGETABLE PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION IN CRETE

A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE DEPARTMENT OF SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE

KRISTY APOSTOLIDES CHANIA, GREECE NOVEMBER 2008


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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Director of the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania (MAICh), Alkinoos Nikolaidis, for giving me this opportunity to spend some time exploring the intricacies of the food system on Crete. I would also like to thank the Coordinator of the Sustainable Agriculture Department, Dr. Yannis Livieratos, for his consistent trust in my dedication to this work (in spite of my frequent absences), his great support of my desires to conduct an unorthodox research project, and, finally, his guidance concerning life in Crete. I express my greatest thanks to my advisor for this project, Dr. Emmanouil Kambourakis, for completely understanding the background to and my motivations for conducting this study, providing me with the support and encouragement to make it happen, and reassurance that I am not alone in the pursuit of an idyllic agro-food system. I would also like to thank the Organizing Committee of the Forward Look: European Food Systems in a Changing World for providing me with insight into current research being conducted in this area. Especially, I would like to thank all the farmers and business owners who took time from their busy workdays to enthusiastically allow me to ask them endless questions. A very loud thanks goes out to all the translators who have become friends and friends who became translators: Yiorgos Eleftheriou, Adamantia Kotinakki, Dimitris Niklis, Agapi Vassiliou, and Evangelia Voutsaki. Without you I would still be stuttering through interviews. To all my family across the ocean, thanks for all your love and support from afar and your understanding of my tendency to leave the country. To my family here: the two best best men (koumbaroi), Cristos and Yiorgos; the two best classmates, Melania and Maher; and the best co-procrastinator, Ata. I greatly appreciate all the distractions, unending assistance in adjusting to life in Greece, and mostly, the laughter. While the omission of their names signifies only a lack of room on the page, I would also like to thank all the new friends from all these new places, and all the old friends from the old place, to whom I owe a greater understanding of the world and myself. Finally, I would like to thank David. Without him, I would be only another student.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Acknowledgements ........................................................................................................... ii List of Tables .................................................................................................................... vi List of Figures.................................................................................................................. vii Glossary of Foreign Terms............................................................................................ viii Abstract............................................................................................................................. ix Chapter 1 - Introduction .................................................................................................. 1 1.1 A New Paradigm in Agriculture ............................................................................... 2 1.2 Rationalization/Contribution of Study...................................................................... 3 1.3 Outline of Thesis Chapters ....................................................................................... 4 Chapter 2 - Literature Review......................................................................................... 6 2.1 Setting the Stage for Change .................................................................................... 6 2.2 A Picture of Greek Agriculture................................................................................. 8 2.3 The Food System, A Changing Global Environment, and Sustainability .............. 11 2.3.1 Food Systems Defined ..................................................................................... 12 2.3.1.1 Local Food Systems: Short Supply Chains or Community-based Food Systems ................................................................................................................. 15 2.3.2 Sustainability Through the Food System......................................................... 16 2.4 Chapter Summary ................................................................................................... 18 Chapter 3 - Methodology................................................................................................ 19 3.1 Secondary Data: Farm Structure Survey and the National Statistics Service of Greece ........................................................................................................................... 20 3.2 Interviews................................................................................................................ 20 3.2.1 Wholesaler Interviews ..................................................................................... 20 3.2.2 Farmer Interviews ............................................................................................ 21 3.2.3 Market Organizers’ Interviews ........................................................................ 21 3.3 Site Observations .................................................................................................... 22 3.4 Analysis .................................................................................................................. 22 Chapter 4 - Case Studies ................................................................................................ 23 4.1 Chania Prefecture.................................................................................................... 23 4.1.1 General Statistical Indicators ........................................................................... 23

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4.1.2 Farming Ethos/Philosophy............................................................................... 24 4.1.2.1 Chania Common Market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά)................................. 25 4.1.3 Production/Land Use Data............................................................................... 27 4.1.3.1 Vegetable Production................................................................................ 27 4.1.3.2 Land Use ................................................................................................... 29 4.1.4 Distribution Data.............................................................................................. 30 4.1.4.1 Chania Wholesale Vegetable Market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά)............ 30 4.1.4.2 Wholesale Vegetable Market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) Purchases ....... 31 4.1.4.3 Wholesale Vegetable Market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) Sales............... 32 4.2 Heraklio Prefecture ................................................................................................. 35 4.2.1 General Statistical Indicators ........................................................................... 35 4.2.2 Farming Ethos/Philosophy............................................................................... 35 4.2.3 Production Data ............................................................................................... 37 4.2.3.1 Vegetable Production................................................................................ 37 4.2.3.2 Land Use ................................................................................................... 39 4.2.4 Distribution Data.............................................................................................. 39 4.2.4.1 Heraklio Wholesale Vegetable Market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) ......... 40 4.2.4.2 Wholesale Vegetable Market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) Purchases ....... 40 4.2.4.3 Wholesale Vegetable Market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) Sales............... 42 4.3 Island of Crete......................................................................................................... 44 4.3.1 General Statistical Indicators ........................................................................... 44 4.3.2 Farming Ethos/Philosophy............................................................................... 44 4.3.3 Production Data ............................................................................................... 45 4.3.3.1 Vegetable Production................................................................................ 45 4.3.3.2 Land Use ................................................................................................... 47 4.3.4 Distribution Data.............................................................................................. 48 4.3.4.1 Definition of Retailers............................................................................... 49 4.3.4.2 Wholesale Vegetable Market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) ........................ 50 4.3.4.3 Direct Sales ............................................................................................... 52 4.3.4.4 Wholesalers/Exporters .............................................................................. 53 4.3.5 Consumption .................................................................................................... 53

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Chapter 5 - The Cretan Food System and Sustainability ........................................... 55 5.1 Small, Diversified and Local is More Sustainable ................................................. 55 5.1.1 Small, Diverse Farming Systems..................................................................... 56 5.1.2 Local Distribution Systems and Diverse Local Markets ................................. 58 5.1.3 Consumer Preferences to Local Food .............................................................. 61 5.2 Barriers to Greater Sustainability ........................................................................... 63 5.2.1 Farmer Production Practices ............................................................................ 63 5.2.2 Lack of Consumer Support and Presence of International Supermarkets ....... 64 5.2.3 Government Support........................................................................................ 64 Chapter 6 - Conclusions ................................................................................................. 65 6.1 Recommendations for Further Research................................................................. 68 Reference List.................................................................................................................. 71 Appendix A - Distributor Survey .................................................................................. 76 Appendix B - Wholesale Vegetable Market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) Survey ...... 79 Appendix C - Common Market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) Administration Survey 82 Appendix D – Producer Survey ..................................................................................... 84 Appendix E - Chania Prefecture Survey/Interview Results ....................................... 86 Appendix F - Heraklio Prefecture Survey/Interview Results ................................... 103

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LIST OF TABLES Table 1. Chania Major Vegetable Crops (by production)................................................ 28 Table 2. Land Use in Chania, by Category...................................................................... 29 Table 3. Origin of Product – Chania wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/ λαχαναγορά) .............................................................................................................. 32 Table 4. Geographic Distribution of Product................................................................... 33 Table 5. Distribution of Product by Type of Retail Operation ........................................ 34 Table 6. Heraklio Major Vegetable Crops (by production)............................................. 38 Table 7. Land Use in Heraklio, by Category ................................................................... 39 Table 8. Origin of Product – Heraklio Wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/ λαχαναγορά) .............................................................................................................. 41 Table 9. Geographic Distribution of Product................................................................... 42 Table 10. Distribution of Product by Type of Retail Operation ...................................... 43 Table 11. Crete Major Vegetable Crops (by production) ................................................ 46 Table 12. Total Tractor Use in Crete ............................................................................... 47 Table 13. Land Use in Crete, by Category....................................................................... 47

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1. Food systems and their drivers .......................................................................... 14 Figure 2. An illustration of a sustainable food system...................................................... 17 Figure 3. Map of Greece, detailing location of Crete ....................................................... 23 Figure 4. Map of Crete, detailing location of Chania Prefecture...................................... 23 Figure 5. Map of Crete, detailing location of Heraklio Prefecture ................................... 35 Figure 6. Distribution of Cretan Production Through Wholesale Vegetable Market....... 48 Figure 7. Scale Representation of Origin of Product........................................................ 51 Figure 8. Scale Illustration of the Supply Chain............................................................... 60

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GLOSSARY OF FOREIGN TERMS

Έμπορος (emboros) - Any company buying product wholesale and offering it for retail sale. In the case of this study, it refers to food products. Κηπευτικά (kipeftika) - This word is used when referring to any usually annual crops grown in the field that are not grain crops (wheat, barley, rye, maize, etc). It generally includes vegetables and fruits such as watermelons and sometimes strawberries. Λαχαναγορά (lachanagora) - A wholesale market, but dealing strictly in fruits and vegetables. Literally translated, it means "vegetable market". Λαϊκή αγορά (laiki agora) - This is an open air, temporary market where farmers and resellers offer their product directly to consumers. They usually are located in different areas of a city on different days of the week and operate only in the morning hours (usually from 8am-2pm). Literally translated, it means "common market". Στρέμματα (stremma/stremmata) - The Greek measurement of land, each 1/10 of an hectare (1000 square meters) or approximately 1/4 of the U.S. acre. Ταβερνα (taverna) - A restaurant, but one that offers home-cooked style food often run by a single family and offering only traditional or common Greek cuisine.

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ABSTRACT

This study investigates the methods of production and maps the normal distribution of vegetables and melons within and from the island of Crete to investigate the island’s potential to develop a fully sustainable, localized food system. The small diversified farms, geographic isolation of an island environment, fertile soils for vegetable production, and Mediterranean growing climate coupled with a large range of altitudes provides, in theory, a suitable foundation for the development of a sustainable and localized food system within Crete. Through case studies, this study examines the typology of production and maps the distribution of vegetables and melons produced on the island as the first step to determining the current level of food system sustainability, and opportunities and barriers for greater sustainability. The findings show that in the case of fresh vegetable and melon production, Crete’s consumption is heavily based on locally grown product which is produced on small, diversified farms.

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION

The paradigm driving agriculture for the past fifty years has been built around two goals: maximizing profit and maximizing production (Gliessman, 1998). To reach these goals, the portrait of agriculture has changed: farms consolidated, mechanized, experienced an intensification of inputs (fertilizers, pesticides, water), an influx of capital (Gliessman, 1998), and began to participate in the global marketplace (Halweil, 2002). A food system once based around regional activities has grown to be a global web of complex interactions, transactions and dependencies. And while this model has certainly increased the overall production of food, it has done so without consideration for or attention to the resultant environmental and social costs (Gliessman, 1998; Abate, 2008). As a result, we are noticing changes emerging in the production, distribution and consumption patterns of food. A modern food system is defined as having four activities: production, processing and packaging, distribution, and retailing and consumption (Ericksen, 2007). Over the last fifty years, the food system has undergone a number of changes in each stage of the system. Productivity increases have occurred worldwide, yielding more per each measure of input. The nature of production has changed from a small, diversified system dependent upon the knowledge and skill of the grower to a mechanized, system with a homogenization of inputs and outputs. In general, the entire food system has experienced homogenization: now, one or a handful of companies can own the entire chain of production through consumption. This vertical integration coupled with advancements in transportation and storage technology has inflated and pushed an agenda of free market initiatives, encouraging the world-wide distribution of fresh foods, which was economically and physically infeasible in years past (Rabbinage, 2008).

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1.1 A New Paradigm in Agriculture The old paradigm is shifting however. The twin evils of rising input costs and the fact that market prices do not always increase relative to these costs, can result in an overall decrease of farming profits1 (Schluter, 2007; Connolly, 2008). Environmental damage caused by industrial farming techniques has degraded the very resources upon which agriculture depends: soil, water resources, and genetic diversity (Gliessman, 1998). The motivation of increased production in the name of food security is being replaced by a consumer measurement of quality based around taste and nutrition, and an increased awareness for how the current production methods degrade natural resources and actually put food security of rural communities in jeopardy (Schweisfurth, 2002; Ericksen, 2007). This paradigm shift is happening as much out of necessary as opportunity; unless industrial agriculture reduces its heavy dependence on petroleum-based inputs and the environmental detriment this type of production causes is reversed, the cost of producing and shipping food in the current manner could soon outrun profits, as farmers could experience decreasing yields. Now that the environmental, social, and economic impacts of these long food supply chains are beginning to emerge, it is imperative to find appropriate solutions to the detriment this system has caused within each stage of the food system. Through the assessment of existing food systems, opportunities for improvement towards the goal of greater sustainability in the food sector may become apparent. Through incorporating technological advances in the production of food while focusing on quality of production, reduced environmental detriment and long term economic viability for farmers and still providing an affordable product, a more sustainable method of producing and distributing food can be developed. This more sustainable food system is one that is based around 1

This trend could continue into the future: as a result of increasing input costs and a downturn in prices, the American Farm Bureau Federation issued a statement that in the current weakening economy, farmers could likely experience lower profits in the future and “farmers will still need to find new ways to market their crops� in order to maintain current profit margins (American Farm Bureau, 2008).


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local or regional communities and benefits farmers, consumers, and the environment upon which both depend. Furthermore, a localized, sustainable, production system may allow for growth and rural development keeping in character with the specific needs of the rural communities.

1.2 Rationalization/Contribution of Study The island of Crete presents an interesting opportunity to study sustainability within a food system. As an island, dependency upon outside inputs is crucial as most agricultural inputs common to vegetable and fruit production have to be shipped to the island. Additionally, agriculture on Crete is well developed and has a well established distribution system. It also is a tourist destination and therefore has a great demand for available food above that of its year-long population. The resources and needs of the island present an appealing case study to determine the feasibility of creating a sustainable localized food system. This study investigates the methods of production and maps the normal distribution of vegetables and melons (kipeftika/κηπευτικά)2 within and from the island of Crete to determine its potential to develop a fully sustainable, localized food system. The small diversified farms, the existence of fertile soils excellent for vegetable production (especially in costal areas), geographic isolation of an island environment (making input importation costly and difficult), and Mediterranean growing climate coupled with a large range of altitudes provides, in theory, the conditions to enable a sustainable and localized food system within Crete. Through case studies, this study will map the production and distribution of vegetables and melons (kipeftika/κηπευτικά) as a first step to determining the current level of sustainability, and opportunities for the island to achieve a higher level of sustainability. Specifically, the study will seek to address the following questions, through case studies, in order to gain a greater understanding about the 2

See Glossary of Foreign Terms for a definition of foreign terms used.


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sustainability of production and distribution on the island: • What percentage of vegetables and melons (kipeftika/κηπευτικά) available on the island are produced on the island? • What are the channels through which vegetables and melons (kipeftika/κηπευτικά) produced on Crete travel? • What

is

the

general

state

of

production

of

vegetables

and

melons

(kipeftika/κηπευτικά) on Crete, including the farmers' philosophies as a part of the food system?

1.3 Outline of Thesis Chapters This thesis is broken down into the following chapters: literature review, methodology, case study results, a discussion about the overall food system and a conclusion. Chapter two presents a review of the literature available on the topic of food systems analysis, the state of agriculture in Greece, and a defense for local food systems as exemplary sustainable food systems. Chapter three summarizes the methods used to address the research questions. It provides a description of how and from where secondary data was obtained, the mechanism for identifying interviewees to obtain the primary data, and a description of how site observations were also included in the research methods. Chapter four provides a complete picture of the case study area by reporting both primary and secondary data, and includes information about the production methods and farm typologies as well as the distribution streams for the types of vegetables of interest for this study. Chapter five summarizes the findings through the lens of sustainability. It provides notes about areas where Cretan agriculture meets the definitions of sustainability and where


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there are opportunities for improvement in this area. It also provides an overview of the complete

picture

of

the

distribution

channels

for

vegetables

and

melons

(kipeftika/κηπευτικά) produced on the island. Chapter six contains concluding remarks/thoughts about the study and identifies areas for further research to provide greater support for the possibility of Crete to exemplify a local, sustainable food system.


CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Setting the Stage for Change Progress in agriculture worldwide over the last 50 years has been measured mostly on a scale of efficiency (Holloway, 2007) which required the adaptation of measures to increase productivity; mainly the mechanization and simplification of agricultural systems. This mechanization and simplification is represented by monocultures and vertical integration3 of the production – consumption chain, in the name of food security (Ericksen, 2007). The driving factor in the development of this industrialized and efficient agricultural system4 was to minimize the uncertainties in and lower the costs of production applying assembly-line process to simplify the materials and processes (harvesting, weed control, etc) so they could be controlled with the greatest accuracy. In order to maximize the production and distribution of food - and therefore availability the industrialization of agriculture attempts to minimize uncertainties of weather and the resultant production yield with the introduction of external inputs (fertilizers, pesticides, etc) and mechanization of harvesting. While efficiency in production systems produced greater volumes of food on small areas, markets for this food needed to be located. Coupled with new technologies and subsidies that made shipping less expensive, the global food trade filled this gap. In 2000, companies shipped an estimated 817 million tons – nearly US$417 billion worth - of food round the world (Halweil, 2002). Much of

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Vertical integration is defined as the extent to which a firm owns its upstream suppliers and its downstream buyers. The typical vertically integrated chain in the food system consists of a firm, often a life science firm, that controls the seed production, growth, processing, distribution, and retailing of a product. The farm plays a role in this process, providing labor and capital, but does not make management decisions about the product (Hefferman et al., 2000). 4

The Union of Concerned Scientists defines industrial agriculture as a method of production that “views the farm as a factory with “inputs” (fertilizers, pesticides, feed, fuel) and “outputs” (corn chickens, etc). The goal is to increase yield and decrease costs of production, usually by exploiting economies of scale.”

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these distribution patterns fly against common sense, with countries importing items that can and are produced domestically. Much of this is a result of “subsidized transportation, centralized buying by supermarkets and food manufactures, and trade agreements that set food import quotas even for self-sufficient nations” (Halweil, 2002). However, recent agricultural trends have driven change in the production and distribution of food from that of maximizing efficiency to maximizing quality. This paradigm shift is a result of the growing awareness that agriculture has great influence in global environmental concerns (such as climate change) and food (specifically consumption patterns) is intimately linked to community health (Holloway, 2007; Ericksen, 2007). However, studies concerning these relationships have remained mostly in the realm of production practices and their environmental impact or consumption habits and their effect on diet-related illnesses (Lockie, 2000). The idea that a food system is not a linear cause-reaction relationship is relatively new. Discussions are now emerging that link production, distribution, and marketing of food with communities’ economic, social, and environmental stability (Marsen, 2000). This understanding is also exhibited outside of academia with the development of “alternative food systems”5 as the solution to the economic, social and environmental problems brought about by the previous paradigm in agriculture to maximize productivity at any cost. In many developed nations, these alternative food systems came about as a rejection of the industrialization of agriculture. Farmers began to see the impact of their production systems and communities of consumers realized the influence of their purchases, and as a replacement for the current industrialized food system, producer-consumer systems were developed that placed emphasis on environmental, social and economic sustainability in agriculture. However, in Greece, the industrialization of agriculture was of a different 5

An ‘alternative food system’ is a catchall phrase referring to the production and procurement of food in any way outside of the mainstream agro-industrial complex. Alternative food systems generally encompass “community food systems”, “sustainable food systems” or “local food systems” which are discussed in further detail later in this chapter.


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nature and the consolidation of farms, monocultures and vertically integrated and distant supply chains dominating the mainstream food system are less prevalent. This provides a unique opportunity to further develop its mainstream agricultural systems within the new paradigm of agriculture, as one that adopts many of the principals of the alternative food systems.

2.2 A Picture of Greek Agriculture While the progress in agriculture in Greece following WWII is unquestionable, the country as a whole managed to escape a complete shift from subsistence or extensive farming systems6 to industrial agricultural production. During this time Greek production systems incorporated the new technologies available, as illustrated by an increase in the use of tractors and chemical fertilizers, selective breeds or varieties, and a resultant greater yield. However, agriculture in Greece was never organized into an agri-business characterized by an assumption of endless productivity, maximum mobilization of labor, and simplification of the structures of production (Damianakos, 1997). Even while policies encouraged the development of agri-businesses, the family farm remains the core of Greek agriculture. During this development, Greek agriculture moved to a “semiperipheral position� (Damianakos, 1997) where rural exodus was countered by the tendency of families to keep the agricultural land and at least one member to remain there to maintain it. This cultural phenomenon of remaining attached to the land, coupled with land reform until the 1950’s, gave rise to a type of agriculture which was something between capitalist agriculture and subsistence farming: Greek farms raise product for

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Extensive production systems are effective land use systems which allow using scarce natural resources in rural semi-arid and highland-lowland areas. In semi-arid properties they are characterized by improved tillage, residue management, plant arrangement (row spacing and plant population) to optimize the crop water supply and fertility to minimize production risk (Gerik, 2004). While extensive production systems are often overlooked when considering value in agriculture, they offer a significant contribution both socially and economically and show promise as a way to keep youth in farming offering a promising way of life and as a way to reduce migration towards urban centers.


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home consumption and sell the excess. According to Damianakos (1997), agriculture in Greece …has managed to establish wise compromises with room for change while preserving what is essential. The essence of peasantry remains the integrity and solidity of the primary group (family, kin, and the face-to-face village society) which gives priority to horizontal over vertical bonds so as to enable the individual to find his place in a world where depersonalized, fragmented or desperately functional relationships prevail. …Greek peasantry accepts being closely integrated into global society, only if this integration does not, as modernity tends to, break up elementary social structures. Even though it has not developed into an agri-business typology, Greek agriculture remains a mainstay of the Greek economy and culture. According to Damianos (1997), Greece maintains a high level of self-sufficiency for most crops and agricultural products contribute a significant, if declining, percentage of the total exports from Greece. Beopolus (1997) further valuates the unique position of agriculture in Greece by stating that the extensive production systems that remain prevalent in Greek agriculture not only have cultural and social importance, but because of the tendency towards “traditional” methods of production, they use fewer resources and are a significant contributor to the conservation of natural habitats. Furthermore Kasimis (1997) states how Greece’s accession into the European Union resulted in divisions within intensively farmed areas that resulted in both the division of land and greater pluriactivity 7. An exploration into the typology of rural communities in Europe discusses the relationship between urban and rural areas and how these reflect on the stability, success and therefore sustainability of agricultural communities (Boscacci, 1999). It specifically mentions pluriactivity as a necessary component for the maintenance of a community in agriculture in the future. By integrating activities that are complimentary to agriculture, the community becomes more economically viable. 7

Agricultural pluriactivity is described as both part-time farming and a farming household that receives income from activities other than farming (such as the employment of a spouse in an industry other than agriculture).


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Specifically, a successful rural community is determined by the presence of strong agricultural activities, the integration of agricultural activities with the food industry, and diversification of the rural economy into various sectors (other than and including agriculture) (Boscacci, 1999). Using this definition of success, the study determined several indicators to assess the productivity and importance of agriculture within a rural community as prediction of its success as a rural, agricultural community. For both indicators, generally in Greece and specifically all areas of Crete were determined to have a high level of productivity and give agriculture high importance within the community as a whole. The study concludes that in “successful� rural areas, where agriculture has a great importance and is integrated with the urban communities and other industries, pressures such as urban sprawl and urban migration will not have so great a negative affect on the presence of agriculture in these communities (Boscacci, 1999). This conclusion shows promise for Greece, and especially Crete, to maintain its distinct but integrated urban and rural areas, and a strong possibility that it will maintain its character as an agricultural rural community. Another study (Vidal, 2001) counters this argument with a differing typology of rural communities. In his study, several indicators show the lack of sustainability of the agricultural sector in Greece. Vidal (2001) argues that indicators such as a high average age of farmers, low percentage of young farmers, and low gross domestic product (GDP) per capita all point to a limited vitality and sustainability of agriculture in Greece. As illustrated by the contrasting conclusions of these two studies, the future of agriculture is dependent on a number of factors, a main player of which is policy. It has been stated that instead of encouraging this cooperation and exchange between urban and rural areas, government involvement in rural development in Greece is focused around supporting and maintaining traditionalism rather than incorporating the traditional ideals into the modernization of the sector (Damianakos, 1997). The type of farming that is prevalent in many areas in Greece, especially in the island areas, and the tendency of policy to overlook the integral relationship agriculture has in both urban and rural development,


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presents an interesting opportunity to explore the concept of sustainability as applied through a food systems analysis.

2.3 The Food System, A Changing Global Environment, and Sustainability The industrial, agri-business method of food production depends on often expensive imported inputs (fertilizers, fuel, pesticides, etc)—which in many cases generate harm to the environment—and exploit locally available natural resources in order to maintain a profit-driven efficiency of scale. These types of production systems are generally considered unsustainable because of their abuse of local resources (such as water and soil), large dependence on external resources (such as fossil fuels), and consumption of these resources at rates much greater than the rate of regeneration (Horrigan, 2002; Plath, 2003). Additionally, the environmental detriment caused by industrial farming has greater societal costs (i.e. soil erosion, water pollution, and biodiversity loss), which are not reflected in the cost of production (hidden costs)8. Furthermore, the mainstay of industrial agriculture – the large, mechanized farm – has been shown to erode rural communities by concentrating the wealth in the hands of the few farm owners (Horrigan, 2002). Throughout the developed nations, this method of production has replaced the historical norm of proximity agriculture, driven not only by a focus on maximizing production but also by the growing presence of international food retailers and industrial food supply structures (Aubry, 2008; Ericksen, 2007).

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This would be considered an “externality” or external costs that affect individuals who cannot directly affect a decision or economic transaction within a company. For example, an unacceptable level of nitrates in a municipal water system caused by runoff from chemical fertilizers on a farm could cause an excess cost to the municipality to bring the concentration down to a level considered safe for a drinking water supply. The taxpayers in a municipality have no ability to affect fertilizer use on the farm.


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The growing presence of industrial agriculture and global food systems and its weaknesses9 has led to the development of more sustainable, healthful methods of food production and distribution. Subsequently, the paradigm driving growth in agriculture is beginning to change direction; the concern is no longer focused solely on quantity, but rather quality (Holloway, 2007; Directorate General for Research, 2007). This paradigm shift is further supported by the slow realization that this intensive form of food production will not be able to support a growing population in light of its heavy dependence on fossil fuels and the declining availability of these fuels. In contrast, and as a solution, individuals have been turning to alternative forms of food production which are reflective of a provincial system; one that is maintained locally and that closes the production-consumption cycle as much as possible. These alternative food systems have revolved mostly around the ideals of a community based food system (Garrett, 1999) or a short supply-chain concept (Aubry, 2008).

2.3.1 Food Systems Defined As mentioned earlier, a food system consists of four main activities: production, processing/packaging, distribution and consumption. Ericksen (2007) describes the food system as a “chain of activities from production (the field) to consumption (the table) with particular emphasis on the processing and marketing and the multiple transformations of food that these entail�. A conventional, industrial food system focuses on capital as the single factor against which all decisions within the food system are made. Since those who hold the capital have typically been the producers, the power within the food system remains in production. In a conventional food system, this means mostly the large agribusiness owners of the production systems are usurping all decision 9

Weaknesses of the industrial food system range from environmental concerns (biodiversity loss, soil erosion, water overuse and pollution) to concerns about the effects of an industrial food system on public health (the presence of genetically engineered (GE) foods and an increase in widespread food-borne pathogen outbreaks).


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making power and removing the possibility of influence from the consumers or anyone outside the business (Davis, 2004). This simplistic model is generally inflexible and unresponsive to issues beyond the means of production and results in an impersonal system without the ability to respond to individual, environmental and social problems. In response to this rather rigid understanding of the food system, studies have begun to explore a more relational and network-orientated understanding. The concept of a producer/capital driven system is replaced by the understanding that each of the activities in the food system - and the political, environmental and social backdrop against which these activities are presented - are influential. Mardsen (2000) further explains that in order to properly study a food system, and later affect positive change within the system, it is important to understand not only the system, but how it changes: studies must explore how the system is built, how it is formed and by what means it is reproduced over time. In short, a food system is not only the activities of production, processing, distribution, and consumption, but includes all its diverse inputs, the costs and benefits of these activities for individuals, the environment and society at large and how each part relates to the other. Figure 1 details a more holistic understanding of a food system including many of the possible realms of influence and relationships.


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Figure 1. Food systems and their drivers (Ericksen, 2007)

This more relational definition of the food system allows for influences beyond a capitalistic bottom line. It is dependent upon an understanding that a food system is fundamentally complex and it is through the embracing of these complexities that a system that is reflective of the needs of a community as a whole can develop. It is from this greater understanding of a food network – one that is based around the relationships between the food system activities and the natural environment and socioeconomic concerns – that alternative food systems have developed to produce outcomes that are positively contributing to food security, environmental security and other societal concerns. Alternative food systems are dependent upon the actualization of these relationships in tangible terms and disseminate the power from one business to all components in the system. They seemed to have developed as a reaction to the shortcomings of the industrialized food system and as a way to reestablish power within the food system to enable control by more than just one self-serving entity (Halloway, 2007).


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Through the understanding of the relationships within a food system, the actual effects of each of the activities are clearly understood and can then be adjusted according to the need of the entire system. Because relationships are a driving force behind these systems, they are almost by definition based in geographic proximity to each other – i.e localized food systems (Davis, 2004). It is because they are closely related, geographically and affectively, that the outcomes of each activity are clearly influential on other parts of the system and through feedback each activity can be adjusted in order to maintain positive outcomes for the whole system.

2.3.1.1 Local Food Systems: Short Supply Chains or Community-based Food Systems There seems to be two schools of literature revolving around the concept of localized food systems; one refers to short supply chains and the other to a community-based food systems. Both definitions describe ‘reterritorialized’ alternative food networks in contrast to the conventional ‘deterritorialized’ food systems. A short food supply chain is characterized “by a very low number of intermediates between the consumer and the producer and/or a small geographical distance between both” (Aubrey, 2008). Additionally, Mardsen (2000) includes the ability of these short supply chains to engender different relationships between producers and consumers and its ability to place value on the relationship itself in addition to valuating the product. The literature describing short food supply chains focuses on the ability to engender some form of connection between producer and consumer, but not necessarily one that is a face-to-face interaction. Mardsen (2000) concludes that within short food supply chains the importance does not rest with the number of intermediaries or distance through which a product travels, but rather with the information about production and place that is embedded with that product. Community based food systems go beyond this definition to include an analysis based more around the relationships built within a food system. The accepted definition of a community based food system is a system in which food production, processing,


16

distribution and consumption are integrated to enhance the environmental, economic, and social health of a particular place (Garrett, 1999; McCullum, 2004). A community based food system includes the needs of farmers, processors/packers, and consumers in decisions about the proper methods with which food is produced, marketed and consumed. This definition of a local food system generally assumes a close geographic area in order to discover the needs of each player and allow the effective management of the system in order to meet these needs.

2.3.2 Sustainability Through the Food System There has been much written about the benefits of locally based food systems. In Europe, the literature looks at the opportunities of short supply chains as a methodology of rural development (Mardsen, 2000). Short food supply chains are seen as a way for rural areas to create additional regional value and create a policy of development that meets the needs of both rural and urban communities. The discussion in North America, based around community food systems, emphasizes the reorganization of control of the food system in an effort to create a new system that emphasized environmental and social justice, and economic relationships that are beyond the monetary bottom line. Halloway (2007) emphasizes the need in each of these cases to move away from the alignment with the alternative and instead focus on methodologies which allow the opportunity to shift the entire system from one focused around the accumulation of capital to one that is focused around social, economical, and ethical concerns. In this way we can begin to address sustainability within the food system from all affected angles. A recent study by the United Kingdom’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) evaluates the applicability of food miles10 as a measure of sustainability 10

Food miles are defined as the distance food travels from farm to the consumer. Since localized food networks – either short supply chains or community food systems – refer to a generally localized geographic area from farm to table, it is assumed that the distance food travels could be reflective of its inclusion in a localized food network.


17

and its findings state that food miles cannot be the only indicator when assessing sustainability (Smith, 2005). This conclusion supports the notion that the food systems have to be reviewed from an understanding of the complex nature of the food productionconsumption chain and that sustainability within a food system needs to incorporate the affect of each activity within the food system.

Figure 2. An illustration of a sustainable food system (Garrett 1999)

Figure 2 is a clear illustration of the effects each activity of a food system has on the others. Sustainability is the capacity of something – in this case the food system – to meet its present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to also meet their needs (American Dietetic Association, 2007). At the center of each idea is the notion of


18

sustainability, and each activity must play its part to ensure its actions are not exploiting any other participant. A production system at the peak of environmental sustainability is not feasible within the system if the product is too expensive (and therefore compromises social equity by pricing the product out of range for the majority of consumers). The other side, where environmental health is exploited in exchange for economic success is characteristic of the failing existing industrial food system. Each part must maintain a balance with the other players in order to achieve overall sustainability.

2.4 Chapter Summary The unique situation of agriculture in Greece presents a great opportunity for the exploration of sustainability within its food system. It already has the foundation for a localized and relational food system; production systems that are diverse, closely related to nearby urban centers, and often experience pluriactivity. The literature presents a foundation for defining sustainability within a food system and at its current state of development, Greece could take advantage of these discoveries and the growing interest in and need to develop more sustainable methods of food production, distribution and consumption while developing its rural economies.


CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Two types of data were collected to address the questions of this study. Secondary research was gathered from the Farm Structure Survey and other government sources to examine trends in production. Primary qualitative exploratory research was conducted in the two most populated prefectures of Crete: Chania and Heraklio. The concentration and diversity of farming and the density of population of these two areas is believed to be representative of the whole island’s state of vegetable and melon (kipeftika/κηπευτικά11) production and distribution. Case studies within the two areas will allow for comparison of commonalities. Secondary research was conducted through interpretation of primary government documents and data, while the primary research was conducted through interviews and study site observation12. Interviews with semi-structured questionnaires were determined to be the most effective method to guarantee a response. They were conducted with the owner/operators of fruit and vegetable wholesale companies, farmers’ organizations (representatives of the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά)13 management organization) and farmers themselves. The interviews were supplemented with observations made from site visits. This section provides an overview of each of the methods utilized in gathering data and rationalization of why three different methods of information gathering were utilized. Additionally, as a result of the researchers’ limited knowledge of the language, all interviews were done with an interpreter present. 11

See Glossary of Foreign Terms for a definition of foreign terms used.

12

For the complete questionnaires asked of all interviewees, see Appendices A, B, C, D. The survey and interview results are included in Appendices E, F. 13

See Glossary of Foreign Terms for a definition of foreign terms used.

19


20

3.1 Secondary Data: Farm Structure Survey and the National Statistics Service of Greece To determine demographics of vegetable (kipeftika/κηπευτικά) production on the island and to provide baseline data to determine trends in production over time, data was mined from the National Statistics Service of Greece and the Agricultural Extension Service. When necessary data was not published either electronically or in print, data was obtained through visits to the offices of both and information was requested in person.

3.2 Interviews 3.2.1 Wholesaler Interviews The sample of wholesale business owners was chosen by the snowball or networking method; after initial introduction to the first interviewee, each subsequent interviewee was referred from the first. The main purpose of these interviews was to gain a general understanding of the movement of vegetables from farmer to retailer. However, open ended questions were added in several instances to gain an understanding of the wholesalers’ thoughts about the feasibility of a local food system. All of the interviewees were

business

owners/operators

located

at

the

wholesale

vegetable

market

(lachanagora/λαχαναγορά)14. It was determined that a small sample of these businesses in each prefecture would be sufficient to diagram the production-distribution-retail chain in each prefecture that would be representative of the island in general.

14

See Glossary of Foreign Terms for a definition of foreign terms used.


21

3.2.2 Farmer Interviews The sample of farmers interviewed were participants at the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) and all interviews were conducted in-person, during the market day. They were chosen by the snowball or networking method, where after the first introduction, new interviewees were referred by the previous interviewee. The questionnaires were semi-structured in nature and additional questions were added according to the interviewee’s interest and willingness to share additional information. Interviews were conducted with the farmers to determine their feelings about their role as farmers in the current food system and what changes they have experienced throughout their involvement in farming. The interview results were supplemented with site observations conducted throughout the interview process and the year of study. Farmers’ responses were compared between market days in the same case study area and between the two case study areas.

3.2.3 Market Organizers’ Interviews Interviews were conducted with the president of the organization in charge of running the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) in the major city of each prefecture. The suggestion to speak with this individual was made by a farmer participating in the interview process and it was determined the organization president could provide a larger view on the difficulties and successes of direct marketing and how farmers are perceived in the community. The interviews were conducted in person, on a market day and contained semi-structured questions. However, additional questions were added at the end of the interview and the president in Chania asked many questions about market operations and difficulties from the researcher’s experience with similar markets in New York City.


22

3.3 Site Observations Results from this study are also derived from observations that were made at the sites throughout the research period. Observations included the atmosphere and demographics of the market communities, the types of available food outlets within the communities, visits to these outlets and observations about the origin of products sold through these food outlets, visits to farms and observations about farm size and growing practices, in addition to informal conversations with farmers, consumers, residents, and even other researchers within the communities. These findings supported data gathered from interviews and data mining.

3.4 Analysis An exploratory analysis allowed for a paradigmatic understanding of the relationships within and to develop a mapped representation of the vegetable and melon (kipeftika/κηπευτικά) distribution system in Crete. Similar questionnaires were designed for all parties in order to allow for triangulation of the data gathered. Additionally, at the conclusion of the data gathering process, results were compiled to reveal salient points and structures to gain a general understanding of the ethos of farming in Crete.


CHAPTER 4 CASE STUDIES The case study areas chosen for this study are two of the four prefectures in the island of Crete: Chania and Heraklio. They represent both a significant percentage of the island’s population and agricultural production so in this way can be considered representative of the general production and distribution trends on the island. The data presented here is a combination of information gathered from all resources. The island of Crete is the largest and southernmost island in Greece, with the Cretan Sea to the north and the Libyan Sea to the south and an area of 8,336 km2 (3,219 square miles). It has a typical Mediterranean climate, with changes in climate due to altitude. Figure 3. Map of Greece detailing location of Crete

4.1 Chania Prefecture 4.1.1 General Statistical Indicators The prefecture of Chania is the westernmost part of Crete with an area of approximately 2,376 km2 (917 sq mi). There is a population of 156,371 with approximately 50,000 people living in its capital city and main urban area, also named Chania (NSSG,

2006).

The

main

economic

activities of the prefecture are agriculture and tourism. Within agriculture, the main products cultivated in this prefecture are olives and citrus, with a significant portion also in avocados, dairy and vegetables (kipeftika/κηπευτικά).

23

Figure 4. Map of Crete, detailing location of Chania Prefecture


24

4.1.2 Farming Ethos/Philosophy For this study, farmers were formally interviewed at one of the common markets (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά); however, throughout the year, the researcher spoke with farmers at the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) and at any other occasion as the opportunities were presented. The results presented here are mostly responses to interviews, but some generalizations that were further supported by other conversations and observations were included. The typology of farms discussed in the interviews are illustrative of the general statistical data available: they farmed an average of 30 stremmata (στρέμματα)15, ranging from 6-50 stremmata

(στρέμματα).

All

farmers

interviewed

produced

vegetables

(kipeftika/κηπευτικά) on at least half of their land with the remaining land in tree fruits and (mostly) olive production. The range in age of the farmers varied widely, from late 30’s to early 70’s, with most people being on the older end of the range. This sample seemed to be reflective of all the farmers selling at the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά), where most of the farmers appear about 50 years old. All of the farmers interviewed sold primarily, if not exclusively, at the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά), often attending three to four per week. When asked about their motivation for selling at the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) rather than to a wholesaler or retailer, each of them said they preferred to sell directly to the consumer because they could take a higher price and not give this difference to a middle man16. One farmer expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the wholesale arrangement stating that he stopped selling to the wholesale vegetable market

15

One stremma (στρέμμα) equals 1/10 of a hectare (about 1/4 acres). See Glossary of Foreign Terms for a definition of foreign terms used.

16

Only one farmer said she sold (her son’s) product to supermarkets, but this was only the fruits that they produced (cherries, pears, oranges). Two other farmers said they have sold to supermarkets or wholesalers before, but weren’t happy with the arrangement and so they switched to keeping the common market (laiki agora, λαϊκή αγορά) as their sole market.


25

(lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) because he simply didn’t “want to give money to the middle men who do nothing”. There was a general sense of dissatisfaction from farmers regarding the lack of state support for the farmers and the position of farmers with regard to the rest of society. They feel farming is not regarded as a good occupation, however, they also seem to encourage a ‘better’ life for their children, pushing them to study and work in occupations outside of farming. Additionally, farmers expressed concern for the future, since especially this past year they have experienced greater costs of production (specifically due to increased fertilizer and fuel costs) against relatively static sales.

4.1.2.1 Chania Common Market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) A discussion with the manager of the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) revealed an overview perspective of the difficulties farmers face while dealing with societal changes. He expressed that the “cheap food” policy that is pushed by the administration doesn’t take into consideration the needs of the farmers to earn a living. He feels this is one of the reasons why he has seen a number of farmers go out of business even in the short time he has been involved with the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά); the pressure from policymakers to keep the price of food low coupled with the increasing costs of production and uncertainty of sales leaves the farmers vulnerable to financial failure. The common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) in Chania operates most days of the week, almost daily during the summer months, and provides a source of income for over 100 farmers. The dollar amount or volume of sales for the Chania common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) could not be determined; however, the interviewee stated that the price difference between products in the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) in the summer versus winter seasons is large. He also mentioned that in previous times, a farmer selling through this method could make “a lot of money”, but this fact is no longer


26

certain. These discussions also revealed it as something that is of great social importance in the lives of both farmers and consumers. Some of the difficulties the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) management has faced in the past few years is a result of the fact that the decisions for the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) are made by a committee of individuals that includes people with differing and even conflicting interests from those of the farmers17. For example, the committee changes the market locations almost every year, making the market difficult for consumers to find; these new locations have been in less and less desirable areas for the farmers: usually out of the way of foot traffic and hidden from main roads. He mentioned that each time the market location is changed the residents of the new location complain, citing the noise, dirtiness, and inconvenience for parking and driving as greater nuisances than the benefits received as a result of locating the market in their area. He also discussed the great social role the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) plays in the community. He referred to our current world-wide “crisis of human relations” and mentioned that the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) provides a solution to the erosion of communities that is happening. He dicussed how the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) really brings people together around food; it is a chance for the farmers to interact with each other and for consumers to connect with the food they are eating and their neighbors, as it acts as a central meeting point. This sentiment was reinforced with the researcher’s observations at how the farmers really share responsibilities at the market, often handling sales for a neighboring stand if the farmer is away for a moment – even if he is selling the same product at his own stand. The market is a very lively place, where you can always hear laughter and friendly conversation taking place at any point and time. The common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά)

17

He gave the example of the current committee members: the town mayor, a building inspector, traffic police, an archeologist and himself. There is space for five farmers to serve on the committee but presently, with himself excepted, they are empty.


27

president was concerned by the fact that the mayor and others involved in the management committee don’t see the value of the market beyond the sale of food. However, he also stated this isn’t strictly a result of the committee’s short-sightedness; he feels the farmers need to get more involved in their own welfare and has been trying to encourage farmers to fill those five reserved seats on the committee.

4.1.3 Production/Land Use Data 4.1.3.1 Vegetable Production The main vegetable (kipeftika/κηπευτικά) products, including the area and volume of production, are presented in the table below. The trend shows an increase in production from 1971-2001, however the land area in production remained the same or decreased slightly18.

18

The increase in production could be attributed to a great increase in irrigated farmland that was experienced throughout Greece during this time period (Mediterra, 2007)


28

Table 1. Chania Major Vegetable Crops (by production) 1971 Crop

1981

1991

2001

1

2

1

2

1

2

1

2

Artichoke Beans, Green Cabbages Cucumbers Cucumbers (field) Cucumbers (greenhouse) Eggplant Eggplant (field) Eggplant (greenhouse) Lettuce Melons Okra (irrigated) Okra (non-irrigated) Onions Potatoes Spinach Squash Tomatoes (field) Tomatoes (greenhouse) Tomatoes (irrigated) Tomatoes (non-irrigated) Watermelons

2656 2016 1662 913 * * 435 * * * 1044 502 260 2260 12560 559 1339 * * 4715 562 2919

903 748 999 832 * * 240 * * * 974 132 97 1906 6219 240 914 * * 4394 230 2768

2280 1829 1135 434 * * 418 * * * 826 436 95 1629 10164 513 1349 * * 5018 334 3567

1095 960 885 1089 * * 396 * * * 781 232 33 1570 9359 379 1093 * * 17948 183 6677

1993 1478 1002 * 619 151 * 421 19 527 1375 442 79 1573 9033 508 1471 3721 1875 * * 4186

1261 779 643 * 471 1639 * 314 48 341 1645 204 18 1447 8463 315 1264 4579 17390 * * 8852

1632 1315 820 * 594 145 * 423 10 575 1651 417 124 1552 8184 500 1464 3699 2406 * * 3672

1178 749 663 * 528 847 * 401 35 383 2698 241 77 1509 7672 323 1302 4977 27694 * * 7121

Total (listed here) Total (Vegetable Area from Census) Total (Melons, Potatoes from Census) Total (Vegetable, Melons, Potatoes)

34402

21596

30027

42680

30473

49673

29183

58398

22708

*

19705

*

19410

*

19298

*

16523

*

14557

*

14594

*

13507

*

39231

34262

34004

32805

1=Area in Stremmata 2=Production in Tonnes * = No data available

The “Total (listed here)” is an aggregate of only what was determined to be the most significant crops for the area in terms of production. However, the table also shows the total area of production for all vegetable (kipeftika/κηπευτικά) crops according to the


29

Census data [Total (Vegetable area from Census)], which is likely a more accurate depiction of the area utilized in production.

4.1.3.2 Land Use As an illustration of land use in the prefecture, the data below presents the change in total areas in agriculture19, as compared to areas in artificial surfaces20, from 1981-2000.

Table 2. Land Use in Chania, by Category All Areas All Areas under Cultivation/Fallow All Areas in Agriculture (excluding pastures) Area in Arable Land Area in Permanent Crops Area in Heterogenous Agricultural Areas Areas Occupied by Localities (buildings, roads, etc) All Areas in Artificial Surfaces Urban Fabric Industrial/commercial Units Transport Units Mine, dump, construction sites Parks, Recreational Use, etc

1981

1991

2275.8 610.2

2375.8 625.2

1999/2000 2349.5 765.6 13.7 425.5 326.4

72.3

82.3 35.9 26 1.3 6.6 1.9 0.1

Area in 1000 stremmata * Data for 1999/2000 Areas in Artificial Services may not be comparable to previous years. See below.

19

As defined by the National Statistics Service of Greece, areas in agriculture is the sum of (arable land) cultivated areas regularly ploughed and generally under a rotation system, including fallow land; (permanently crops) crops not under a rotation system, providing repeated harvest, which occupy the land for a long period before it is ploughed and replanted, and heterogeneous agricultural areas (NSSG 2006).

20

As defined by the National Statistics Service of Greece, areas in artificial surfaces is areas where most of the land is covered by structures, buildings roads and artificially surfaced areas either cover all the ground or are associated with vegetated areas and bare soil, which occupy discontinuous surfaces (NSSG 2006).


30

The data presented in Table 2 illustrates the change in land use over almost 20 years. However, while the area in agriculture increased over this time period, the total of All Areas in Artificial Surfaces was increasing from 1981-1991, but shows a decrease in the data from 1999/2000. This could be due to a change in the definition of Artificial Surfaces, since it is unlikely that developed land was reverted back to agriculture or forest. These two tables show that more than 4% of all land in production in 2001 was dedicated to vegetables (including watermelon and potatoes).

4.1.4 Distribution Data The general distribution chain (see Figure 6, Section 4.3) reveals three main mechanisms for the movement of food throughout the island: direct sales (farm to consumer or farm to retailer), wholesales (mostly through companies (emboros/έμπορος)21 at the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά)), or sales to auction or pack houses (for export)22. The wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) supplies the majority of the retail outlets and in order to gain an understanding of the percentage of Cretan-produced vegetables appearing in the retail outlets, interviews were conducted with business owners at the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά).

4.1.4.1 Chania Wholesale Vegetable Market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) The wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) in Chania is a building housing about 20 different wholesalers each located in their own ‘stand’ with access to a loading dock and a central indoor corridor. It was observed that the majority of the

21

Emboros (έμπορος) refers to any wholesale or trader, in any product. See Glossary of Foreign Terms for a definition of foreign terms used.

22

Supermarkets owned by foreign (non-Greek) companies are also present on the island. These supermarkets operate their own distribution system and rarely use product produced in Crete. This distribution chain was not considered in this study due to both the difficulty of penetrating the administration and the consideration that it is not a significant purchaser of Cretan products or overall fruit and vegetables purchases.


31

companies (emboros/έμπορος) at the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/ λαχαναγορά) did not have any form of cooling system for storing the produce. The size of businesses was estimated by the number of employees at each business and the number of farmers and wholesalers from which the business purchases product. The number of staff ranged from 1-6 full time staff (with an average of 4 full time staff). Only two businesses reported hiring any part-time or seasonal labor. The range in number of farmers and (other) wholesalers each wholesaler purchases per week ranged from 10-80 farmers and 0-20 wholesalers, with an average of 36 farmers and 10 wholesalers. In order to confirm that each wholesaler was indeed involved in the area of product we were interested in (see Table 1) they were first questioned about the type of product bought and sold (see Appendix A for the complete questionnaire).

4.1.4.2 Wholesale Vegetable Market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) Purchases Table 3 details the geographic origin of product purchased by wholesalers at the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά).


32

Table 3. Origin of Product – Chania wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) % of Purchases

Business Location within Market 4

From within Chania Prefecture

Origin of Purchases Farmers

90 a

9

Farmers & Wholesalers

10

80

20 c

From within Greece, outside Crete

From within Crete, outside Chania Prefecture 0 0

0

b

15

Farmers & Wholesalers

70

0

20

16 19

Farmers Farmers & Wholesalers

100e 80

0 20

0 0

From outside of Greece 0

d

10d 0 0

a) Purchases from wholesalers are negligible. b) Occasionally purchases product from outside Crete, but only because of limited supply of something due to bad weather/crop failure. c) Purchases are exclusively from farmers. d) Purchases are exclusively from wholesalers. e) Purchases in the winter occasionally include locations outside of Chania, within Crete (up to 60%). He also occasionally purchases potatoes and onions from wholesalers in Macedonia, but this occurs only in exceptional years.

Of

the

total

product

sold

through

the

wholesale

vegetable

market

(lachanagora/λαχαναγορά), in all cases it was shown that at least 70% of this product is purchased from farmers within the Chania prefecture. While some of these purchases do include those from wholesalers located within the Chania prefecture, which could mean that the product has come from outside of Chania, outside of Crete or even outside of Greece, in each instance these purchases were not a great percentage of the overall purchases and would likely be a negligible contribution to the total amount.23

4.1.4.3 Wholesale Vegetable Market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) Sales The type of retail outlet and geographical location of total sales was also studied. Table 4 details 23

where

the

product

sold

through

the

wholesale

vegetable

market

For further explanation of the origin of purchases from wholesalers, see the discussion in Section 4.3.


33

(lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) terminates (before the consumer) geographically, while Table 5 shows the distribution of product by the type of the retail operation. Table 4. Geographic Distribution of Product

Business Location within Market 4 9 15 16 19

Within Chania Prefecture 80 80 ~100 80 80

% of Sales Within Crete, Within outside Greece, Chania outside Prefecture Crete 20 20 negligible 20 20

0 0 0 0

Outside of Greece 0 0 0 0 0

Each business interviewed reported at least 80% of their product was sold to retailers within the Chania prefecture and only one reported selling any product outside of Crete. This wholesaler stated he occasionally would sell product to a wholesaler in Athens if a particular farmer had a great surplus, but was not a regular occurrence or a significant portion of his sales. The majority of the 20% of his sales outside of Chania prefecture were to other areas in Crete, not outside of Crete, but he could not state a specific percentage at the time of interview.


34

Table 5. Distribution of Product by Type of Retail Operation Business Location within Market

% of Sales Greengrocers/ MiniMarkets/ Supermarketsa

Hospitals

Hotels

Laiki Agorab

Mobile Markets

Restaurants

Universities

Otherc

70 60 90

~4 0 0

~4 40 negligible

~4 0 negligible

0 0 0

~4 0 10

~4 0 0

10 0 0

16d

5

0

30

5

0

50

10

0

e

6

1

4

2

2

5

none

3

4 9 15 19

a) These were grouped together because of similarity of retail operation and inability of the wholesalers to distinguish between them. See Section 4.3 for further definition of retail operations. b) The laiki allows a certain percentage of wholesalers to have stands at the market. See Laiki Agora in Section 4.3 below for a more detailed description. c) "Other" retail operations includes: ferries, naval base, nursing homes, catering, other wholesalers and product that is thrown away. d) Distribution of sales was significantly different throughout the year. See Section 4.1.4.3 for details. e) Wholesaler could not provide percentage, so retailers were listed in order of importance from 1 (greatest % of sales) to 6 (least %).

The

majority

of

sales

for

most

wholesalers

were

to

greengrocers/mini-

markets/supermarkets, restaurants and hotels. However, since the interviews were conducted in the summer season, these numbers represent the situation during the tourist (summer) season. In the winter, the wholesalers reported a change in the distribution, where a greater percentage of sales went to greengrocers/mini-markets/supermarkets and less to hotels and restaurants. This is due to the fact that many restaurants and most hotels close for the non-tourist, winter season. Many wholesalers also mentioned that the volume of food that moves through their business is significantly less in the winter months, which could also be attributed to the non-tourist season and a subsequent decrease in the island's population (and therefore demand for food) and a general decrease in production for the winter months.


35

4.2 Heraklio Prefecture 4.2.1 General Statistical Indicators The prefecture of Heraklio is the eastern part of Crete with an area of approximately 2,641 km2 (1,120 sq mi) and is situated between the Rethymno and Lasithi Prefectures. There is a total population of 302,846 and its capital, also named Heraklio, is the fourth largest city in Greece and home to approximately

137,700

people

(NSSG, 2006). There is a valley of farmlands in the central and the northern parts of the prefecture. Mountains dominate the rest of the prefecture to the south.

Figure 5. Map of Crete, detailing location of Heraklio Prefecture

4.2.2 Farming Ethos/Philosophy The researcher was not based in Heraklio, so the occasion to speak with farmers was more limited than in Chania. The majority of the philosophy of farmers from this prefecture was taken from the interviews conducted during a two day period at two separate common markets (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά). There seemed to be a more positive outlook on the nature of their business from farmers in this area as compared to that of Chania’s farmers. Because of the nature of agriculture in this prefecture, all of the farmers interviewed had at least some area dedicated in greenhouse production of vegetables. The size of farms ranged from 20-30 stremmata (στρέμματα), each with about 10 stremmata (στρέμματα) in vegetable production. Each farmer had dedicated the remaining area to olive production (10-20 stremmata, στρέμματα). Of the 10 stremmata (στρέμματα) in vegetables about half of this area was in greenhouses. These farmers were a bit younger


36

than those interviewed in Chania, between 33-45 years in age. Two of the three farmers interviewed sold their product to a pack house or auction house24 and in one case to a wholesaler at the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά), in addition to selling at the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) three to five times per week. The two farmers who sell their product to both the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) and pack houses expressed that the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) was less profitable than the other markets. When asked why they then continued selling at the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά), they expressed that because the sales are all cash based, it is a regular, guaranteed source of liquidity, since they otherwise had to wait 30 days to be paid by the pack houses. However, each of them also felt it was important to maintain a face-to-face connection with their consumers and they all expressed that they liked the atmosphere at the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά). In all cases, the farmers felt a lack of support from the state. They each sited different reasons: one mentioned the need for increased marketing efforts on behalf of farmers in general; two other farmers stated that the general nature of policies don’t help farmers at all. One said this was “a global problem, not specific to Crete” and another called the misdirection of policies “the great social conversation”. All of the farmers also expressed the same concern as individuals in Chania: that farming is very local on the social scale of success and one farmer specifically said the government could help by “putting farmers at the center [of life] to give them validity”.

24

A more detailed description of pack houses and auction houses is discussed in Section 4.3.


37

4.2.3 Production Data 4.2.3.1 Vegetable Production The main vegetable (kipeftika/κηπευτικά) products, including the area and volume of production, are presented in Table 6. The trend shows a significant increase in production volume from 1971-2001, however the land area in production remained the same or decreased slightly25.

25

This same trend of increased production was also noticed in the data from Chania. In addition to increased fertilizer use, the trend could also be explained by the increased use of greenhouses in production, which extend the production season greatly; the widespread mechanization of cultivation (i.e. increased tractor use); and an increase in demand due to the development of the tourist industry and subsequent increase in population during the tourist season. It should also be noted that in the late 1960’s production on the island was mostly in the form of subsistence farming, while currently professional farmers are common.


38

Table 6. Heraklio Major Vegetable Crops (by production) 1971 Crop

1981

1991

1

2

1

Artichoke Beans, Green Cabbages Cucumbers Cucumbers (field) Cucumbers (greenhouse) Eggplant Eggplant (field) Eggplant (greenhouse) Lettuce Melons Okra (irrigated) Okra (non-irrigated) Onions Potatoes Spinach Squashes Tomatoes (field) Tomatoes (greenhouse) Tomatoes (irrigated) Tomatoes (non-irrigated) Watermelons

6338 2626 3268 2933 * * 722 * * * 2619 895 478 2977 20735 109 2230 * * 12092 2522 5931

3455 1147 3025 9219 * * 499 * * * 2352 349 98 2386 16514 50 2075 * * 24948 2157 9092

4283 1972 3156 3412 * * 684 * * * 2743 690 239 2801 28133 157 2378 * * 11606 2636 9495

3037 1060 3232 16751 * * 669 * * * 3547 428 75 2636 31563 142 2417 * * 43346 1860 25643

3683 1691 3485 * 1198 3715 * 620 105 984 4107 700 102 2507 28439 246 2027 8122 3544 * * 6831

Total (listed here) Total (Vegetable Area from Census) Total (Melons, Potatoes from Census) Total (Vegetable, Melons, Potatoes)

66475

77366

74385

136406

72106

1=Area in Stremmata 2=Production in Tonnes * = No data available

2

1

2001 2

1

2

3340 1347 6774 * 2180 29439 * 888 293 1023 8283 525 61 3561 35979 226 3529 27476 24731 * * 21211

3607 1492 2927 * 1217 2616 * 825 148 986 4888 701 118 2269 27553 278 2191 7818 4064 * * 8133

3746 1267 5487 * 4353 22456 * 1086 461 1279 9160 498 51 3518 36263 292 3763 23522 31301 * * 21374

170866

71831

169877

46324

42486

39216

37529

29285

40371

39377

40574

75609

82857

78593

78103


39

4.2.3.2 Land Use To illustrate the changing nature of land use in the prefecture, the data below presents the change in total utilized agricultural area, as compared to areas in artificial surfaces, from 1981-2000. Table 7. Land Use in Heraklio, by Category All Areas All Areas under Cultivation/Fallow All Areas in Agriculture (excluding pastures) Area in Arable Land Area in Permanent Crops Area in Heterogeneous Agricultural Areas Areas Occupied by Localities (buildings, roads, etc) All Areas in Artificial Surfaces Urban Fabric Industrial/commercial Units Transport Units Mine, dump, construction sites Parks, Recreational Use, etc

1981 2641.2 1429.1

1991 2641.2 1453.2

1999/2000 2640.6 1533.4 31.6 960.8 541

133

146.6 48.6 38.4 3 5.2 1.6 0.4

Area in 1000 stremmata * Data for 1999/2000 Areas in Artificial Services may not be comparable to previous years. See Section 4.1 for explaination.

The data above shows both an increase in land in artificial surfaces and approximately the same amount of land in agriculture from 1981-1991. However, the data also shows a significant decrease in the area in artificial surfaces between 1991-1999/2000, most likely due to a change in Census definition. It is very unlikely that land in artificial surfaces was reverted to farmland or fallow land during this (1991-2000) period. Tables 6 and 7 show that approximately 5% of the land in Heraklio in agricultural production is dedicated to vegetable production. 4.2.4 Distribution Data This section details the movement of fresh produce through the city of Heraklio. Interviews were conducted with businesses at the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) on two separate occasions and were identical to those conducted in Chania, but were able to extract more details from these participants (in


40

exchange for interviewing fewer individuals.) Additionally, an extensive interview with administration at the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) revealed some details about the interactions between wholesalers at the market and provided an overview of purchasing and sales conducted at the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά).

4.2.4.1 Heraklio Wholesale Vegetable Market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) The wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) in Heraklio was quite a large market, in what appeared to be a relatively modern building. The building housed approximately 40 companies with about 100 total employees (both full- and part-time.) The researcher noticed that the companies all had some form of cold storage and it seems most of the product was kept in the storage areas. Additionally, it seemed to be quite a busy market; each of the interviews were interrupted to allow a sale to occur on several occasions, even though they were conducted at the time of day and week that is considered slow, business-wise. The businesses interviewed seemed to be about the same size as those in Chania; they had between one and six full-time staff, with one business hiring four part-time seasonal laborers. Each business reported purchasing from approximately the same number of farmers per week (35-40) and (of those who purchase from other wholesalers) approximately ten wholesalers per week. In order to confirm that each wholesaler was indeed involved in the area of product we were interested in (see Table 4.2.3a) they were first questioned about the type of product bought and sold (see Appendix A for the complete questionnaire).

4.2.4.2 Wholesale Vegetable Market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) Purchases The table below details the geographic origin of product purchased by wholesalers at the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά).


41

Table 8. Origin of Product – Heraklio Wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) % of Total Purchases

Origin of Purchases

From within Heraklio Prefecture

From within Crete, outside Heraklio Prefecture

From within Greece, outside Crete

Farmers Wholesalers Total Farmers

50 0 50 68

50 0 50 10

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 68 58.5

7 17 34.5

15 15 0

0 0 0

6.5 65

0.5 35

0 0

0 0

Business

1

a

2

Wholesalers Total Farmers

b

3

Wholesalers Total

From Total Total Total outside Purchases Purchases Purchases of from from from Greece Crete Farmers Wholesalers 100 0 100 78 22 85 93 7 100

a) Wholesaler data includes cooperatives for this business. b) Mentioned that all his purchases are from Crete, but since he purchases from other wholesalers, some product may come from other areas in Greece or even abroad. See Section 4.2.4.2 for details.

The total purchases from Crete were at least 85% of the total purchases; however this included up to 22% of purchases from other wholesalers, which could include product from areas other than Crete, or even outside of Greece26. The purchases directly from farmers within the Heraklio Prefecture ranged from 50-68% of total purchases; however, purchases from farmers from all of Crete constituted the vast majority of total purchases (78-100%). The discussion with the administration at the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) revealed some generalizations that are worth mentioning. He

26

For further explanation of the origin of purchases from wholesalers, see the discussion in Section 4.3.


42

figured about 90% of (kipeftika/κηπευτικά) purchases made within the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) are product grown in Crete, with approximately 70% of all purchases from the Heraklio Prefecture. These averages were consistent with what was reported from the individual businesses (see Table 8). He also noted that there is a significant increase in purchases from outside of Heralkio during the winter months, but this doesn’t change the overall percentage of purchase from Crete generally at any time of year.

4.2.4.3 Wholesale Vegetable Market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) Sales Tables 9-10 detail the termination of sales, both geographically (Table 9) and by type of retailer (Table 10). Table 9. Geographic Distribution of Product % of Salesa

Business 1 2 3

Within Heraklio Prefecture

Within Crete, outside Heraklio Prefecture

Within Greece, outside Creteb

Outside of Greece

90 55 70

0 35 20

10 10 10

0 0 0

a) See below for discussion of changes due to seasonality. b) Aegean Islands only

The majority of sales remained within the prefecture, but ranged from 55-90% of total sales, with an average of 72%. However the great majority of sales remained on the island of Crete, with a total of 90% reported from each business. The numbers quoted represented the distribution of sales during the summer season. Since off-Crete sales were only to the Aegean Islands, this number greatly decreased during the winter season, mostly due to the decrease in the islands’ populations during the non-tourist season. In the winter months, the percentage of sales outside of Crete was much less, from 1-2% of total sales.


43

The discussion with the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) administration revealed similar conclusions. He estimated approximately 80% of sales terminated within Crete, with approximately 20% to Athens and the islands, noting a significant decrease in product sold off Crete in the winter months. He also mentioned that while there are a lot of farmers in the more touristy areas of the island, because purchasers like to gather everything they can in one place, the majority of the food is still sold to these areas through the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά).

Table 10. Distribution of Product by Type of Retail Operation % of Sales

Business

Greengrocers/ MiniMarkets/ Supermarketsa

Hospitals

Hotels

Restaurants

Universities

Otherb

1

100

0

0

0

0

0

main 75

some 0

main 15

some 5

some 0

some 5

c

2 3

a) These were grouped together because of similarity of retail operation and inability of the wholesalers to distinguish between them. See Section 4.3 for further definition of retail operations. b) "Other" retail operations includes: ferries, naval base, nursing homes, catering, mobile markets, Laiki Agora, other wholesalers and product that is thrown away. c) Wholesaler was not able to provide percentage of sales. Mentioned great differences in seasonality of sales. See Section 4.2.4.3 for details.

The great majority of sales shown here from the Heraklio wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) were to greengrocers/minimarkets/supermarkets and hotels. However, because of population difference between the tourist and non-tourist season (and the subsequent closure of hotels), in the winter the percentages are different, with less product being sold to hotels and therefore a greater percentage going to the grocers. Two business (#2 and #3) reported severe differences between the summer and winter seasons. The first (#2) noted that 70% of the business’s yearly income is earned during the summer months, with hotels being a significant buyer. The other (#3) noted that


44

during the winter, he doesn’t sell to hotels at all and the sales are then reverted to the grocers, making up 90% of the sales. An interesting revelation that came out of the discussion with the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) secretary was with regard to the cooperation between businesses. As noted above, the “other” category includes other wholesales and it was discovered that it is not uncommon when one wholesaler is short or does not carry a certain product, he will purchase product from another to satisfy the needs of his sale. He stated this is due to the fact that wholesalers will often specialize slightly in product areas and therefore often don’t have enough volume or variety to satisfy a sale and in that case will look to his "neighboring" businesses to fill the gap.

4.3 Island of Crete 4.3.1 General Statistical Indicators The island of Crete contains four prefectures (Chaina, Rethymno, Heraklio, and Lasithi) and maintains a population of approximately 623,666 people. The island’s climate is primarily Mediterranean, with a major mountain range through the middle of the island. These mountains feature several areas of fertile plateaus and the island contains several other plains areas, especially near the south coast (Greek Ministry of the Interior, 2008). 4.3.2 Farming Ethos/Philosophy The farms in Crete are dominated by relatively small average farm size of about 42.2 stremmata (στρέμματα, 4.2 hectares) and the vast majority of farmers are over the age of 40, with approximately 35% of all farmers older than 65 years. The type of vegetable farming on the island can be typified as being diversified in production, with many different crops, including permanent crops such as olive trees, as a part of one holding. Additionally, over 29% of farming households reported income from sources other than farming (NSSG, 2004).


45

As was illustrated in the previous sections (Sections 4.1, 4.2), the farmers range widely in their feelings about their role in society. However, most farmers have expressed a lack of support from the government and feel farming is not seen as a desired occupation by youth. This is especially illustrated by the high percentage of farmers that are over 40 years old and the seemingly small number of individuals that enter farming as a new occupation27. 4.3.3 Production Data 4.3.3.1 Vegetable Production Table 11 illustrates the land in production and yields of the products of interest for this study. There is a general trend of increased yields, with a slight decline in the total land area dedicated to such products.

27

The number of new farmers was only obtained in the prefecture of Chania, but showed very small numbers, an average of 93 new farmers per year, from 2000-2006 (Agricultural Extension Office of Greece, 2008).


46

Table 11. Crete Major Vegetable Crops (by production) 1971

1981

1991

2001

Crop

1

2

1

2

1

2

1

2

Artichoke Beans, Green Cabbages Cucumbers Cucumbers (field) Cucumbers (greenhouse) Eggplant Eggplant (field) Eggplant (greenhouse) Lettuce Melons Okra (irrigated) Okra (non-irrigated) Onions Potatoes Spinach Squashes Tomatoes (field) Tomatoes (greenhouse) Tomatoes (irrigated) Tomatoes (non-irrigated) Watermelons

13053 7690 8303 5817 * * 1580 * * * 4125 2086 1017 15443 60769 929 5080 * * 27742 3717 10808

7469 3456 7515 21767 * * 1167 * * * 3784 825 306 6676 54988 434 4807 * * 46371 2850 14785

10825 7189 7932 8866 * * 2047 * * * 4754 1887 590 6757 70563 953 4939 * * 22615 3542 15754

7532 3968 8258 58517 * * 5656 * * * 5975 1228 252 6490 86809 718 5024 * * 86235 2490 37417

10266 6072 7308 * 2559 9277 * 1375 1110 2071 7620 1843 358 6087 66914 1285 4864 15370 8140 * * 13393

7750 4104 11100 * 3501 74431 * 1435 8462 1977 13832 1238 200 6718 91817 1030 6751 37312 64949 * * 34355

9493 5252 6364 * 2503 6706 * 1619 1379 2292 8641 1948 424 5502 64203 1565 5341 15143 12509 * * 14315

7999 3780 9218 * 5614 62760 * 1798 10415 2581 15721 1319 244 6453 90015 926 7638 35254 111882 * * 35724

Total (listed here) Total (Vegetable Area from Census) Total (Melons, Potatoes from Census) Total (Vegetable, Melons, Potatoes)

168160

177202

169214

316571

165913

370964

165200

409343

118430

*

96151

*

92637

*

95068

*

75718

*

91075

*

87929

*

87162

*

194148

*

187226

*

180566

*

182230

*

1=Area in Stremmata 2=Production in Tonnes


47

Additionally, a significant increase in tractor use was noted (see Table 12) which suggests an increase in mechanization of labor.

Table 12. Total Tractor Use in Crete Number of Tractors

1981

1991

1999/2000

6668

28453

35482

4.3.3.2 Land Use As an illustration of land use in the prefecture, the data below presents the change in total utilized agricultural area, as compared to areas in artificial surfaces, from 1981-2000. Table 13. Land Use in Crete, by Category All Areas All Areas under Cultivation/Fallow All Areas in Agriculture (excluding pastures) Area in Arable Land Area in Permanent Crops Area in Heterogeneous Agricultural Areas Areas Occupied by Localities (buildings, roads, etc) All Areas in Artificial Surfaces Urban Fabric Industrial/commercial Units Transport Units Mine, dump, construction sites Parks, Recreational Use, etc

1981 8335.9 3090.2

1991 8335.9 3142.4

1999/2000 8312.9 3586.8 90.6 1946.5 1549.7

296.2

327.1 112 86.5 6.4 12.7 5.7 0.7

Area in 1000 Stremmata

The data presented here illustrates the change in land use over almost 20 years. However, while the area in agriculture increased over this time period, the Areas in Artificial Surfaces was increasing from 1981-1991, but shows a significant decrease in Area in Artificial Surfaces from 1991-1999/2000. This decrease is likely due to a change in the


48

definition of Artificial Surfaces, since it is unlikely that developed land was reverted back to agriculture or forest (the only other broad categories of land use). Tables 11 and 13 show that approximately 5% of all land in agricultural production in 2001 was dedicated to vegetables (including watermelon and potatoes). 4.3.4 Distribution Data As a result of discussions with the companies at the different wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) and with farmers and other individuals involved in the many common markets (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά), several assumptions have come to light about

the

general

nature

of

the

supply

chain

for

vegetable

and

melon

(kipeftika/κηπευτικά) production on the island of Crete. Figure 6 is a general map of the distribution

chain

(from

farmer

to

consumer)

of

vegetable

and

melon

(kipeftika/κηπευτικά) produced on Crete.

Figure 6. Distribution of Cretan Production Through Wholesale Vegetable Market

Figure 6 details the main outputs for vegetables (kipeftika/κηπευτικά) produced on the island, which includes the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά), direct sales

from

the

farmer

to

retail

outlets,

institutions,

or

consumers,

and

wholesalers/exporters. After discussion with the businesses at the wholesale vegetable


49

market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά), it was determined that all food produced in Crete moves through one of these three chains, in approximately equal parts. Figure 6 details that retailers on Crete receive product through either the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) or through direct sales from the farmer28. However, a significant amount (approximately 1/3) of vegetables produced on Crete is sold to wholesalers/exporters. This section details the different supply chains according to research conducted in this study.

4.3.4.1 Definition of Retailers As stated previously, the greengrocers, supermarkets, and mini-markets were lumped together because the wholesale businesses were not able to make a distinction between these markets. It is pertinent at this time to discuss the definitions of these markets, as they are an interesting feature of the food retail landscape in Crete29. There are two types of retail operations termed “supermarkets” in Crete. The first is characterized by international ownership or an international/domestic partnership. Supermarkets of this type in Crete are the German-owned Lidl and Metro Cash & Carry and an example of a supermarket owned by an international/domestic partnership is Marinopolous/Champion. In each of these cases, the companies are relatively large corporations with a centralized buying and distribution system and they rarely carry vegetables produced on Crete. A supermarket is also a term given to franchises or cooperatively owned markets that do at least on occasion purchase locally produced product. Veropoulos Companies (which operates Chalkiadakis and Spar in Greece) is a part of a European-wide franchise, while Elliniki Diatrofi/COOP is a Greek franchise (which is partially owned by the Farmers 28

The research conducted did not evaluate a portion of the retail trade, the internationally owned supermarkets, which carry product mostly from outside of Crete and often outside of Greece because of their own centralized distribution systems. See Section 4.3.4.1 for a detailed description of supermarkets.

29

These definitions were a result of initial conversations with the wholesale businesses at the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά), which were further supported by research conducted into the companies themselves.


50

Cooperative Union), meaning each store is locally owned and operated, but bears the name of the franchise. INKA markets is a Cretan-owned consumer cooperative. Ariadne, Festos, and Creta Elit are retailer-owned cooperatives. Both types of companies (franchise and cooperative) have the purchasing freedom to acquire locally-produced product and INKA in particular prides itself on the fact that it carries product (not only vegetables) from Crete. Mini-markets refer to smaller versions of these (Veropoulos, INKA, COOP, Ariadne, Festos, and Creta Elit) supermarkets. Green grocers are independent shops that may sell dried products in addition to fruits and vegetables, but the vast majority of the product is locally produced. In Chania, it is the INKA markets and in Heraklio, the franchise or cooperative (Veropoulos, COOP, Ariadne, Festos, and Creta Elit) markets to which wholesalers most often refer when discussing supermarkets.

4.3.4.2 Wholesale Vegetable Market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) The

main

retailer

receiving

product

from the

wholesale

vegetable

market

(lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) was greengrocers, supermarkets, and mini-markets, which made up over half of the total sales from the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά). Hotels and restaurants followed as the second most significant market (during the tourist season) while the other operations made up only a small

percentage

of

total

sales

from

the

wholesale

vegetable

market

(lachanagora/λαχαναγορά). The wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) seems to supply product to all retail operations and institutions on the island, as detailed in Figure 6 (with the exception of some supermarkets, see discussion above). While this data was not correlated through research conducted from the purchasing side, meaning surveys were not conducted at the major retail operations to determine where the vegetables (kipeftika/κηπευτικά) they carried were produced, general observations at each of these retail operations (greengrocers, supermarkets, and mini-markets) seemed to show that the majority of vegetables (kipeftika/κηπευτικά) they carried corresponded with the wholesalers’ assumptions about purchasing methods according to the type of business (greengrocers, supermarkets, and mini-markets). Figure 7 presents an overview


51

of the origin of product available to retailers at the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά).

Figure 7. Scale Representation of Origin of Product

Figure 7 shows that the vast majority of vegetables (kipeftika/κηπευτικά) available to retailers at the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) is purchased directly from farmers from Crete (70-100%) and a majority of product is from farmers within the same prefecture (50-100%). While Figure 7 shows there is product purchased from other wholesalers in the same prefecture (0-20%) or other areas in Crete (0-20%) and this product could include vegetables (kipeftika/κηπευτικά) with an origin outside the prefecture, outside of Crete, or even outside of Greece, it is a relatively small percentage of the total. Additionally, it is likely that these wholesalers carry products of a similar origin to the ones studied at the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά), which would mean a great majority (70-100%) of product purchased from other


52

wholesalers is produced within the island of Crete. A small percentage of the total product was purchased from areas outside of Crete (0-15%) and no products were purchased from outside of the country. It can therefore generally be stated that most of the vegetables (kipeftika/κηπευτικά) sold through the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) are produced on Crete.

4.3.4.3 Direct Sales Another feature of the supply chain for vegetables (kipeftika/κηπευτικά) on Crete is the direct sales. As noted above it is not uncommon for farmers to make direct sales to restaurants and greengrocers, supermarkets, and mini-markets. This practice was referred to

as

“illegal”

by

the

administration

at

the

wholesale

vegetable

market

(lachanagora/λαχαναγορά), who mentioned that it is Greek law that all product sold locally (with the exception of farmers who sell product directly to consumers at the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά)) must pass through the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά). The reasoning for this law was one of traceability for food safety and tax reasons. However, a few business owners noted this practice, with an increase in this practice over previous years, apparently partly due to the fact that farmers now have access to their own form of transporting the product. The researcher also noticed several times while visiting the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) that taverna30 owners would purchase product to prepare that day from particular farmers throughout the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά). Another main avenue of direct sales for farmers is the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά). This form of market was started in 1922 as an effort to provide a source of income for farmers where they could get 100% of the retail profit. Initially, it was organized to ensure that 90% of the stalls were occupied by farmers, selling food.

30

A taverna is a common term used to describe a family-style, usually family-run restaurant. See glossary for a greater definition.


53

Unfortunately, that ratio has now changed and there is often an equal number of non-food and food resellers (emboros/έμπορος) as farmers, which creates tension among the sellers at the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά), since space is always an issue. These markets are still a main feature of community life in the towns and cities in Crete.

4.3.4.4 Wholesalers/Exporters The third avenue through which vegetables are sold is through wholesaler/exporters. These individuals are not usually located at the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/ λαχαναγορά), although each wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) has one or two businesses that are both wholesalers and importers/exporters. In Heraklio, the farmers that were interviewed mentioned they sell to these wholesalesr/exporters, commonly called auction houses and pack houses. Auction houses are often organized as farmers’ cooperatives. Often, these auction houses or pack houses are located in areas that have concentrations of farmers, such as the Messara plains in the south Heraklio prefecture. There was no opportunity to speak directly with these companies, so the information about their operations is limited only to what was discussed with farmers.

4.3.5 Consumption While this study did not gather any data directly from consumers, other than casual conversations, both the farmers and the administration at the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) revealed some observations about changes in consumer behavior and demographics. Generally, on Crete, there is preference by Cretans to purchase products produced on the island. Additionally, within the rest of Greece, Cretan products – vegetables (kipeftika/κηπευτικά) especially – have a reputation of being of very high quality. The higher quality of food was one reason that was given by farmers for why they felt consumers preferred to purchase product directly from farmers at the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) rather than from a supermarket. However, the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) administration noted some distinct changes in the


54

demographics of consumers over the last five years. They both mentioned that they have heard more and more (Greeks, especially) say they prefer to shop at the large supermarkets, where they can bring their car and buy everything they need all at once. Also, they felt that while the total number of people shopping at the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) has not really changed, there are fewer Greeks and more foreigners shopping here, likely attracted by the generally lower prices found at the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) compared with similar products found at the supermarkets. Lastly, those who do buy at the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) have shown more “European” buying habits: they purchase smaller quantities and prefer products that are smaller in size and higher in quality.


CHAPTER 5 THE CRETAN FOOD SYSTEM AND SUSTAINABILITY 5.1 Small, Diversified and Local is More Sustainable According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (1995) a sustainable agriculture is not “just a means to obtain more food and income, in socially acceptable ways which do not degrade the environment…[but rather] an opportunity to improve the quality of the environment…and social, economic, and institutional components.” This means sustainable agriculture and land use must consider its multiple functions within economic, social, and environmental longevity and as a means to improve the situation on all levels for rural and urban communities. Small farms with localized distribution systems have been shown to address the need to develop systems that are more sustainable economically, socially, and environmentally. The ecology behind sustainable agricultural practices revolves around closed systems and close sourcing of inputs, ideally within a farming system (Schweisfurth, 2002). In practice, this typically means using localized inputs (fertilizers, etc), recycling of nutrients, and small, diversified cropping systems. Further analysis of sustainable farm systems includes the wider community (that outside of the farm) and has grown to include the distribution systems as well. This means sourcing imports and selling product locally. The agricultural landscape in Crete – a primarily localized food system, at least in the case of vegetable and field fruit production (kipeftika/κηπευτικά), which is dominated by small, diversified farms and a consumer base that is aware of seasonality and sophisticated in their determination of quality – is one that is well suited to become an example of sustainability. However, the current methods of production, the change in consumer habits and the lack of true government support are considerable barriers to creating a truly sustainable food system.

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5.1.1 Small, Diverse Farming Systems The majority of farming in Crete is done on small-holdings and with diversified cropping systems. Both these characteristics have been defined as important components to a farm’s sustainability (Gliessman, 1998). Small farms are often effective stewards of the available natural resources and soil, since they often have a vested interest in its sustainability because of ownership (Rosset, 2000). Because of the diversity of their farming systems, integration of soil amending practices like cover crops and fallowing, and the inclusion of open space and woodlands within the farming systems, small farms contribute positively to the surrounding environment’s biodiversity, can reverse land degradation and soil erosion, and provide open space for the surrounding communities (D’Souza, 1996). Reidsma (2008) has also found that on-farm diversity can benefit an overall farming system by lessening its vulnerability to unforeseen influences, meaning a diverse farming system is less likely to suffer losses due to an unpredictable climate, further reinforcing its ability to be profitable within any growing year and for the future. Furthermore, if we consider a measure of sustainability to be the productivity of a farming system, small farms are at least as efficient as the large more commercial systems and there is even evidence of “diseconomies of scale as farm size increases” (Peterson, 1997; Rossett, 1999). The data revealed an average farm size in Crete of 4.2 ha (NSSG, 2004) and each of the farmers interviewed produced at least the 13 different vegetables and fruits determined of interest for this study and usually more, revealing generally diversified farm systems. While chemical fertilizers are commonly used in Cretan farming, because of the nature of the small farm size and diversified systems found in Crete, it can be stated that generally the type of vegetable farming found in Crete is more environmentally sustainable, since it has not experienced severe consolidation and specialization. A report issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Commission on Small Farms (USDA, 1998) details the many benefits of small farms. The report refers to


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the numerous general public benefits gained by the presence of small farms, beyond their environmental stewardship and including the economic benefits of decentralized land ownership. In this case, local people owning local production systems produce a more equitable opportunity for people in rural communities, and create empowerment and a sense of responsibility towards their roles in the community, leading to a sense of responsibility towards how their actions affect the greater community. Additionally, landowners who live in the same community where their business is located tend to solicit other local businesses and services for the required inputs for operating their business, therefore increasing the value of the dollar spent locally. Several studies have shown the multiplied value of locally owned businesses: a study conducted by the USDA Department of Rural Development (Borst, 2006) determined that locally owned businesses can create up to 2.3 times more jobs and have 3.1 times more local dollar impact, while a similar study conducted in Washington state showed locally directed food-related spending doubles the number of dollars circulating within a community (Sonntag, 2008). This means that locally owned businesses contribute significantly to the development, long-term viability, and economic strength of a community by keeping the money spent on that business within the community, as compared with absentee business owners. The USDA Commission on Small Farms concludes its study with a powerful call to create policies that support small farms in an effort to revitalize communities throughout the United States (USDA, 1998). These strong sentiments were echoed in the discussion with both farmers and the administration of the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά). Many farmers realize their importance within the communities and stated concern about the government’s lack of support and policies that don’t support their efforts. Certainly the discussions with the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) administration in both prefectures revealed that farmers and those who support farmers are acutely aware of the global crisis faced by the world-wide community of farmers and feel they are struggling from all perspectives to validate their worth. While they all seem to take great pride in their role, they at the


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same time feel that the changes within the marketplace and society in general are putting great pressure on their survival. While small, diverse farms have qualities that make a farming system more sustainable than a highly mechanized resource dependent model, there are practices currently in use by many farmers in Crete that leave significant room for improvement. However, because of the types of farm systems already in place, Cretan farmers are well suited to transition to more sustainable or organic practices. In fact, owners of small, diversified farms have been shown to be the best suited and most open to adapting more sustainable practices and extensification schemes (Mann, 2005; D’Souza, 1996), and as having the greatest success in adopting these changes.

5.1.2 Local Distribution Systems and Diverse Local Markets As stated earlier, the developed world has noticed a new paradigm of agriculture developing, to the point where an “alternative� method of food distribution has been set in place to counter the large agribusiness focus under which agriculture has developed within the last 50 years. This study determined that the current distribution system on Crete draws more parallels to these alternative forms of distribution than the industrialized system that is more common in northern European and north American countries. Because of the generally localized nature of the food system in Crete, there are great opportunities to encourage these efforts and nurture a more sustainable food system. There are a total of 3,231 retail operations in Crete that operate in the food sector. Of these, only 2% are international markets (Synodinou, 2006), making the majority of retail operations owned and operated by small locally-owned chains or cooperatives31 (such as INKA, Ariadne, COOP, or Veropolous). Therefore a maximum of 2% of the total number

31

For a detailed discussion of international supermarkets verses locally-owned businesses, see Section 4.3.4 above.


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of retail operations on Crete maintain their own distribution networks, cutting local farmers out of only around 2% of the retail market. The remaining 98% of the retail operations receive fresh produce (kipeftika/κηπευτικά) through the existing localized distribution channels (direct sales and through the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά). Additionally, the research conducted in this study shows the great

majority

of

product

sold

through

the

wholesale

vegetable

market

(lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) is purchased from the island of Crete and often from the same prefecture. While this study did not determine the total volume of vegetables consumed on the island, nor what percentage was sold through what markets, the prevalence of locallyowned (i.e. INKA) supermarkets, greengrocers and mini-markets versus significantly fewer international (i.e. Marinopoulous/Champion, Lidl etc.) markets leads to the conclusion that the majority of vegetables (kipeftika/κηπευτικά) available to consumers passes through the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) or is a result of direct sales and not through the international supermarkets and their centralized distribution chains. Figure 8 is a scale representation of the products available to consumers at their point of purchase. It shows that of all product available through the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά), only a very small percentage (the orange area in Figure 8, 0-6% of the total) could possibly be from sources outside of Crete. Therefore if 98% of the total number of retail operations purchase from the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) or are a result of direct farm to retail or consumer sales, up to 92-98% of the total fresh vegetables and field fruits (kipeftika/κηπευτικά) available to purchase from all retailers on the island is locally produced.


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Figure 8. Scale Illustration of the Supply Chain

While this may seem like a very high number, it is only logical that such a great majority of these products are produced locally. The research found that Crete is a major producer of vegetables and field fruits (kipeftika/κηπευτικά), and in fact produces enough that a significant percentage of the production is exported from Crete. Discussions with the businesses at the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) revealed that approximately two-thirds of the total product produced on the island remains on the island (illustrated by the left-facing arrows in Figure 8) either moving through the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) or by direct sales. The remaining third is sold off the island of Crete, often through sales to auction houses or to pack houses32. While it is important to realize that a significant amount of production is sold off the island, and therefore contributing to a more regional or global food system and economic security for many of the producers that participate in these sales, it is at the same time necessary to encourage the maintenance of the current localization of much of 32

For a more detailed definition of these avenues of distribution, see Section 4.3.4.


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the production, at least to the point of preventing the introduction of internationally owned retail operations or their centralized distribution that could complicate the localized distribution and prevent farmers from participating in local markets. If the growth of international markets on the island increases, which is likely (Synodinou, 2006), methods of encouraging more local purchases within the internationally owned supermarkets should be a requirement of allowing the growth of this industry on the island. Crete is fortunate in that it hasn’t developed a highly industrial food system, especially in light of all the negative implications this type of food system has shown. The challenge for the island now is to maintain its localized system of production and distribution and allow for growth in the food sector at the same time, in order to make it economically viable and attractive to future generations. While this is indeed a difficult task, especially since all market forces seem to encourage a different kind of development, the structures currently in place – as well as the general perception and preferences of consumers – are a solid foundation to force development in the direction of sustainable growth.

5.1.3 Consumer Preferences to Local Food This study did not specifically explore consumer preferences or buying habits, however the semi-structured nature of the questionnaires allowed for a wide range of topics to be discussed for the purpose of initial exploration of the food system on the island. Interviews with farmers, the administration at the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά), and businesses at the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) all noted some change in the nature of buying habits of consumers. Most notably, the Secretary of the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) management in Heraklio noticed that over the past five years the nature of purchases at the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) has become more “European” – stating specifically that people are buying smaller quantities and demanding a very high cosmetic quality. Additionally, several companies at the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) have


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noted changes in demand from the hotels – they are requesting items that aren’t commonly grown in the area, such as iceberg lettuce. However, overwhelmingly, it is noted that consumers in Crete are well accustomed to seasonal availability of different products and prefer to purchase products grown in Crete. Additionally, throughout Greece, Cretan vegetables are known as being very high quality, to the point where several businesses interviewed at the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) noted that sometimes products are imported into Greece and then, as one company (emboros/έμπορος) employee stated, “christened” Cretan in order to command a higher price and gain the preferential market. Additionally, several farmers and both members of the management of the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) commented on the reasons why consumers seem to purchase product directly from farmers. The reasons given were that the consumers prefer the higher quality and freshness available when purchasing directly from farmers. Additionally, the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) offers a wide variety of farmers, so consumers can pick and choose which farmers they prefer based on the quality of what is available that day. The daily presence and size of the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) speaks to the preference of consumers to purchase directly from farmers; each of the markets is rather large in size, with usually 30-100 different stands at each common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά). These are located in various places around the cities, which, unless commonly shopped at, would not have a population to support them33. Lastly, something that was not formally inquired about, but was observed from the researcher’s frequent visits to the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) was the phenomenon of tavernas and restaurants purchasing their vegetable supplies directly from the farmers at these markets. On a number of occasions individuals were introduced to the researcher as taverna owners, as they were purchasing many kilograms of product. 33

Chania’s population is about 50,000 people and Heraklio’s about 137,700. They both have common markets (laiki agora, λαϊκή αγορά) almost every day of the week throughout the year and some of the farmers selling through this retail stream sell the majority of their product in this way.


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The tendency towards seasonality and locally produced product was even noted on a market access report issued by the USDA (Synodinou, 2006). These consumer familiarities and preferences support the idea that in the case of fresh product, Crete's food system is already mainly localized.

5.2 Barriers to Greater Sustainability 5.2.1 Farmer Production Practices A major focus of sustainable agriculture revolves around how the product is produced. While the majority of farms producing vegetables in Crete are small-holdings with diverse products, there is also a great dependence on chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides (as indicated by the small percentage of farmers utilizing integrated and organic farming techniques). These practices can degrade the integrity of the soil, and if not countered with other methods of pest control and soil amendments, can lead to greater and greater dependency on these products (Matson et al., 1997). One common complaint of the farmers interviewed was the rising cost of these inputs. It would benefit the farmers greatly, and improve the long-term viability of their land, to adopt practices that are now taught under the category of organic or biological agriculture, such as compost amendments, crop rotations, and companion plantings. Additionally, lessening the dependence of farmers on these chemicals can greatly reduce their costs of outside inputs and therefore increase their overall profitability. However, educating farmers in these practices requires both the willingness of the farmer and an individual to transfer this knowledge. Both of these may be of little availability in Crete, which, coupled with an older farming population, could explain the existing limited presence of these more sustainable farming practices on the island.


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5.2.2 Lack of Consumer Support and Presence of International Supermarkets While there is a great tendency of consumers to prefer local products in Crete, it is very likely that this could change. The convenience of purchasing everything in one place has encouraged consumers to purchase all their products from the supermarkets, many of which do not carry locally produced vegetables. Both the farmers and the management of the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) noticed that consumers were beginning to prefer shopping at supermarkets and it is likely this will continue, especially as the number of supermarkets on the island increases and more consumers occupy multipleincome households, where all family members work outside the home34.

5.2.3 Government Support All the farmers noted the lack of support for small farming efforts. Additionally, the management at the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά) seemed in constant struggle with the municipal governments to maintain good locations for the markets. Without government support of the current efforts and greater support to expand these efforts, the localized food system could very well be co-opted by the increasing presence of international supermarkets and erode the already localized nature of the food system. Additionally, government support to increase sustainable production practices would help to improve the environmental sustainability of the farms themselves.

34

A study conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, 1998) showed that from 1985-1996 there was a 7.5% increase in the number of two-adult households with both adults working.


CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSIONS The food industry in many developed nations is experiencing a paradigm shift where development is being focused around community-based systems with short supply chains, rather than export-driven and industrial commodity-based systems. As a result of consumer dissatisfaction with food quality, in many instances due to concerns of food safety and environmental detriment of industrial agriculture, there is a growing movement to re-localize the global food system. The benefits of localization are wide, but can be summarized in its flexibility to alter forms of production and distribution to maintain success and therefore long-term sustainability for the whole system. The extreme intensification of agriculture was never fully adopted in Greece, more specifically in Crete. Agriculture in Greece is still dominated by small-holdings with mostly diversified production systems and is a focus of Greek life. However, being more traditional in practice, these diversified, small holding systems are seen as a relic of the past, not as a key element to the future paradigm of agriculture. It is through the integration of traditional ideals and modern methods of production and distribution that agriculture in Crete could develop into an example for food system sustainability; a diversified production system, that effectively and efficiently uses local resources to provide high quality food, distributed equitably to meet the needs of the local community without compromising available resources for future generations. There is presently great opportunity to develop the agricultural sector and the food distribution system in a way that provides the greatest benefits to all actors in both the existing and future communities in Crete. This ideal is best encompassed in the concept of localized, community-based food systems. This study, through interviews and observations, determined the piece of the food chain involving Cretan produced vegetables and fruits grown in the field (kipeftika/κηπευτικά). It also determined the percentage of locally produced versus imported product that moves

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through one of the main distribution channels, the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά). Additionally, through interviews and numerous informal visits with farmers, the study explored the state of mind of many farmers involved in vegetable production. Through these case studies, it was found that two thirds of vegetables and field fruits (kipeftika/κηπευτικά) produced on the island is kept on the island to meet the needs of the local market. Additionally, it was discovered that for the major mechanism by which these products are distributed to retail operations and institutions (restaurants, hospitals, universities, etc) a great majority of the food is produced locally, resulting in the conclusion, at least in the case of vegetables and fruits (kipeftika/κηπευτικά), that Crete’s food system is highly localized. This, along with the dominant typology of farming as small, diverse farms, puts Crete in a positive position to develop a model for sustainable development in agriculture. The initial intent of this study was to discover the areas where local farmers are being prevented from entering the market. However, upon investigation, this study determined that the majority of farmers are indeed accessing local markets, since the food system is strongly regionally based. The distribution system in Crete, at least in the case of vegetables and fruits produced in the field (kipeftika/κηπευτικά), was found for the most part to be a local or regionalized system, based within the island’s geographic boundaries and more often even within the boundaries of the prefectures of the island. It is for this reason that Crete is actually ahead of the paradigm for agricultural development. Since agriculture on the island has not yet undergone a great level of intensification in agriculture nor developed a system based solely on export production, Crete’s food system has achieved what many developed nations are just now beginning to reinvent. However, it faces some challenges in the fact that the policies are focused around preserving the past rather than integrating the functions of the past into the development of agriculture for the future or solely around production for export.


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It was noted in the previous section that a localized food system does not necessarily always equate to greater environmental sustainability. This was shown to be the case when looking at the production practices common to many of the farmers who depend greatly on outside inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides. However, these farmers were also smaller in size and diverse in production, characteristics which have shown to have positive impacts in the viability of rural communities. Additionally, small diversified farming systems have been shown to be open to and have greater success in adopting measures to improve the practices in ways that are beneficial to the environment and the economic well-being of the farm systems, such as organic production measures (Mann, 2005; D’Souza, 1996). All of these factors lead to the ability of Crete to develop its agricultural system better than has been done in other developed nations: Crete can learn from the mistakes made by industrial profit-driven models of production and distribution and further develop their food system in ways that will ultimately lead to a healthier environment and a healthier population, avoiding all the missteps of environmental degradation and nutrition related illnesses they are currently beginning to face. However, there are already some signs that Crete will ignore mistakes made by other developing nations. Specifically, the introduction and growth of international supermarkets on the island (along with their centralized distribution systems), a shift in consumers’ buying habits, and an ageing farmer population are all signs that the current localized food system and diversified small holdings which provide product to this system are in danger. Additionally, farming as an occupation is not given the proper respect within society that it should receive. All the farmers interviewed expressed concerns about the lack of support they receive from the government and the (most precisely, urban) communities, and the fact that the youth do not see a future in farming. Without the proper support from society as a whole, smaller scale farming can almost certainly see extinction on the horizon.


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There is great opportunity now to take advantage of the fact that farming and food still maintain a core in the Cretan culture. Cretans are beginning to experience problems of obesity in their children (Mamalakis, 2000) and farmers are beginning to face the difficulties associated with dependence on chemical fertilizers. Generally, people are noting an erosion of community, while others are simultaneously embracing the idea that localized production and community markets can provide the solution to this “great social crisis”35. Building the ideals of sustainability into the food system by placing greater importance on small scale, regenerative production practices and community-based distribution – and following it up with support – could be an end to greater social erosion and environmental degradation.

6.1 Recommendations for Further Research In the whole perspective of gaining an understanding of the total food system on the island of Crete, this study was rather limited in scope. It only covers vegetable and some fruit production and the majority of the data revolves around what is sold through the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) and the common market (laiki agora/λαϊκή αγορά), leaving unknown the exact map of one third of Crete’s total (kipeftika/κηπευτικά) production. Additionally, the consumption data is also limited to what was sold through these two streams and didn’t look specifically into the internationally-owned supermarkets’ distribution systems. Finally, while vegetables and fruits are a large part of the Cretan diet, there are other aspects of the food system that were completely left out of this study due to resource constraints and should be examined to gain a more complete picture. The recommendations for further research revolve mostly around expanding the scope of the study and include the following specific questions:

35

As stated by Mr. Kostas Kapastanakis, President of the Chania Common Market (laiki agora/

λαϊκή αγορά).


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• What is the path from production to sale at the auction and pack houses. • What is the final destination of the product sold through these auctions and pack houses.

• What is the origin of vegetables and fruits sold at all retail operations in Crete, including international supermarkets and hotels (both the geographic origin and examining the path backwards from retail to farm to determine the chain of middle men).

• What are the consumption patterns and preferences of consumers in order to determine change in both purchasing and general eating habits.

• How do other products move into and out of the island of Crete (mapping of other products, dairy, grains, meats) in order to understand the complete picture of the food system on the island.

• What is the total volume (or monetary value) of Cretan products consumed locally versus what is sent off the island.

• What is the total volume (or monetary value) of imported products consumed locally. Additionally, since the end goal of understanding the current food system would be to inform policies that can best benefit the local community, it would be interesting to look at the impact of current policies on food production and changes in the retail landscape and determine, from farmers’ and consumers’ perspectives, the positive and negative aspects of these changes. Lastly, it was stated several times that the volume of food sold through the wholesale vegetable market (lachanagora/λαχαναγορά) changed significantly during the height of the tourist season. It seemed that the demand during this season was met with local product. However, it would be interesting to see if there is an area where local consumption exceeds production, either during a certain season or for a certain product, so that production can be encouraged in a way that meets this demand, if possible.


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Each of these questions would bring us closer to understanding the true food system in Crete and enable opportunities to improve on areas where farmers are not meeting demand or where retail operations can be encouraged to purchase from local farmers in order to create a closed food system. The general strength of the localized production and consumption system in the case of vegetables and field fruits (kipeftika/κηπευτικά) is a strong indicator that it will endure changes within the retail landscape. However, it is necessary to gain a thorough understanding of the complete food system in order to direct policy and practice that will support the vitality of the rural communities of Crete – environmentally, economically and socially – in concert with inevitable development of the agricultural sector.


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APPENDIX A

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APPENDIX B

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APPENDIX C COMMON MARKET (LAIKI AGORA/ΛΑΪΚΉ ΑΓΟΡΆ) ADMINISTRATION SURVEY

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APPENDIX D

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APPENDIX E CHANIA PREFECTURE SURVEY/INTERVIEW RESULTS Distributor Survey Write Up Interview conducted June 25, 2008 Interpreter: Adamatia Kotinakki Location #19 Company Name: Manoli Maragothakis Interviewee Name: Same as company Job: Owner (with his son) Sells to Chania and Rethymno Company Structure: 3 permanent employees no seasonal labor Type of product: sells all vegetables listed except non-irrigated okra and tomatoes Demographics of purchases: Purchases from both farmers and wholesalers in Chania and Heraklio. Purchases more in the summer from farmers in Chania, in winter more from other areas of Crete. About 20% of purchases from Heraklio

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87 Demographics of sales: Sells to all retailers listed except universities Additional markets: laiki and mobile markets (guys with trucks who drive around to villages) Could not provide percentage of sales, so ranked clients in the following order: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Hospitals Laiki and Mobile markets Old-peoples homes Hotels Restaurants Greengrocers Supermarkets

Buys imported product from other wholesalers, but not directly from importers Sells to Chania and Rethymno prefecture About 80% of product is sold within Chania, bout 20% of sales to Heraklio While the percentage of sales doesn’t change, the amount decreases considerably in the winter time. Number of Suppliers: Purchases product 2 days per week – about 18 total farmers and 18 total wholesalers per week.


88 Distributor Survey Write Up Interview conducted June 25, 2008 Interpreter: Adamatia Kotinakki Location #4 Company Name: Oporoemboriki Chanion Interviewee Name: Sarris Ntentakis Job: Owner/Operator Company Structure: 4 permanent staff, 2 partners (total 6 people) No seasonal labor Type of product: Sells all vegetables listed (not non-irrigated tomatoes) Sells to all listed plus laiki, mobile markets, karavali (ferries) Demographic of purchases: 90% of his product comes from Chania 10% rest of Greece more in summer, less in winter, but % is the same. Mainly vegetables in winter from Chania. He said here he used to purchase the product, but there was so much waste that he changed practice to consignment. Also noted that he buys his fruits from wholesalers in Athens in the winter.


89 Demographic of sales: Supermarkets/greengrocers/minimarkets: 70% 20% rest 10% waste **here he mentioned he doesn’t actually purchase anything, he acts as a representative of the farmer, selling his product. If he is not able to sell the product, the farmer keeps the product. If he sells it, he takes 15% fee plus ELGA tax – about 3%. For imported products this tax is 19%. (This ELGA tax goes to subsidies) Sells to Chania, Rethymno Heraklio, Lathisi Departments Also sells out of Crete to Greece (Attica – Athens) occasionally other areas Sells 80% of his product in Chania, 20% to the rest of Greece. Never outside of Greece Number of suppliers: Total farmers works with: 1050. Weekly about 70-80…but less in winter. Doesn’t purchase from wholesalers.


90 Distributor Survey Write Up Interview conducted June 25, 2008 Interpreter: Adamatia Kotinakki Location #9 Company Name: Froutemboriki Xanion Interviewee Name: X. Papadakis Job: Owner (with his son) Company Structure: 6 total staff – 2 drivers 2 workers, 2 bosses 1-2 seasonal workers in the summer Operates in all Crete, all Greece, and within EU (Italy, Spain, Holland – less than Italy and Spain) Imports yearly, but exports from Greece only occasionally. Will export to other countries if they have experienced a disaster – ex: loss from frost. This has happened only twice in 15 years. Type of product: Sells all vegetables listed except non-irrigated okra and tomatoes Demographics of purchases: Purchases 60-70% of product from Chania, rest from Crete. “mainly” from farmers, but some wholesale purchases


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Only in cases of loss b/c of weather will he purchase outside of Crete Approximately 80% of product from Chania – but it changes by the season and by the product. Ex: in the winter purchases 70% of cabbage, lettuce, (brassicas) from Chania, in summer 80% of melons from Chania. The rest comes from outside Chania, in Crete The amount he purchases from outside of Crete is negligible, although it happens sometimes b/c of weather situation (ex: now 70% of his lemons are from Argentina because of a rough year weather wise). Also for outside of Greece purchases. Demographics of sales: Sells to all retailers listed and added boats and sweetshops (strawberries) 50-60% Supermarkets (includes green grocers?) 40% hotels (peak season only) On off season percentage changes, much less to hotels. Sells product outside of Greece, but mostly to Cyprus and is not a significant amount. About 80% of product is sold within Chania, 20% to Rethymno. No change in winter season (percentage). Number of Suppliers: Purchases from about 30 farmers weekly, the same in the summer, but different farmers b/c product is different. Purchases from approximately 15-20 wholesalers weekly.


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Other discussions: When he asked why I was interested in this, and I explained that I was focused on localized food system, he said it can never happen. Basically why is this: Crete is self-sufficient, but when weather doesn’t cooperate, they need to import because they need the product. Also, if it is cheaper for him to purchase from somewhere else in Greece, he will. If he can buy something for 70cent and then sell it for 1 euro, that is better than purchasing at the 2euro price the Cretan source was offering. Also, we were talking about importing a product when the supply is obviously available in Crete (ex: oranges and avocado). He mentioned the fact that LIDL markets will bring imported oranges into Crete because they have their distribution center in Athens and just send the same stuff everywhere in Greece. This is stupid, however, since often in the case of oranges, they will sell them at a cost higher than anywhere you would find oranges sold in Crete. He “doesn’t understand why they do things like this”.


93 Distributor Survey Write Up Interview conducted July 2, 2008 Interpreter: Yiorgos Eleftheriou Location # 15 Company Name: Yiorgakakis Haral. Interviewee Name: G. Yiorgakakis Job: Owner Company Structure: There is one permanent staff and one seasonal staff Type of product: He sells all listed, except non-irrigated tomatoes Demographics of purchases: [Interviewer’s note: I don’t think he made the distinction between fruits and vegetables. He kept mentioning that he buys kiwi and bananas from Chile even though the questions were rephrased to ask only about vegetables.] 70% of his product comes from farmers from Crete, the majority from Chania, he couldn’t say exactly. He doesn’t buy from wholesalers in Crete. He purchases from wholesalers from Macedonia, but mentioned specifically peaches and plums. [See interviewer’s note above]


94 20% of sales are from wholesalers outside of Crete and 10% from wholesalers outside of Greece (importers). He usually imports only fruit from other countries. However, in the last few years at the height of the summer, he has been purchasing things like tomatoes, etc from counties like Bulgaria. He purchases from outside the country when the demand is greater than the local supply. Demographics of sales: 10% of his product is sold to restaurants and 90% to the mini-markets (green grocers). He sells a nominal amount to laiki and to a hotel. In the winter, the percentage of sales to restaurants is less and more to greengrocers, but it is only a slight difference. He sells only to Chania, and a negligible amount to Rethymno. Number of Suppliers: He purchases from about 10 farmers and 10 wholesalers per week in the summer. In the winter, he purchases from about 5 farmers and 15 wholesalers.


95 Distributor Survey Write Up Interview conducted July 2, 2008 Interpreter: Yiorgos Eleftheriou Location #16 Company Name: Daskalakis & Co. Interviewee Name: M. Daskalakis Job: Owner/operator Company Structure: 5 permanent staff No seasonal labor Type of product: Sells all listed, except non-irrigated tomatoes Also pointed out that he sells snails Demographics of purchases: He purchases only from farmers within Crete, but from all districts. 100% from Chania summer, although purchases more from Heraklio/Lasithi in winter (60%). Purchases a very small amount of potatoes, onions and viota from Macedonia, from wholesalers. [Interviewers note: he couldn’t give accurate percentage here, he said it wasn’t a regular occurrence.] Doesn’t’ buy from importers Demographics of sales:


96 Sells to restaurants, hotels and minimarkets (greengrocers), laiki, boats, and to the U.S. navy base Summer: Sells 50% of product to restaurants, 30% to hotels about 5% each to Laiki and greengrocers and 10% total to boats and the U.S. navy. [Interviewers Note: I think he may have mentioned the navy only because I am from the US. He said they “buy lettuce and tomatoes to make sandwiches”. It is probably a very insignificant part of his business.] Winter: Sells 15% to restaurants, 60% to greengrocers/laiki and about 20% to ships and the navy. He said the amount of food greatly decreases in the winter. He also noted that these numbers don’t reflect the losses. [Interviewers note: He implied that he has trouble selling his product in the winter, but stated that he ends up throwing away a lot more.] He said “there are many causalities in the winter” He sells 80% of his product to Chania and about 20% to Rethymno. It is the same in the winter. He used to sell to Athens, but he said “they didn’t pay me so I stopped”. Further inquiry revealed this meant he wasn’t making enough money off the sales to Athens. Number of Suppliers: He works with over 100 farmers in the summer, much less in the winter, with about 4050 consistently per week. He purchases from 0-5 wholesalers depending upon the time of year. [Interviewer’s Note: He mentioned that almost no one at the lahanagora sells outside of Chania, but there was one stall across the way where the distributor sells to Athens and sometimes outside of Athens.]


97 Farmer Interviews Chania Laiki nr. Papanistrasou St. May 19, 2008 Interpreter: Evangelia Voutsaki Leon Lougodakis Has been farming since he was young – 67 years (his whole life). He father was a farmer. He has 50 stremmata, including some acres of orange and olive trees. He only sells to the laiki. Georgos Akoumianakis [Interviewers Note: We spoke with a woman who said she was the mother of the owner. She helps at the markets when her son is in the fields or otherwise involved. Sells fruits. Had cherries at the time, also has pears, oranges. She sells to both the laiki and to supermarkets. While the prices at supermarkets are much lower that what she can charge at the laiki, she sells them a larger quantity, so still finds it profitable. Nikos Markakis He has been farming for 72 years. (He has been farming since he was a child.) His parents were farmers. He likes to sell to the laiki because it is the best way to get fresh product to his customers. If he doesn’t sell it today, he throws it away, so everything is as fresh as possible. He did feel that he was isolated: no state support, little support from consumers. Feels he is fighting a battle alone. Has 6 stremmata vegetables. Sells only to laiki.


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Adonis Marogkodakis 20 stremmata only produce Sells only to laiki, but most markets and year round. He prefers the laiki, because he wants to sell directly to his customers. He doesn’t want to give money to the middle men who do nothing. [Interviewer’s note: Compared to some of the other farmers, he had a very wide variety of produce and of good quality. He was only one of a handful of younger farmers there…he was probably in his mid 40s.] Has been farming 20 years, about. He works 18 hour days and also feels like the state offers no support. He also complained about the great increase in the price of inputs (fertilizers, specifically) this year from 15- 27 from last year to this year. Nikos (Eva’s father) Farms 8 stremma. Also has additional land with fruit and olive trees Sells only to laiki, 3 times per week. Said that he used to sell to the wholesalers (lachanagora) but they were offering him low prices and then adding on their own costs, and selling it for more than he would charge at the laiki. So he decided to cut out the middle and sell to laiki. Is doing some innovative experiments: soil amendments with manure from a major meat company (Creta Farm). Also, has arrangements with people similar to CSA, for example, families will tell him they will purchase one chicken per week, so he reserves them for him. He knows he can rely on this market, even if payment up front doesn’t happen. He son will take over the farm when he retires.


99 Laiki “President” Kostas Kapastanakis Tel: 6992294572 Date of interview: June 21, 2008 Translator: Evangelia Voutsaki Total Number Farmers at Laiki: 100 Total Number Embros at Laiki: 20 [Interviewer’s note: does not include those that sell products other than food.] Kostas stated that including the clothes-sellers, the ratio was about 1 to 1. However, there is a law that states the number of farmers to emboros must be no greater than 9 to 1. Kostas stated that it was politics that has changed the ratio – meaning someone coerced the old market president to allow more emboros and he hasn’t been able to change it back. Also, there is a law that states those who are allowed to sell as emboros must be of lower socio-economic status, then they are given permission to sell wholesale garments and food at the laiki, which isn’t necessarily followed. However, he said that he likes having the emboros at the market because they offer products from other parts of Greece that are more abundant and at different times of the year (ex apples from the north). This is attractive to the consumers. Did not have sales information. Said it varied considerably among farmers and emboros. However, he did mention that in the summer the prices are considerably less than similar products in the winter…more product causes lower prices. He also said that years before, you could make a lot of money in the laiki. Now it is not so certain. Difficulties with market management: It is governed by a group that includes the mayor of the town, building inspectors, traffic police, archeologists, and there is space for 5 farmers which sell at the market. However, he is the only person who attends the meetings and is and speaks on behalf of


100 the farmers. The administration constantly tries to change the location of the market each year and has been putting the market in less and less desirable locations (out of the way, out of food traffic, etc). Also, each time they change the neighborhood of the laiki, there is a fight from the residents in that area because of the noise, mess, and the fact that they close the roads (limits parking). Also, they have trouble with the health department inspectors. Difficulties from farmer’s perspective: The politicians push the “cheap food” agenda, but that doesn’t take into consideration the needs of the farmers. The farmers are not aware of the total sales, the don’t know how much they will make at the market each week. Changes in consumer buying habits: He has noticed less people coming to the market and has heard people preferring the big supermarkets, where they can bring their car to the big parking lat and buy everything. However, the consumers that come to the laiki say they come because it is the freshest and the best quality. Some questions that consumers ask at the market are about the prices, why is the same product cheaper at the supermarket, but the farmers are able to answer that they have a better quality at the laiki. Also, at the laiki, you have a choice of product – you can pick the best. At the supermarket you have only products from one place [Interviewers note: there are only lemons from one farm/distributor. At laiki, everyone has lemons so you can pick the best quality at the best price] Kostas here talked a lot about the social aspects of the laiki…here everyone in the neighborhood comes and you can talk with people. Also he spoke about the fact that you can ask questions about the products with the farmers and that the world is now experiencing a “crisis of human relations”. The laiki is the solution…it is one way to bring people together again around food. [Interviewers note: this was really apparent to


101 me within the farmers at the market. They all know each other and are friendly with each other and will even make a sale for their neighbor if he/she steps away from the stand for a moment. Also, when we were walking through the market, (me and the translator, two young women) with Kostas, all the farmers were teasing him. Yelling things that you would say to a good friend, such as “I see you with those two girls.” And “ Take care of those girls” and “do you need some help with the girls?” It was actually cute, even if it seems a little off color. ] Changes in farmers: They are getting older and there isn’t interest from young people. The money isn’t attractive to the young people and also farmers are discouraging their children from staying in farming. They want their children to have a better life. Also, the kids don’t want to work they want to relax and “drink frappe” all the time. The number of farmers at the laiki has decreased because they are going out of business…as a result of the higher cost of inputs.

[Note from interviewer: I asked him why he decided to take on the role of president of the market. He told me that he has been in this role for 4 years, but started in the 1980’s selling things (trinkets, etc) illegally in the market. He grew up in Mournes, a village just outside of Chania town, and was involved in a group of social activists and with farming cooperatives. He also saw an opportunity to help the farmers – he can think politically and talk the talk, but he doesn’t have any political affiliation, so he doesn’t need to do any favors. He honestly operates for the good of the farmers. I also asked him what he thinks would improve the situation. He wants the farmers to be more active in the council. There are spots for five farmer members of the Laiki council, but he is the only farmer on the council. He wants them to get more involved in improving their own situation.


102 Also, he wants the office for the laiki moved out of Chania to a location more accessible to farmers.


APPENDIX F HERAKLIO PREFECTURE SURVEY/INTERVIEW RESULTS Laiki “Vice President” Date of interview: July 10, 2008 Translator: Agapi Vassiliou Total Number Farmers at Laiki: There are 120-130 farmers at the Thurs. laiki that we went to. There are 6 total in the city of Heraklio, more in the “suburbs” of the city that are run by those municipalities. Total Number Embros at Laiki: ~170 emboros, including those who sell food (fish, bread, fruit, bakers, dairy) and nonfood items. Sales: Varies a lot – could be between 150-1500 euro per day, also varies according to season products more expensive in winter He mentioned that this year the sales were much lower because of the worldwide economy Difficulties with market management: The biggest difficulty is the size – at any market there is over 200 stands and space is always a limitation. Also he discussed how the members of the laiki are organized like in a union, they have a committee that advises the minister of trade for the municipality. He is the one that makes all the decisions; the committee has no actual power. They are consistently dealing with issues of space and the presence of individuals selling illegal products or products illegally.

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Difficulties from farmer’s perspective: It is always an issue with farmers for the location of the stand… this influences sales and the management of the arrangement always seems to disadvantage the farmers. The presence of emboros is also unfair for the farmers. [Interviewer’s Note: Even while we were speaking, a farmer came up to the VP complaining about the fact that he had no space, that someone had pushed their way into his area.] He mentioned specifically the problem that resulted out of the farm that when there was a great exchange of populations from the USSR, the Greeks that were returned to Greece were given special permission to sell products from their house. This was supposed to be for a limited time, but now there are a number of them that are able to sell and there are too many of them. Changes in consumer buying habits: He thinks consumers have become more ‘European’, meaning they purchase in smaller quantities. Before, people didn’t mind if they ended up throwing out food, now they don’t like to do this. Also they want products themselves that are smaller (bigger is not better). And they seem to be more demanding in terms of quality. Also, there are probably the same number of people at the markets, but more foreigners shop there than before. Products are cheaper and now Greeks go more often to supermarkets. Even as little as 5 years ago, there were more Greeks, but the immigrant population has increased greatly in these past years and they shop at the laiki because of cheaper prices. Changes in farmers: Thinks that as of now, all farmers that sell kipeftika sell products from Crete, no where else. He also said that they now have more space [for growing] and variety than before.


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Thinks on average the age of farmers selling at the market is about 40-50. Law states that farmers can work up to 70, 65 for non-farmers.

History of Laiki was discussed: he said it was stared in 1922 by Venesuelos to give opportunities to farmers to sell directly to consumers. The makeup of the market was supposed to have been 90% food/farmers and 10% non-food. Now, it is much greater, almost an equal amount of emboros (non-food) to food stands. He also mentioned how the management of oil in Europe has spoiled everything. (not exactly sure what he meant by that, but didn’t press, because translator was tired).


106 Distributor Survey Write Up Interview conducted July 9, 2008 Interpreter: Agapi Vassiliou Location # Heraklio Lachanagora Company Name: Tatarakis Dimos Interviewee Name: Tatarakis, Yiannis Job: Owner (actually son is owner) Company Structure: Only 1 full time employee (his son) but he also volunteers to help out, when his son is off doing other things (ex: procuring product). Type of product: Sells everything listed, except lettuce and onions and spinach Demographics of purchases: He doesn’t purchase anything from any other wholesalers, only form farmers. And 100% of product comes from Crete. In summer: 50% of total purchases are from farmers in Heraklio 30% of total purchases are from farmers in Rethymno 10% of total purchases are from farmers in Chania 10% of total purchases are from farmers in Lasithi In winter: 30% of total purchases are from farmers in Heraklio 30% of total purchases are from farmers in Rethymno


107 5% of total purchases are from farmers in Chania 35% of total purchases are from farmers in Lasithi He mentioned this change in % during winter because he was estimating by weight. He buys more heavy vegetables during the winter and therefore that skews the %. Demographics of sales: He sells only to supermarkets/mini-markets and greengrocers. He doesn’t know the percentage of each since he is not totally always familiar with exactly what kind of store a buyer has, plus it is difficult to distinguish between greengrocers and mini-markets. Pure green grocers are not as commonly found anymore, since most places sell a variety of products, like a supermarket, and have an area for fresh product. At this point we had a discussion about the different kinds of supermarkets and what is called a supermarket. It seems many different kinds of stores are called supermarkets. A supermarket can be both an internationally owned chain and a locally owned minimarket. However, when he says supermarkets, he means the locally owned mini-markets or the national franchise owned by V{{{%{$#{% which are usually Spar or Ariadne stores. These stores make cooperative purchases of dried goods and household goods, but each store makes their own purchases for fresh products (vegetables, etc). In summer: 90% of his product is sold to Heraklio 10% to the Aegean Islands In the winter: Nearly 100% of product is sold to Heraklio Less than 1% is sold to the islands He also mentioned that the supermarkets buy more in the summer in the tourist areas, but this doesn’t change %. The volume is greater, but the ratio is the same.


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Number of Suppliers: He deals with about 10 farmers/week, but they come at least 2 times per week.

He also talked a little about the history of his business and the lachanagora. His business was started in 1959 and he was a part of the lachanagora since then. He said the number of distributors hasn’t really changed since then. He also doesn’t like the building they are in, he thought it should be circular so that everyone can see everyone else’s shop. He thought this would encourage greater cooperation. When asked how much they cooperate now, he said they do come to some level of agreement about product prices and will cooperate on sales. For example if one buyer wants more of one product that he has or wants additional products that he doesn’t carry, they will work together either by recommending another wholesaler or buying items from each other in order to fulfill the order of their client.


109 Distributor Survey Write Up Interview conducted July 10, 2008 Interpreter: Agapi Vassiliou Location # Heraklio Lachanagora Company Name: Emmanuel Maltezakis Emborio – Frouta - Lachanika Interviewee Name: Maltezakis, Manolis Job: Owner/Operator Company Structure: He has about 10 permanent staff, not all full time. Type of product: Sells all listed except greenhouse eggplant Demographics of purchases: He purchases 60% of all his product from farmers, 40% from other wholesalers 85% of his product comes from Crete 68% of total purchases comes from farmers from Heraklio 10% of total purchases comes from farmers within Crete, outside of Heraklio 7% of total purchases comes from wholesalers within Crete, outside of Heraklio 15% of his product comes from wholesalers or cooperatives outside of Crete, within Greece (Central Greece, Peloponnese) He mentions that when he buys potatoes, onions and carrots, they come from cooperatives in Central Greece, not wholesalers.


110 He mentioned that he has a lot of friends and family in farming, so while he may be able to find some products cheaper somewhere else, he is obliged to purchase from them. Demographics of sales: Sells to all listed plus catering, mobile markets, and laiki His main markets are the supermarkets/mini-markets and hotels. 70% of his annual sales happen in the summer, 30% in winter. He didn’t know percentages, but said that his main markets are the super/mini-markets and hotels. Others were much less. Summer: 90% of his product is sold in Crete 54% of total sales are in Heraklio 35% of total sales are in Crete, outside of Heraklio 10% of product is sold to Aegean Islands Winter: 97-98% Crete 2-3% Islands Number of Suppliers: He works with a total of 135 farmers, sees about 40 of them per week, less in the winter. He works with only about 10 distributors. He also mentioned that they often go directly to the farm to purchase product. [Interviewer’s note: There was no cooling facility in his shop, one of the only that I saw in Heraklio market without cooling. However, there was a lift to a storage area underground that may be cooled.


111 Distributor Survey Write Up Interview conducted July 10, 2008 Interpreter: Agapi Vassiliou Location # Heraklio Lachanagora Company Name: Emm & Mix. Klironomos OE Interviewee Name: Petros Klironomos Job: Accounting (son of owner) Company Structure: 3 full time employees, no seasonal labor Type of product: Sold all listed except non-irrigated tomatoes Demographics of purchases: 90% of purchases are directly form farmers, only 10% from other wholesalers All products mentioned are from Crete, doesn’t purchase from outside the island 100% of purchases are form Crete 65% of purchases are from Heraklio 58.5% of total purchases are from farmers in Heraklio 6.5% of total purchases are from wholesalers in Heraklio 30% of purchases are from Lasithi 30% of total purchases are from farmers in Lasithi 5% of purchases are from Rethymno 4.5% of total purchases are from farmers from Rethymno 0.5% of total purchases are from wholesalers from Rethymno


112 He mentioned here that he does purchase products from wholesalers that purchase product from other countries. So while he doesn’t import product from outside of Crete or Greece, he does sell product that is from other areas in Greece and outside of Greece. This may be a small amount, but it does exist. Demographics of sales: Sells to super/mini-markets, restaurants, hotels, greengrocers, old peoples homes, Makro (wholesale store – cash & carry), other wholesalers, catering, mobile markets, laiki Summer: 60% of his product is sold to greengrocers 15% to supermarkets 15% to hotels 5% to restaurants 5% to “others”

Winter: 75% of his product is sold to greengrocers 15% to supermarkets 5% to restaurants 5% to “others” Summer: 70% of total product is sold to Heraklio 15% to Chania 5% to Rethymno 10% outside of Crete (to Aegean Islands) Winter: 70% to Heraklio


113 20% Chania 10% Rethymno 2-3% to Islands Also, since he deals with the auctions in Timbaki, he sometimes sells stuff to Lasithi when they don’t have product in the summer. He said he buys their tomatoes in the winter and sells them tomatoes in the summer. Number of Suppliers: He works with about 35 farmers per week in the summer. They sell a few times/week. In the winter it is more like 30 farmers He purchases from about 20 wholesalers, but different companies throughout the year depending upon the season. Notes: I asked him a few extra questions, since we were able to speak in English. But he deferred the answer to an older man. I asked if he has noticed a change in the business, where the food is coming from, type of products, etc. He said yes, there was a change, the volume has definitely increased. Also recently he has noticed a change in the types of vegetables coming though the market. For example, clients are requesting iceberg lettuce and other things not produced on the island. However, he thought the % coming from outside the island was about the same.


114 Interview with Lachanagora secretary Heraklio July 9, 2008 Interpreter: Agapi Vassiliou Interviewer’s Notes: I asked him to discuss the answers as what he could determine is the case with the entire market system. The results he offers should be a general overview of what happens at the lachanagora, on average. There are 40 companies at the lachanagora with about a total of 100 employees. He thinks about 80% of the employees are full time with 20% of them seasonal or part time labor. This may only be this high a number in the summer. They sell all vegetables listed, including non-irrigated tomatoes, but a negligible amount. Purchases: In order of importance, from most to least they purchase kepeftika from farmers and wholesalers Heraklio, Lasithi, Rethymno, Chania. Approximately 70% of the purchases in summer come from Heraklio 49% of total purchases are from the farmers in Heraklio 21% of total purchases are from wholesalers in Heraklio Approximately 20% of purchases in summer come from other areas of Crete 14% of total purchases are from farmers in other areas of Crete 6% of total purchases are from wholesalers in other areas of Crete Approximately 10% of purchases in summer come from other areas of Greece, and all of this from wholesalers In the winter, it is slightly different: More purchases from outside Greece, possibly up to 20%, potatoes, onions, broccoli, cabbage, etc.


115 More also from outside of Heraklio (Lasithi), but still majority from Crete. Does purchase from Holland and Italy, from importers. Sales: Sells to all listed, included also the army, ferries, mobile markets, catering, the laiki and each other. When asked about “each other” he said they tend to specialize slightly, so will purchase from one another if a customer wants a product one emboros doesn’t have. Also, it was mentioned here about the different kinds of supermarkets. The interviewee said that it is not uncommon for some of the smaller, local chains to purchase from the lachanagora. It is only the international chains that have their own distribution center in Athens for example. He wasn’t able to give a percentage of sales for each market. What he was able to tell us was that in general, during the winter, the volume of sales for each market decreases. Additionally, the percentage decreases for hotels and ferries and restaurants, due to the lower number of tourists at this time. He also mentioned that in August especially, there will likely be a change in the volume of sales in supermarkets in the cities and in rural areas. This is because people during August take vacations and either produce their own in their house in the village or leave the cities and go to the village, so more people buy food from rural supermarkets and less from urban supermarkets at this time. While there may be more tourists in the cities at this time, it is not enough to offset the number of people who have left the cities. The percentage of sales geographically: 80% of total sales to Crete 48% to Heraklio 32% to rest of Crete 20% of total sales to Athens or the islands (depending on time of year)


116 He also mentioned that while there are a lot of farmers in the areas where tourism is concentrated (other than the cities) often supermarkets and restaurant, etc, prefer to purchase product from wholesalers because of the convenience of being able to purchase everything they need all at once. So farmers often sell to wholesalers here anyway. We had a short discussion about the nature of how food moves around the island. Yiannis repeated a sentiment we heard earlier that about 1/3 of all food produced on the island goes through the lachanagora. Another 1/3 or slightly more, is purchased at the auctions or to packers (which means it will be sent off island) and the remaining 1/3 is direct sales to supermarkets, restaurants, etc and through laiki. We now began more general discussions about the nature of the business. Questions were asked as they came up. Q) What changes have you seen in the amount of food coming from outside of the island in the last decade. Yiannis didn’t think the % of food coming from outside had changed really at all, but for sure the volume of food moving through the lachanagora has decreased. He said a decade or so ago, it was about 90% of all food produced in Crete went through the lachanagora. He stated the following reasons for this decrease: Increase of direct sales. Farmers now have their own trucks (pickup trucks, not closed box trucks) so they don’t need someone to pickup their food anymore, they can deliver it directly to their retailer. there are more retail markets, farmers have more options to sell their food. More supermarkets, mini-markets, etc, have opened so there are more outlets now. Q) What do you think is the future of the lachanagora? He thinks the quality of product will be increased [Interviewer’s note: didn’t get reason why he thought this] He thinks the lachanagora will eventually change to specialize in products that are not produced on the island. He said more and more food that is produced on the island is


117 moved ‘on the black market’ or ‘without papers’. He also mentioned the dangers of this for a few reasons: There is legislation that states all food must pass through lachanagora, but direct markets cut this step out, illegally. This way, farmers and retailers don’t have to pay the tax on the purchase. This also prevents the inspection step, which tests for pesticide residues and limits the ability for trackback. Related to the specialization of the market: He gave the example of potatoes and fruits…Crete cannot meet the needs of potatoes in the winter, so many wholesalers purchase imported products from Athens, form other wholesalers. Mentioned stupidity of this, since many potatoes come from Egypt, which is closer to Crete than Athens, but since there are few importers in the lachanagora, they have to purchase from importers there. He did mention that there is a preference for Greek product – when something is imported, such as potatoes, it may be ‘baptized’ Greek so that it can sold with a price premium. He also mentioned that there is lack of division of labor: a wholesaler should be a wholesaler, a packing house a packing house, a farmer a farmer. Instead farmers are packing and grading without proper licensing, so even if their product is properly packed, it cannot be accepted as such for wholesaling, with the 20-30 euro cent price premium of a packed product. However, this does happen anyway. He also echoed a situation with his personal business that they have diversified to retail since they can’t make enough money with only the wholesale business.


118 Farmer Interviews Heraklio Laiki July 10, 2008 Interpreter: Agapi Vassiliou Farmer: Adonis Sigelakis Age: ~45 Yrs Farming: ~20 30 Stremma 9 greenhouse veg, 1 field veg 20 olives Demographics of sales: Sells all listed, focuses on vegetables produced in greenhouse, which is almost everything he sells Sells 20% of product to laiki and 80% to auctions in Timbaki. [Interviewers note: the auctions in Tibaki are wholesale auctions or packing house auctions. All of the product sold to these markets is taken off the island and sold either in other areas of Greece or in northern Europe. I have heard estimates that the production of vegetables here for winter product accounts for about 30% of the vegetable product in all Greece. See FroutaNea note] The volume of product sold in Timbaki is much greater than what he sells at the laiki, but the auctions are very particular about size and appearance, so what isn’t graded for sale at the auctions, he sells at laiki. He attends laiki 4x per week. But there are many types of customers that purchase from the laiki. [Interviewers note: I noticed an individual purchases 3 bags of tomatoes while


119 we were conducting the interview. I learned that he was a restaurant owner. Additionally, I met another taverna owner who was shopping at laiki in Chania, purchasing product for meals that evening to sell at her taverna.] Profitable markets: While he makes more money in Tibaki auctions, he said he likes the laiki because he takes home a couple hundred

each day, and it is cash. The auctions take up to 30 days

to pay, so he wouldn’t have money if it weren’t for the laiki. He said he makes money according to the basic law of supply and demand. When there is low supply of something, he can charge more, he makes more money. Labor: He hires two permanent employees and a few seasonal laborers form time to time. His family also helps. Comments on policies: His first response was “this is a global problem, not specific to Crete”. In general, policies don’t help the farmers. Specifically he mentions difficulties getting loans to expand the business. Also, he talked about how there is a 19% tax on the cost of inputs, but only a 9% charge they are legally allowed to put on the cost of food. So they pay more tax to buy stuff for the business and are not allowed to charge the same tax for the product they sell. Retirement: He hopes to be able to rent his land to another farmer. While his son is an agronomist, he doesn’t seem interested in farming the land. When asked about why he started farming, he said he thought it was the best thing he could do. He wanted to be his own boss.


120 [Interviewers note: there seems to be a general trend among those who chose farming and those who were born into it. Those who chose to farm really love it, they feel a lot of pride in what they are doing. While this may also be true of those who were born into farming, they seem to be a little more disenchanted with the state of thing. However, all farmers seem to have many issues with the isolation they feel as farmers.]


121 Farmer Interviews Heraklio Laiki July 9, 2008 Interpreter: Agapi Vassiliou Farmer: Stavros Kodonakis Age: ~late 30s - 40s Yrs Farming: ~20 (has been farming organically for 2+ this season. Before that was conventional farmer) 7.5 Stremma (4.5 greenhouse, 3 field) plus 10 stremma olives Demographics of sales: Of the items listed, he sells Cabbages, cucumbers (greenhouse), Eggplant (greenhouse) lettuce, melons, onions, potatoes, tomatoes (greenhouse), watermelons, peppers (greenhouse). He mentioned that he tried to put in spinach, but the crop failed. Also, as a conventional farmer, he used to plant beans and okra. He sells products to laiki (M-F) and delivers to a pack house in Diavani. He mentioned that what doesn’t get sold at the laiki goes to the pack house. He also sells to a wholesaler what he harvests on Saturday because he doesn’t go laiki. He mentioned that he is also an apiary. Approximately 40% of his product goes to the processors/wholesalers (pack house, etc) and 60% is sold to laiki


122

The laiki is located out of his village (in Heraklio), but the packers are within the village (Messara area). However, pack houses sell the product off Crete… He mentioned that he used to sell also to Greengrocers, but they complained about quality (because the consumers were demanding that his organic product look the same as conventional). Profitable markets: The laiki is his most profitable market. He sells everything at the laiki at higher prices than to the processor/distributor. [Interviewer’s note: Here he mentioned that at the special organic open market (which is where we met him) all the farmers set the same prices for the product. At the regular laiki, this is not the case. On the day we were there, about 9 farmers were present and there were only 15 or so customers during the hour we were there.]

Labor: Himself and family. Comments on policies: “They don’t help”. He is having difficulty with the transition period…the certifiers are dragging their feet and this he sees is a great difficulty. It erodes the trust with farmers to take so long to do things. He thinks the motivation for consumers to come to the laiki is the lower prices. However, some growers at laiki are talking about the need to raise prices, but he thinks this will erode consumer base at laiki.


123 He mentioned the need of the state to offer more help. The farmers need help with marketing efforts…that the markets are not well known. He feels the prices for [organic] product now is ok, but shouldn’t ever go too high compared to conventional. He stated twice that he feels the marketing efforts are the problem, not the technical aspect of farming. Retirement: He is hoping to rent to another farmer. Because the land is certified, he thinks it won’t be a problem. Doesn’t think his kids will farm – one is a lawyer, the other a football player. Since Stavros was an organic farmer, I asked what his motivation was for switching production: He stated that he switched because of his own health – he wanted to move away form chemical use. Also, he was encouraged by friends, family and the market (distributors offered support for his conversion). His personal goals are to sell as much product as possible through laiki and to increase the variety he produces.


124 Farmer Interviews Heraklio Laiki July 9, 2008 Interpreter: Agapi Vassiliou Farmer: Yiorgos Dimitriou Age: ~33 Yrs Farming: ~9 yrs 11 Stremma veg 20 olives Demographics of sales: Sold everything listed except: artichoke, melons, potatoes and watermelons. He also had corn and peppers at his stand while we were there Only sells to laiki, in Heraklio. His farm is located in Sikologos. He sells to Laiki 3 times per week for 2/3rds of the year. Profitable markets: N/A Labor: Comments on policies: His first response was “this is the great social conversation”. He stated certification has helped, because it is an obvious guarantee to people of a clean product. Though it seems a little ridiculous [Interviewers note: unclear to what he was referring to]. Certification was expensive for him, although there is state support, he didn’t take it (it would have lowered cost of label).


125

There is a lack of regulation on prices – for example, shops aren’t allowed to markup product more than 30%, but there were doubling the price. There was no way this could be regulated…there was no enforcement about this law. The insurance payments from the gov’t are very low, and price support payments are at the bottom. He also mentioned that farming is discouraged from the family. “No parent wants his child to be a farmer.” He stated that if the government wants to help farmers, they need to put farmers in the center…give them validity. Retirement: He’s young, but hopes to pass the land on to someone to have it in farming. When asked about how he saw the future of farming on the island, he said there is no future. Selling the product is very difficult. Most organic farmers have another source of income on which they rely. His father was a policeman, so he is not from a farming family. He started on 1 stremma from his mother and has bought some of the land he farms and rents more. When asked why he wanted to farm, he said he wanted to be his own boss. He is able to lead a good life – he lives near the sea, eats his own product, and wanted to live without drugs (meaning chemicals). He also believes he can earn a living through farming.

A PARADIGM OF FOOD SYSTEM SUSTAINABILITY ON CRETE  

This study investigates the island’s potential to develop a fully sustainable, localized food system. Through case studies, this study exami...

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