Wisdom comes from simplicity
Our philosophy stems from the setting in which we were brought up, which is none other than Cretan culture. The values and lifestyle, even the land itself, are an integral part of the way we were raised.
Simplicity and frugality, freedom and a profound sense of justice, admiration for and exaltation of nature: all of these are constant, beloved themes in traditional Cretan song-making. Even the dances, from one end of Crete to the other, teach us the humility with which one should move in the world, and the grace hidden in simplicity, the seriousness and respect with which our feet should tread the land, the soil that has, for millennia, played host to a culture whose roots are traced back to the beginning of human history. Roots as ancient as the roots of the olive trees that still flower and bear fruit on the island of Crete.
We are what we eat
We were raised on the Cretan diet, of which olive oil is an integral part. Every day, our plates were filled with our grandmothers’ healthy recipes, with ingredients and fresh produce from their gardens, in an explosion of nutritional values. Naturally, we learned to appreciate these dishes as adults, after travelling to distant lands and missing our childhood flavors, and after studying the importance of this diet, which is now globally recognized and scientifically studied. Journalist Nikos Psilakis beautifully summarizes the essence and philosophy of Cretan cuisine in the following extract:
“It is a way of life. It is the philosophy and logic of eating what you have at hand. The garden, the oven, the hearth, leaven bread, all these are the elements of a great female culture, established through the experience of centuries and expressed through inventive simplicity. In other words, it is a creature of necessity. At conferences, I am often asked what the Cretan diet is. And I always reply: the diet of the poor farmers of Crete. Whose diet, however, was anything but poor. It may not have had any great material value, but it had an ethical value, and that ethical value helps forge identities and formulate behaviors”. […] Our secret, in Crete, is the soil. The soil and its products, the production process, the microclimate, this wonderful world that we were fortunate enough to be born and live in, an island – a whole continent”.
Know your farmer. Know your food.
The geological profile of Crete, despite the fertility of the land, was never suitable for the development of large-scale crops. This led to a fragmentation of arable land and the creation of small properties. One direct result of this, was that the agricultural products were always well-tended and of high quality, cared for by the hands of these micro-farmers and intended for personal consumption. Only any excess was sold, and the transaction was direct, from the producer to the consumer. We model our own transactions on this practice, as it establishes a personal relationship between the parties.
Being small-scale producers ourselves, we are able to offer a top-quality product, thanks to all of the time and attention we can dedicate to the cultivation process. However, the most important thing is that, due to this personal relationship, consumers gain first-hand experience of the production process and can be certain of what they eat and can better appreciate what reaches their plate.
Our philosophy in the field
We have literally created a food system that is killing us. We have to reinvent the food system and our societies. – Jeffrey Sachs
Our philosophy is based on respect for nature and on developing a cultivation process that will be profitable but sustainable, with a minimal environmental footprint. Human culture has reached a point where simply not burdening the environment is no longer enough. We believe that the new generation of producers has to take action to restore the damage caused by decades of erroneous and harmful practices.
Our own objective is to take our olive groves one step beyond organic agriculture, to the model of regenerative agriculture. Our main intention is to ensure restoration of the land, through the practices of permaculture and natural cultivation. These methods will allow the recovery and preservation of the soil’s fertility without chemical fertilizers, the restoration of the water table and consequently the reduction of watering requirements, the limitation of corrosion and eventually, the recovery of the local flora and fauna. We are working hard and methodically to create a land that will nurture healthy and resilient trees, and to preserve the ecosystem of our olive groves. We let nature do its job more easily. Besides, nature really does know best.
I think agriculture can bring us together more than any other issue. – Danielle Nierenberg
All of the above can be summarized in our vision, which is none other than to create a network of people, a community, that will offer, exchange and share knowledge; because we believe that change can only occur through knowledge. For us, respect for tradition does not mean an obsession with the past. Traditional empirical knowledge is examined, classified and documented by science. Studies, surveys, technological achievements are now at our disposal, at the disposal of all producers, and will allow us to do our bit for social progress and the salvation of the planet.
Despite the prevailing atmosphere of uncertainty, not only in Greece but in the entire Western world, we do not espouse the belief that our options are limited, and we refuse to accept that our generation should compromise its dreams and stick to mentalities and practices that have been proven to lead to a degradation of the value of life. We believe, very deeply, that agriculture and food production in general, can act as the driving force for the transition of human culture to a new era where humankind, nature and life will again become the epicenter of human activity.