Athenians buy potatoes direct from farmers


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    Greeks ditch middleman to embrace ‘potato revolution’


    While it is great for consumers and farmers to cut out middlemen, we must remember middlemen are consumers, too. I am a farmer who loves to sell his product (milk and meat). It amounts to a pint of milk for 2057 children every day of the year and 36465 quarter-pound hamburgers divided among whomever you wish. Thing is, if you are not a farmer but have a job, you are probably in the middle of something, so if cutting out the middlemen cuts out everybody but the farmer, the farmer has no income.


    I wonder how long it will take TPTB to intervene with a new ,and large, tax or levy on this type of transaction, if, indeed, they don’t make a new set of laws to end it all together. Chain supermarkets, many with their origins in Europe/Germany, will not allow their profit margin to be cut without fighting back.
    The Greek people are to be crushed and people cannnot be allowed to have control over their own food supply and still be slaves to the system……riot and we cut off your food supply…. end of problem. A heads up to us all.

    This illustrates the need for us to get a robust, local food system in place everywhere else now.

    Birdshak, I agree that the idea of middlemen means jobs, however the owners of the system, those making the hugh profits on the mark up of food post farm,
    are either not the Greeks themselves or ,if they are, the profits being made are not remaining in Greece to any large extent, but being sucked up by foreign banks/investors. The money paid to the local farmers will remain in Greece and, more importantly, in the very local economy.


    It might be interesting to see if this leads to the beginning of various CSA or food box schemes being attempted in the different local regions to supply not only basic produce but oil, olives, meat, poultry, local beans and pulses as well as bread from village wood fired ovens which still exist.

    I think it still might attract taxes and overt rulings, but like Italy, when foolish EU food regs out of Brussels were crushing ancient food traditions and products, people found their way around the official grip.


    This presupposes that the Athenian consumers have some sort of Money that the Greek Farmers will accept for their produce. Right now they are getting Euros for them, which buy them something else they need, like say Diesel for their tractors. What happens when their Athenian Consumers of their produce can only pay them in Drachmas, which won’t buy them any oil to keep their tractors running?



    If Greece reverts to Drachmas alone will there be food for them in the supermarkets anymore, or pertrol and diesel readily available for the average, unconnected Greek anywhere?
    A local food supply, bartered and paid for as they go, will certainly help get them through the transition when no food /fuel is incoming from the rest of the world without Euro’s as payment.
    Even the wealthy and well connected will find that their stash of Euros will dwindle and buy much les than they had expected.


    Personally, I see it as a simplification to an over-complex food supply system. Obviously, potatoes are a small part of what the farmers can eventually supply.

    I can see a return to street-markets. It might mean that consumers can’t get hold of French cheeses and having to make do with local feta cheese instead. The same applies to lots of other products.

    I was in Moscow in July ’98 and left two weeks before the financial collapse.

    At a tiny supermarket a short walk from the Kremlin, I saw potatoes from the Netherlands and chickens from the USA (Tysons)

    I immediately realised that this was crazy and told my elder brother about it. He (a prominent world banker at that time) assured me that all was well with the Russian economy. 🙂

    I have little respect for the middleman. It is the same argument as that used to promote military expenditure – what will these engineers and salesmen do otherwise?

    Here in Australia, a handful of supermarkets determine the price that the farmer will get – a small fraction of what the supermarkets charge their own customers. Obviously, the whole set up is oiled by oil.

    For example, I pay 2.60 dollars/litre for organic milk, and I doubt if the farmer gets half that. The margins on some other products are out-of-this-world.


    gezelle post=1309 wrote:
    Even the wealthy and well connected will find that their stash of Euros will dwindle and buy much les than they had expected.

    Particularly true once the Euro goes the way of the Confederate Dollar.

    Until the collapse works its way to Da Fed, the Black Market economies in these countries will Dollarize. Drachmas are likely to have about as much utility as a Zimbabwe Dollar.


    el gallinazo

    I live in a mid-sized town in NW Mexico. In the center of town we have a large building housing a central market with 5 competing grocery kiosks. There are two butcher kiosks as well and a small tortilla factory. Here they don’t ask you paper or plastic, they ask you corn or wheat 🙂 The farmers come in with crates of fruits and veggies in beat up old pickups. This fills me with a lot more confidence than if the produce were coming in on 18 wheelers with 6 license plates attached to the back. I can get a bag filled with maybe 10 lbs of fruit and vegetables for about 4 dollars. I am pretty much making it on my SS check, living in modest comfort, and only use my savings for treats and travel. This has nothing to do with the question of currency, but if you don’t grow your own food, it’s nice to see it arriving with the local farmers. There don’t seem to be a lot of middle men. I think the kiosks owners deal directly with the farmers. We also have two separate markets which might be 1500 square feet each.


    I’ve started growing some of my own potatoes here on my Urban farm, such as it is so far. And my pullets are growing fast, so I hope for eggs in a couple of months. My daughter’s flock (some of which were going to come to me) of 4 are laying an egg a day each, so I get a few of hers. It’s a good thing she’s adopted the urban farm idea, since she got laid off Again. I think her hobby of raising chicks may be a winner for her.

    There is a local Berkeley crop swap that started up last year, that I hope to get some produce from it in swap for eggs later. I know it’s a small beginning, but I’ve started.

    There are also Farmers markets almost every week day, in my local 5 mile area. At those I can be more confident about there not being a huge residue of pesticides on the produce.

    The Greeks are a good model to watch for what works. But misery and necessity are the parents of invention. This thread again could go into a Food section here. (I never quite know where to post things, and this post about the Greeks got me going.)

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