Back to the Land: Reactions to Greece’s Recession

In the midst of the economic lash-back from Greece’s austerity-laden bailout, an interesting reaction is beginning to emerge. With job loss still averaging 1,000 workers a day, some Greek citizens are quitting the job hunt, removing themselves from the urban economies altogether, and moving back to the land to practice farming. From sustenance living to a highly productive goat farm, Greeks are finding ways to survive and make a living using basic resources.  Having gone from job searches and despair to seeing the fruits of their labor, many cite contentment and appreciation for their simpler – albeit hard-working –life.

For others, the move isn’t just about finding a way to survive, but is a conscious social movement. Apostolos Sianos, who gave up a well-paid job to join an eco-community explains, “What other’s saw as a global economic crisis, we saw as a crisis of civilization… so we made the decision to try something different”.  Many back-to-the-land movements are a reactionary counterculture, trying to separate from materialist mainstreams, and are related to urban problems. Historically, these have been social problems; that Greece’s rural resurgence is largely related to economic crisis makes it unique. How these back-to-the-landers will fit into the larger scheme of counter-urbanization, how they will mesh with the communities around them, and how permanently they will settle remains to be seen.

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