Potatoes for Democracy

movement of the people!!!!
Elias Tsolakidis & The Potato Revolution
Internet Yes, Middlemen No
Unemployment in Greece recently soared to more than 20% – even 50% among the youth. Simultaneously, the minimum wage has been slashed from 750 Euros per month to just 500. As Greeks struggle with the worst recession in modern history, civic initiatives are springing up, acts of defiance refusing to accept the status quo. The Potato Movement is one of them. Max Borka reports.
The Potato revolution spread from the Nevrokopi region, in the north of the country. Beginning of 2012, Greek farmers were left with a huge harvest and unable to sell their potatoes at a fair price. Supermarkets offered them 15 Eurocent per kilo potatoes, which didn’t even cover the production costs, and resold them for more than 70 cent. The farmers reacted by distributing tons of potatoes for free in large cities – which, from a financial point of view, didn’t really solve their problem. Seeing this, a sports professor from Katerini, Elias Tsolakidis, proposed to install a system that would allow consumers to put their orders on Internet. Since then, producers drive their trucks to parking lots in the cities, where they sell their potatoes at an average price of 25 cent, less than half of what one would pay in the supermarket. Municipalities, keen to participate, started organizing the sales: customers pre-order the quantity of potatoes they want, and get a receipt after paying, which they then present to the farmers, in exchange for potatoes. Some supermarkets reduced their prices in response, while similar schemes were soon in the pipeline for other products, such rice, flour and olive oil. “This is not just about food, it’s an exercise in democracy, “ says Tsolakidis. (2012)

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