Share this story...
Latest News

Greek villagers’ secret weapon: Grow your own food

In this photo taken on Thursday, July 2, 2015 Ilias Mathes works at his garden in the village of Karitaina about 210km (131 miles) southwest of Athens. Its distinctive Byzantine churches and stone-wrought homes, and the magnificent view of the mountains, rivers and valleys, won it a place on the back of the 5,000 drachma bill before the Greek currency was phased out when the euro was introduced in 2002, and now many people are returning to the old times of living off the land and away from the concerns of euro currency controls. (AP Photo/Spyros Tsakiris)

KARITAINA, Greece (AP) — Ilias Mathes has protection against bank closures, capital controls and the slashing of his pension: 10 goats, some hens and a vegetable patch.

If Greece’s financial crisis deepens, as many believe it must, he can feed his children and grandchildren with the bounty of the land in this proud village high in the mountains of the Arcadia Peloponnese.

“I have my lettuce, my onions, I have my hens, my birds, I will manage,” he said, even though he can no longer access his full pension payment because of government controls imposed six days ago. “We will manage for a period of time, I don’t know, two months, maybe three months, because I also want to give to our relatives. If they are suffering, I cannot leave them like this, isn’t that so?”

The production of food and milk gives villagers in many parts of Greece a small measure of confidence — and a valuable buffer. But that doesn’t mean the financial cut-off doesn’t cause headaches. Some in Karitaina have to pay 40 euros in taxi fares to get to and from the nearest banks just to withdraw 60 euros, the maximum daily amount for those with bank cards.

The bus to Megalopoli, the town with the bank, was shut down — a victim of austerity. Many of those who used to drive are now too unwell to do so. The majority who live here are retirees, shrouding the town in eerie quiet broken only by the constant birdsong and the sporadic shouting of people arguing about the financial crisis at a vine-shaded caf

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.