In Styra, southwestern Greece, Dimitri recently started an inspiring agricultural project. By cultivating 5 hectares of land, he wishes to produce quality fruits while respecting nature and restoring the damaged ecosystems. He is part of the regenerative farming’s mouvement.
Greece, to reconnect with his origins, put down roots and give meaning to his life
Every morning, Dimitri goes to his new workplace: Mazi Farm, out of the soil since 2017 on one of the slopes of Evia island in Greece. After living in different places, he settles down here to put down roots, in the country where a part of his family comes from and where his parents live for 8 years.
Becoming a farmer was not a clear path. After completing a degree in economics, he decides to leave this branch in order to give meaning to his professional orientation. For him, “reconnecting to nature and producing quality food” is the best way to do this.
Aged 24 and with only a little experience in the farming field, he makes this idea come true with the support of his family and friends. To choose the location and imagine the farm, he follows his heart and relies on specialists’ advice. Ernst Götsch, founder of syntropic agriculture and Dimitri’s mentor in South America, visited him to help designing his project.
Transforming degraded land into fertile land
Despite the splendid view that its location in the heights of the island offers, the farm is a real challenge for the young farmer! He has to cultivate on sloping land and to deal with poor soil that has been severely degraded due to past human activities and forest fires. Yet, as a hardworking and motivated man, Dimitri sees in it the opportunity to prove the ability of agroforestry, an agricultural technique based on the use of trees, to restore affected ecosystems.
In November 2017, 8000 trees are planted. Fig trees, almond trees, pomegranates, pistachio trees and cacti, the species that produce the fruits to be sold, are combined with eucalyptus trees and acacias that create a favourable environment by generating organic matter and protecting the others from parasites or diseases. In addition to fighting against soil erosion, a phenomenon that strongly affects this region, trees enrich the soil.
Dimitri’s objective is to live from his production while respecting the earth and the living. To achieve this, he moves forward by making compromises such as planting trees in an organized way to facilitate harvesting and using machines that reduce costs and optimize time.
Currently, the trees are still in the early stages of growth but the improvement of the soil and the surrounding biodiversity are already well visible.
Learning and raising awareness about agroforestry
As Dimitri explains, the beginning of this project is about “learning and experimenting”. By moving from theory to practice and vice versa, he learns at home and on the field. With hindsight, he now observes that “the first few years built the ability to know where to focus, what questions to ask in order to become more professional”.
Convinced that a better and more sustainable system has to be buit together, Dimitri and the Mazi Farm team want to share. A way of thinking present in the name of “Mazi” which means “together” in Greek. Sharing his experience and inspiring future farmers in agroforestry are also important to him. He thus makes available on the Mazi Farm website documentary resources to share this knowledge and increase the regenerative agriculture movement.
Follow Mazi Farm as well on Facebook!