Who, what and when
The project was launched in 2014. Contributors are locals and refugees/asylum seekers.
Background and goals
We act where social protection is missing and support people in need by creating foundations for social mobilisation and cooperation through solidarity actions. We aim at social empowerment by generating community relations, by mobilising those unemployed and through the creation of synergies and integration between people irrespective of their social and cultural background.
We make no distinctions between people and there are no “beneficiaries”. We believe that each person brings their own, unique contribution, like water drops come together to create rivers and seas. Our social space is a point of reference for social innovation and community entrepreneurship, a place where needs, ideas and collective actions are uniting people as a dynamic and creative community. Pervolarides is a meeting place for everyone that wants to offer their free time, talent and skills to the community and to people in need.
In this sad reality where economic market rules regulate and degrade our daily life and our interpersonal relationships, we come together to create a community that generates an alternative paradigm of solidarity, cooperation, community participation and collective action. We wish to create a prototype of inclusion through social synergies that reflect the needs of our community today and of the society we dream for our children.
Community engagement and empowerment through cooperation, informal education that may lead to new professional skills. Fighting depression through cooperative work, social inclusion of refugees/asylum seekers, single mothers, uemployed people etc through common activities.
Starting with food and the relations that form throughout its cycle (from seeding and cultivation, to crop collection, processing and cooking, to re-processing of food waste and composting), we have over the years developed activities like:
Community cooking we prepare food for people in need. Locals and refugees come together to meet their neighbours, to taste and learn new recipes and to share their love for food and for helping others.
Food waste reuse where we collect products close to their expiring date as well as fruits, vegetables and fish that otherwise would be dumped. These products are thereafter cooked into hot meals that are distributed to people in need or turned into sauce, marmalade and pickles.
Beekeeping which teaches us how to work together with the bee populations to produce organic honey, while we support the natural regeneration process by nourishing nature’s pollinators.
Solidarity olive collection where we collect olives from olive groves that are donated to our cause and we distribute the olive oil to families in need.
Urban gardening where we will seek to create food as well as to share methods for food cultivation and processing of organic household waste into gardening compost/fertilizer.
Employability and vocational inclusion created through training activities and workshops (food cultivation, processing, beekeeping, etc.) that facilitate the development of vocational skills and the creation of new employment possibilities.
Social networking between like-minded people and local groups with common concerns and interests as well as with communities beyond Greece, so we can support each other and share our ideas, knowledge and good practices.
What were the biggest difficulties in implementing the project and how did you deal with them?
We are depending in our volunteer network to implement all the above mentioned activities, which poses a limitation in our ability to respond to calls, for example for free food donations or transfer of tools/people to different places. Also, we lack money for transportation costs and rental costs/utility bills for our community node. All the above mentioned funding restrictions pose limitations to our community building efforts.
During this period of financial and social crisis allocating resources (either financial or materials) is not an easy task. Our volunteers face their own personal problems and limitations.
Which support is ( or has been) essential for the success of the project?
Practical support from grassroots movements from Germany all over these years has been crucial for the survival of our team and its activities. The visibility that our project has achieved through these grassroots movements has been very important to keep an open door to the rest of the Europe. By participating in presentations throughout Germany, contributing with other similar projects in debates and discussions about alternative paradigms in social and solidarity economy projects.
It has been very important for us to know that many people/organizations think in a like-minded way and walk in parallel roads with us.
What would you do differently if you had to start all over again?
We would have tried to have a more clear pathway on how/what we want to achieve. We would like to have solidify our network of friends and supporters.
But then again, Greece was (and still is) like a house on fire: There is not enough time to think, we have to put out the fire immediately, We had to hurry up and react on the crisis, trying to help as many people as we could, buolding our social network at the same time.
How could researchers support your project? Which questions have remained unanswered so far?
First by getting to know our work, our achievements and our limitations. We need to establish a common path so that both sides can exchange knowledge. We would like to learn from the experience that other iniatives have obtained over the years.
Second, by making our initiative visible to more people, by presenting our work, either locally or internationally.
Exchange and support
We are always open to exchanges with individuals/Organizations/Universities/Trade Unions etc that would be interested in getting to know our work. Support from them is crucial for us and most welcome.
Organization: Pervolarides of Thessaloniki
Name of contact person: Filippos Polatsidis
Address: Konstantinoupoleos 83, 54644, Thessaloniki, Greece
This project presentation is licensed under the following CC License: BY-NC-ND.