Xorafaki means something like “small piece of land”. The neat expression is referring to a little piece of land that almost every Greek family owns somewhere as part of their personal heritage. When Yiouli Doxanaki – at the time working as a creative manager in the theatre industry – was suddenly confronted with having to run her father’s agriculture consulting business, the company was mostly working with larger farmers, processing plants or cooperatives, which were able to pay for expensive consulting. When the crisis hit Greece, a growing number of people were forced to evaluate cultivating food themselves, no matter how little they knew about this undertaking. Yiouli and her business partner Yiorgos approached this current development by establishing Xorafaki as a new line of business, specifically targeting small to tiny endeavors, with little to no farming knowledge whatsoever. After Yiouli converted a fair share of her friends into farmers, she took the service public and it is working quite well. Again, it was digital technology that enabled this business, delivering efficient small scale consulting and there within developing a possibly huge potential for food production: regional, sustainable and self-sufficient. As a practical side effect, the customers get to experience the joys of getting in touch with their own food as well as the satisfaction of clearing their heads in the outdoors while getting their hands dirty.
The senior citizen on the first image below also told us his story when we bumped into him on the street: He worked abroad for a big airline company for most of his life, he bought himself an appartment and retired recently. The value of his appartment fell by 50% due to the crisis and his 2.000€ pension is now worth only 900€ a month, which he partly gives to his 2 sons, who both lost their jobs. However, he was still in a very good mood and we had a nice little chat before we had to move on.
A small piece of land also came into play in our next project when it was rented by Zachos Varfis of Latraac with a long-term contract. His lot in the middle of the cosmopolitan – and in some corners very gritty, in others very hip – downtown Athens neighborhood of Kerameikos just features the scarce remains of a demolished building. This is where he and three of his friends are building a skatepark meets café and green socio-cultural space type of endeavor. Zachos is a self-employed architect and passionate vert-rider and brought his friend Alex on board as a business partner. Isabel and Miyon are professional gardeners and complete the team. The 4 friends all stem from an international background and work for Latraac in their free time. They are united by the vision of creating a social hub and a green and clean hangout just a stone’s throw away from their homes. Moreover, Latraac features the first transition skatepark in the middle of Athens. Zachos used an innovative digital production method for the skate bowl, combining a comparably large amount of small parts, which were all cut according to software calculations. On the botanical side, the girls found ways to bed out very undemanding, local plants such as a fig and a pepper tree or eucalyptus, which can deal with the nutrient-poor soil and which are supposed to provide shade once people start coming to sit next to the planned tea house. Zachos picked up the word Latraac in South America; it means “La transition a commencé” – the transition has started.