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#1: Greece’s Mazi Farm | Letter from an Agro-ecological Farm
“If I started to tell you about the time that an Englishwoman, a Welshman and a Frenchman all got together to start a farm in Greece, you’d be forgiven if you thought it was the start of a joke. But in fact, that’s exactly what happened on a farm on the little known Greek island of Euboea almost exactly a year ago today where, if you come up the hillside on the outskirts of a sleepy village called Styra, you’ll find an unlikely group of people trying to farm in an even more unlikely place.”
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#2: Mimicking Natural Processes in Greece
Walking around Mazi farm, between a mix of trees and plants of all shapes and sizes, from pomegranates, to grapes, to eucalyptus, it becomes quickly apparent that this way of doing things is a far cry from the miles of monoculture crops we’ve come to associate with conventional farms. You’d be forgiven for wondering how this seemingly chaotic system came into place, but there is method in the madness! And it’s this farm design that I want to talk about here for you today.
Mazi Farm is what we would call a successional stratified agroforestry farm, rooted in the principles of ecology and inspired by syntropic agriculture, a concept pioneered by Ernst Gotch through his farm in Brazil.
Spring Update from Greece’s Mazi Farm
The last couple of months have brought a cold snap to our island. People rarely think of the Mediterranean winter, but our farm has been unrecognisable as for the first time we have seen our land covered in snow! Who would’ve thought the closest we’d get to a white Christmas would be in Greece! As well as making the place look beautiful, the cold weather has given us some welcome respite and a bit of downtime to get cracking with some planning for Spring. Unlike elsewhere, farming in Greece means that we have a near year-round growing season. This may have its benefits agriculturally, but means that it can sometimes be difficult to squeeze in that all-important planning, as well as reflecting on the ups and downs of our first year together on the farm, so we’re more than happy to take the chance when the opportunity arises!
Tash & Etienne, our dedicated team members feature in the latest french Regain Magazine.
«Mazi, en grec, signifie "ensemble", car nous pensons que ce n'est qu'ensemble avec tout type de connaissances et de personnes que nous pouvons créer un système véritablement durable et meilleur pour tous.» Sur le terrain, Tash développe un programme de contrôle et et sit les changements de la qualité et la biodiversité du sol. Quant à Étienne, il cherche les meilleurs techniques d'intégration d'une production de légumes au sein du climat méditerranéen. A travers l'agronomie et la biologie, ils tentent de comprendre au mieux les écosystèmes et prennent la nature comme alliée plutôt qu'en ennemie. Pour pallier la monoculture, il leur semble nécessaire d'associer cultures et principes de succession naturelle afin de régénérer les biotopes.
À Styra, au sud ouest de la Grèce, Dimitri s’est récemment lancé dans un projet agricole inspirant. En cultivant 5 hectares de terrain, il souhaite produire des fruits de qualité tout en respectant et restaurant les écosystèmes dégradés. Une démarche qui s’inscrit dans le mouvement de l’agriculture régénérative…
Listen to the interview below or read more here.
“New agro/eco venture Mazi Farm based on a remote island in Greece wanted an approachable and modern logo to place across merchandise, marketing and social media. The fig was a subtle recognition of the Greek context, complimenting the word ‘Mazi’, which means ‘together’. The logo needed to be able to grow with the company beyond farm enterprise, and including research and development as well as community building. “
The difference Mazi farm is attempting to make, is to develop a sustainable agricultural model which incorporates restoring ecosystems through imitating nature. They believe that we need to move away from conventional agriculture : monocultures, which decrease soil fertility and run great risk of diseases, annual tilling, which brings carbon from under ground to our atmosphere, over grazing, which does not allow natural forest areas to remain as such and the large abundance of pesticides and fertilisers : believing that nature has given us everything we need'