In October 2016 I have fallen in love with a Greek mountain, Mount Parnonas in the Peleponnese. Everybody who knows me a little is familiar with the fact that I have been in the Blue Economy and sustainable development since 2013. Now that I have met this mountain, I just feel that this mountain and deep blue sea deserve better. Together with its people, the Greek mountain deserves to be developing in a sustainable way. Mount Parnonas houses 24 villages, but most of them are deserted. The region is rather unspoiled and is part of Natura 2000, but it has large problems as well. We have never been taught how to gain value in line with nature. We immediately think big, industrial and spoil things.
The Meraki People, with Christiana Gardikioti as a driving force, have a dream to do it different. Around the themes food, fabric and health they started business activities and education on learning from nature. However, community building is not easy in a country with such financial troubles. Competition is a more logical first impulse than cooperation. But still this is what we are doing here.
In May 2017 I went back to the Greek mountain with my Blue Economy friend Ayumi Matsuzaka. We discovered the riches of the loquat tree, along with giving workshops in terra preta. Also, we planted the first mental seeds for regenerative agriculture and water management. Systemic designs came out of our pens, we talked to lots of people, at the same time explaining all the opportunities. And we had fun together and built relationships. O, how I wish for the Meraki People to start their sustainable businesses and regenerate their mountain and sea in the process!
Ayumi Matsuzaka giving workshop terra preta
The 15 opportunities of a loquat tree, a valuable asset growing in normal backyards!
And of course anyone with great ideas is welcome to be part of this process. The Meraki People (business with a heart) are big enough for all of us who have heart for Mount Parnonas and its inhabitants.