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Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Abundance (Aφθονία)

If I were to find one word that characterises my life in Crete, I think it would have to be 'abundance'. We're not rich, but we're not poor either; we don't buy luxury food items, but we can always afford to try a novel food product, whether local or imported; we find going out for a meal unaffordable, but we're never hungry; our food chain often falls in the lower order, but the quality of our food is always very high. Food, accommodation, safety: we have all three to the point that we can claim that we feel comfortable.

My fabric finds during a Northern European holiday - these will be used in some way in our kitchen. 

Especially concerning food, there is plenty of it where we are. Yet these days, we are being warned that food prices are set to rise because crops in America have been destroyed due to drought, and what food is available must also be turned into biofuel (presumably to satisfy politically motivated interests).

When last in NZ, I bought this set of NZ-themed fabrics, to be used in our living room; now that its nature has changed, with the addition of the wood-fire oven, some redecorating is called for. 

I cannot imagine not having enough food to cover my family's needs. I can imagine an earthquake destroying my house and I can imagine having the power disconnected for a long time, but I really can't imagine a food shortage on this island (barring war that is, where I might have my food taken away from me by force). Not even climate change seems to have seriously affected the Greek food supply. The Mediterranean must be one of the last places to feel a food shortage, due to the area's fertility:
maria's harvestHere, until now, we have not seen such phenomena and perhaps the Mediterranean zone will be one of the last that will be subject to the consequences of climate change, due to our location and, to date, its temperate climate. In addition, the impending food crisis finds Greece, due to the economic crisis, in the process of a return to the primary sector and the intensification of agricultural holdings. Perhaps, in this sense, the combined unhappy situation of the economic crisis and the impending food crisis offers, as incongruous as it sounds, an opportunity for growth and regeneration in us.
Food and water seem to be the most important basic needs of all mankind. They are both needs that people need to secure for themselves every day. In Crete, we don't always need a lot of money to secure them either. People living on the island are now starting, very slowly, to realise that we can satisfy our basic needs in ways that others in more advanced societies are not always able to, despite their better salaries and their higher living standards.

On a weekly basis, we fill up our recycled milk and drinks bottles at a local spring. The water is guaranteed to be cool and fresh. It's not found far from our home and it's free for all to use. Although I believe that our water supply is safe, during the summer, tap water is not always safe to drink, as most resources are channelled to those with greater needs (hotels).

Maybe it's time to give thanks to this for those of us lucky enough to be living here.

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