Thomas Karagiorgos, teacher of alternative tourism in the “New Agriculture for a New Generation” program, wants to help people understand how outdoor sports can improve their quality of life.
“After three years, we will have 300 enthusiastic graduates of this program. People from all different backgrounds who have the same dream,” said Maria Soumelidou, teacher in the Alternative Tourism program.
“I often tell my students: In 30 years, 62% of jobs will concern specialities we can not even imagine today. Without a solid scientific background, you will not be able to succeed.”, says Serkos Haroutounian, scientific officer at AUA responsible for the “New Agriculture for a New Generation” program.
"Tourism is now the main industry in Greece, and if we are to change people’s attitudes about what Greek tourism is, we need education.", says Maria Soumelidou, teacher of Alternative Tourism at the NANG program.
“I’ve worked in the fields with my father and learned from him since I was a child,” said Dimitris Theodorakis, beneficiary of the apiculture training seminars of the “New Agriculture for a New Generation” program.
After the first seminar, Anastasia Dimitriadou showed one of the bee videos to her children and husband. “My little son was fascinated,” she said. “I think that beekeeping is something I can teach my kids, something we can all do together.”
Vasilis is currently participating in the second class of the Alternative Tourism program at the American Farm School, a part of the “New Agriculture for a New Generation” program. Father Athenagoras encouraged him to apply. And while he may be one of the oldest at Faros tou Kosmou, he’s one of the youngest in the Alternative Tourism program. “There are so many interesting people in the program: foresters, lawyers,” Vasilis said. I’ve made many new friends from the program, and I’m learning a ton from them.”
“I would like to have a stable production and be able to sell my tea at a good price,” Tasos said. “I am very thankful for all that the program has given me. I’ve learned many new things, and the teachers and my collaborators are great. I hope to continue working with them.”
The table grape groups from the “Small Farm Adoption” project at the American Farm School (AFS), a part of the “New Agriculture for a New Generation” (NANG) program, have been recognized by the EU for their outstanding achievements. They were chosen by the European Commission’s Smart Specialisation Platform as an implementation point, to show other member states how to grow grapes using smart technologies and to create a protocol for the next decade.
The project established 22 groups of practicing farmers in Thessaly and Macedonia to focus on the main crop of each area: chestnuts in Griva, table olives in Halkidiki, and rice in Chalastra. A rotating set of trainers informs the farmers about best practices in planting, weeding, fertilization, crop protection, and harvest.
MAP are quite prosperous crops for the Greek rural economy. There is great demand for MAP from pharmaceutical companies because of their various health benefits, and the Greek climate favors the production of high-quality MAP products.
"This work is like taking a child by the hand, holding it for three years, providing it with skills and knowledge, and then letting it go,” Ilias Kalfas, Project Leader “Small Farm Adoption”, American Farm School
While participating in NANG’s Alternative Tourism program at the American Farm School last year, Gerassimos and his friend and fellow Scout Stavros Papadopoulos decided to start a company called Our Way to offer alternative excursions in Chortiatis.
New Agriculture for a New Generation (NANG) welcomed 50 trainers from the American Farm School and the Agricultural University of Athens for its inaugural educational event, "Train the Trainers," held at the Pierion Musses mountain resort over the 12-14 October weekend.