How we do it
Practices on the Farm
The design of our cultivation on Kamarantho tries to emulate the model of a natural forest ecosystem. Trees, bushes, grasses, tubers and climbing plants are cultivated together and coexist, like it occurs effortlessly in a natural forest.
Our crops do not follow the usual linear configuration in space. The different types of plants alternate spatially and have been planted taking into account the slope and spatial particularities of the terrain. By doing this we avoid the runoff of rainwater and soil erosion, and we aim for the soil to absorb as much water as possible.
The variety and alternation of the plants means larger biodiversity, greater balance and resilience, in extreme weather conditions as well as when under the attack of harmful insects and pathogens. In nature, there is more collaboration than competition, contrary to our false assumptions. In most cases, plants collaborate harmoniously, both with each other and with the uniquely rich ecosystem of the soil, and the waste of one organism is the food of some other. We try to bolster the variety and the effectiveness of these synergies, by creating synergies between plants and by enriching the soil with the microorganisms that have been lost through the decades of conventional farming.
Controling weeds is done through dense soil cover with plant residue (straw, chipped branches from pruning) and through mowing. These practices have been chosen because they contribute in avoiding water evaporating from the soil, they protect it from rain and wind erosion and they enrich it with valuable organic matter and microorganisms. The pests that manage to penetrate the soil cover layer are weakened and easier to remove.
There has been extensive planting of nitrogen-binding trees and bushes, which are also resistant to hot, dry conditions (e.g. Blue-leaved Wattle and Moon Trefoil). Aside from enriching the soil, these plants act as a windbreak for the rest of the plants, while at the same time offering shelter to birds and beneficial insects, and also food for the bees.
Polyculture, in contrast to monoculture, not only exhibits a natural adaptability, but also ensures a relative financial fortitude for the producer: In the case that one crop is affected by an illness or hit by adverse weather conditions, the farmer’s entire income is not at stake; they can mitigate the financial ramifications of the damage from their other crops.
We compost the farm’s plant residue, along with plant residue and coffee grounds from neighbouring businesses, and small amounts of manure from free range animals. We produce compost with earthworms as well as with the thermophilic process.
We collect rainwater from the roofs of our buildings and we use it for watering.
We use an automated remote-conrtrol Greenhouse Management System by Analysis Vita, to control the parameters of temperature, humidity and wind, as well as to control water usage and the related equipment (pumps, water tank) for the entire farm.
We hand – pick our herbs at the appropriate time, we dry them naturally on the farm, we process and package them without mechanical means and we distribute them in the local market.
We harvest our olives early, using the traditional harvesting methods, we collect them in ventilated crates and we press them in Kamari – the village’s olive press – on the day they are harvested, following all the appropriate modern organic methods for high quality extra virgin olive oil. Our olive oil is bottled since 2017 and is distributed in the Paros market in 250- and 750-ml bottles, with the KAMARANTHO logo.