2008: A piece of degraded land of 5.6 acres, the largest part of which is sown with barley, with some islands of native aromatic plants and low forest vegetation. Two old almond trees and a young vineyard, about a quarter of an acre.
An old, half-ruined wine press completes the picture.
2008 – 2013: The vineyard, which consists of local varieties (Rhoditis, Monemvasia, Mandilaria, Malagouzia), is maintained and cared for. The first hundred trees are planted, mainly olives and a few fruit trees. A study is conducted and a permit to drill for water is applied for in Syros.
2013: We have the permit and we find water. The farm can live. Elena and Sevastianos make the planting design and begin the process of soil regeneration, by:
- We enrich the soil with organic matter and soil amendments.
- We stop ploughing and tilling, common agricultural practices in the area, and we mow the wild vegetation instead
- We add dense soil cover with straw mulch and we plant legumes.
Stavros presses on with the design and placement of operations and activities; lighting and power system.
2014: Connection to the electricity network. The water pump works and we have (excellent) water.
Pump station and reservoir are ready. Underground water and electricity networks are implemented throughout the estate.
In May we start the process of organic certification with DIO. It will take 3 years.
200 new olive trees are planted and added to the already existing 70, as well as 120 fig trees, 140 pomegranates, 30 carob trees, 20 almond trees, over 100 acacias to function as windbreak and about 4000 aromatic herbs. The vineyard is re-configured and enriched. An automatic drip irrigation system is installed.
2015: We keep focusing on soil regeneration. Following the good advice of Eleni Maloupa, we begin the first documenting of native plants present in the farm, in collaboration with Pr. Nikos Krigas from the Department of Biology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and we initiate a project with the AUTh for the complete study of the wild and native flora in the property.
We construct and organize our storage space, and we set up a windbreak for the vineyard
The first olive crop is harvested.
We extract oil for the first time in the olive press of the village. Our first crop: 200 kilos of premium extra virgin organic olive oil. The farm gets a name: we call it Kamarantho, the “flower of our village”, Kamari.
2016: Elena undertakes the management and further development of the “Kamarantho active organic farm”.
We proceed with
- Systematic care and harvesting of aromatic plants. Drying and processing in a natural way.
- Obtaining a wood chipper to have our own soil cover and composting material from the prunings of the farm.
- Systematic composting with worm farms, aerobic compost piles and bokashi. From now on nothing goes to waste.
- Composting toilets.
We harvest by hand, dry in the open air and manually process and package our aromatics for the first time. 11 species: wild native thyme and 10 cultivated ones, oregano, summer savory, rosemary, marjoram, sage, mint, peppermint, pennyroyal, lemon balm and dittany.
Our first products are distributed in the local market of Paros.
We produce olive oil for a second time. We bottle our own olive oil for the first time. Unfortunately, we bottle it near Athens, since Paros does not have a bottling facility.
We start supplying the island market.
We plan and install a greenhouse, completed in September, with an innovative automation system (data capture and remote control), to produce our own plants and seeds and to experiment with less conventional cultivations.
The restoration of the dry-stacked stone walls using traditional techniques begins.
2017: Our plans for the immediate future include:
- Increasing the variety of cultivated and endemic aromatic plants with calendula, lavender, rose geranium, chaste tree, capers and prickly pear.
- The introduction of a few chickens in a mobile unit (chicken tractor) to take advantage of the valuable services chicken provide besides laying eggs (control of harmful insects and weeds, fertilisation).
- Completing the total restoration of the dry-stacked stone walls of the farm.
- Completing the construction of a shaded kiosk with equipment to host meetings and seminars from Spring to Autumn.
- Creation of a summer vegetable garden, both for production and for demonstration purposes, using permaculture principles.