Al Jazeera, the respected Arab news outlet, reports:
Lesbos, Greece - Odysseas Elytis, the Greek Nobel laureate and poet, once wrote: "If you disintegrate Greece, in the end you'll see that what you have left is an olive tree, a vineyard, and a ship. Which means: with these you can rebuild it."
Having endured eight years of a deepening economic crisis, thousands of young Greeks are taking heed of Elytis' words by leaving the cities to work on the land.But why not?
A lot of Greeks are still close to their farming roots. Agriculture as the dominant industry was a feature of Greece up until well after World War Two. With a failing economy, generous unemployment and social benefits, heck, why not give it a try. Apparently thousands feel that way.
For many young Greeks who have the option, returning to their family farms once they've completed their studies, has become their most viable chance for employment.
"Growing up, I always thought that farming would be an extra income like it has been for my parents," says Maria Kalaboka, 27, who this month earns her master’s degree in law in Thessaloniki.
"But seeing the unemployment that exists in the city, I decided to make our family business my full-time job. If you're unemployed in the city, you don't have any options," Maria says. She moved home this month to start working full-time on her family's olive grove.
Speaking in her family's olive mill near the village of Plomari in Lesbos, Maria paints a bleak picture of how life in Thessaloniki means homelessness, unemployment, and depression: "Here, you won't go hungry. At least you'll be able to grow your own food."
An option that, for the most part, doesn't exist for Americans.