Applications to the American Farm School near Thessaloniki trebled last year and are expected to double this year. Many young Greeks have a patch of land inherited from an elderly parent or grandparent and it seems that they are looking to at least provide themselves with food.
Historically, the farm school's applicants had been children of farmers from the surrounding countryside, but now more and more city kids are expressing an interest: a sign that the tables are turning for this formerly unpopular career.
Student Vangelis Evangelou agrees that prospects are looking up for the profession. "Young people thought that the future would be working in an office," he said, "but now they know they were wrong and they are going back to farming."
The Farm School, founded by a Christian missionary over 100 years ago, today boasts some of the most high tech facilities in the country. Agriculture declined when Greece joined the European Union several decades ago, but the sector grew by 32,000 jobs between 2008 and 2010 -- mostly filled by Greek nationals -- and the new breed of farmers will be more skilled and entrepreneurial than before.
Dr. John Henry House with his wife, Susan Adeline Beers House, founded the American Farm School in 1904, on 50 acres of barren land near Thessaloniki. The first students were boys orphaned in one of the many uprisings marking the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in Europe.
Dr. House was known as a “practical idealist,” dedicated to “educating the whole individual: the head, the hands, the heart.” Practical training in field and garden crops, vineyards and orchards, livestock and silkworm production, and in industrial skills such as carpentry, masonry and blacksmithing, equipped American Farm School graduates to succeed in farming and -- in time --to aid in the economic development of rural Greece. Modest donations of funds and equipment from a small circle of supporters in the U.S. helped the institution to survive through its early years ...
Faced with demand for higher education aimed at careers in the agriculture, food and natural resources sectors, the American Farm School established the Dimitris Perrotis College of Agricultural Studies in 1996, with a gift from Mrs. Aliki Perroti...
Labels: Experiential education
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