To Cut Costs, Greeks Line Up for Potatoes

Farmers sell directly to consumers at half the price of supermarkets
A resident of Peristeri, north of Athens, picks up his potatoes Photograph by Kostas Tsironis/Bloomberg

Over the course of five days in mid-March, more than 2,500 people visited a government building in Dafni to order cheap potatoes. Young couples, pensioners, and families showed officials identification proving they lived in the Athens suburb and handed over cash in return for a receipt entitling them to up to two 20-kilo sacks of spuds. On March 17 farmers arrived with three truckloads of red mesh bags filled with potatoes and dispersed 75 tons to the buyers, some of whom arrived with carts. “Greeks find themselves in a situation where we don’t have enough to survive,” Vasiliki Kladia said after placing her order. Kladia has three children and has been unemployed for four years. “There are no jobs anywhere. Wages and pensions are very low, and everyone is in debt,” she said.

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