The guys from SEED ACT movie at the entrance of Peliti Land
My first trip to Peliti was in July 2013. That’s how I learned about the Peliti festival. My next goal was to visit the next edition. I met great people and had 2 amazing days at the end of April. One of these bright personalities was Elena Gogou – coordinator for the event for Athens. In this interview Elena give an answer to five interesting questions.
Where you come from?
A: I was born in Athens, but far from the city center, and my parents were both academics. I went to school and university in England, to study literature and media. After I came back to Greece I worked as a teacher, translator, and photographer. At the same time I started studying alternative healing. For 12 years I worked as an Investigator for the Greek Ombudsman (the last 7 years in the Children’s Rights Department). Now (for the last 4 years) I am working full time as a healer and flower therapist. Three years ago, with a group of friends interested in bio dynamic agriculture, we started the Halandri Urban Farm in the north of Athens. Apart from Bio dynamics, I have also become interested in Permaculture and seeds. I believe that the healing of humankind goes hand in hand with the healing of the earth.
How did you find Peliti?
A: I have known about Peliti for a very long time, but various practical and other reasons did not permit me to participate actively until recently. I first met Panagiotis at a Pan-Hellenic Eco-Festival 6 years ago, and later I was asked by a musician friend to sing with her at a Peliti event in Athens. Then I started saving seeds myself and sharing them with friends. Finally, my dream to go the Peliti Seed Exchange Festival came true last year!
What did you learn this year on the Peliti seed exchange festival?
One thing I learned about seeds this year is that they possess a personality of their own. No seed is alike, even if it belongs to the same species, even if it came from the same plant! There is great depth in the meaning of the word biodiversity.
Another thing I learned is that a seed is a work of love – not only from the point of view of the plant, but also a seed in a packet is the work of love and collaboration of many people (the people who cultivated the plant, who collected the seeds, who packaged them and labelled them, who stood for so many hours to give them to people, explaining patiently all sorts of details)
What did you enjoy mostly?
A: This year in Peliti I enjoyed interacting with the people – people I had met in past years but never had a chance to really get to know them. But this is what I enjoy most every year!… I also enjoyed the atmosphere: there is an atmosphere of joy and sharing, which I believe is what paradise is made of… The other thing that stands in my mind is the biodiversity of the region – walking along the main road you see 2-3 different species of wild orchids, fields full of wild chamomile, and the birds never stop singing even during the night.
“…atmosphere of joy and sharing…”
What’s you message to those planning to visit the festival next year?
A: To those planning to visit next year, I would say: plan to bring your own seeds to share! Even if they are few and you can only share them with a few friends!
Make time to walk around and explore the area – with reverence and respect, because it is one of the few places in Europe (perhaps the only one left) where so much biodiversity can be found.
Bring your music and your songs – a seed festival is a celebration of life: hard work goes hand in hand with singing and enjoying yourself!
The end of the festival turned into beginning of the seed caravan – a 10 days caravan trip to France. Expect more info about this trip in some of my next blog posts.
If you have more things to ask Elena, you are more than welcome to submit your questions in the comments below.