In Fall of 1383 Turkish troops of Evrenos Gazis have just arrived at the fort, to realize its commander was a woman named ‘’Maroulia’’. Not accidentally at all, as it seems that at the time of mobilization, men habitats of the area have gone to Thessaloniki, which resulted in women taking on their hands the defense of the castle against the Turkish balance. Maroulia, the widow of the previous commander, organized the defense and fought, herself heroically. Women’s resistance held out for many months before the castle was at last surrendered at the Turkish. Since then, the castle was named Avret Hisar, which means «Castle of the Women/Wives». It was so powerful that only one woman guard was enough for its defense- besides, this is one probable version of how its name was given.
Sylvia, Antigone, Koula, Labrini, Kristallia and Christine are beef farmers for years. They do business at women’s castle, 15 kilometers away from Kilkis, which translates to a rural area, without the facilities of the city. They belong to stock-farming families so they are involved in stock-farming since forever. Like many thousands of small producers in Greece, they produce with consistency, labor and honesty, giving their product in big firms, which make use of it commercially for their account. Beyond the friendly relationships which have been developed between them, each of them was doing business by herself, following buyer’s instructions who were taking their milk.
Sylvia’s son, Alexandros, was currently writing his thesis for the American Agricultural University about milk bottling. He was visiting his mother’s unit when he realized that the milk that was being produced had exceptional quality.
-The milk which we produce at university is bottled and sold by us for a really good price at the market. It’s a best-seller. Why don’t you bottle and sell it by yourself, mom? I could also help.
Beyond the beautiful natural environment which they were living in, all the other conditions could not be considered favorable for one business development. Sylvia knew the difficulties of such an attempt: capitals, quantity, organization, officialism… but she did not reject it. She realized right away that she could not manage something like that all by herself. Soon she had a meeting with the firm’s manager, who purchased their milk and shared her idea. The response was positive. The firm could bottle and deliver Silvia’s milk with her own brand. Sylvia immediately discussed her idea with the other five stock-farmers, who were friends with. The idea’s fermentation lasted only a few months and was found out that the attempt needed marketing’s support and someone who would be dealing with the business part. Those kinds of people were found once again from the six women’s friendly milieu. Erasmia and Despina adopted the idea and right from the start and were added to the group of eight women. Which was the magical moment when they decided to cooperate and create something outstanding? Maybe after all, there was not just one moment like that, but a total of moments and also initiative which favors the actualization of such notable collaborations.
The eight women produce tasty milk, of a high quality compairing with the industrial one. They surpass basic rules that were needed from the buyer and which they already followed. It is a much richer milk, flavor and nutritious-wise with the least interference possible. This is achieved with their common and co-ordinated action, their technical know-how and experience, but also with respect to nature and cows. An outstanding relationship with animals has been created witch roots from food to their whole living inside the farm. The production processes, storing and delivery that they have, ensure the attainment of an excellent result.
Today the women’s castle, another female team resists at the enemy of crisis to defend the land and the quality of their products.
Let’s not fool ourselves. Brave ideas and will are traits that many people have today in Greece. Implementation of these ideas requires technical know-how, faith and risk. Indeed, successful ideas are a total of all of the above, but they are the also outcome of a harmonic and efficient cooperation. Today is not an era when we should wait for the solution to be found from someone else.
The solution comes from us, when we want it, when we co-operate.
The story was developed in collaboration with the CHARACTERS team