Version 3.2_September 2016
Individual Paper: Exploring the Food Consumption Patterns of the Local Population on the Greek Island of Samothraki
A Socio-Metabolic Perspective on an Island in the Mediterranean Region
The Greek island of Samothraki was food self-sufficient up until the mid 1960s. This paper analyses, from a socio-metabolic perspective, how the changes in Mediterranean food production and consumption have influenced the island’s food consumption patterns over the past 50 years. A food consumption survey was conducted to assess the current food consumption patterns of the local population of Samothraki. The questionnaire focused on the summer season (May-October) to avoid a seasonal bias and addressed food frequency, food quantity, food sources, food choices as well as the socio-economic background of the local population. Combined with available food supply data, the results of the study indicate that the island’s food production and consumption patterns have changed greatly and the island is, speaking in socio-metabolic terms, in the middle of a transition from an agrarian to an industrial regime. During summer about 50 % of all the food consumed by locals is imported to the island, a number, which is likely to be higher during winter when agricultural production ceases. However, the findings also show that some traditional food production and consumption patterns have been preserved. About 50 % of the food consumed by locals, at least in summer, is obtained from local sources. Exporting of goat meat as well as branding for organic products would be two possible ways to reduce dependence on imported foods and market fluctuations and at the same time increase ecological sustainability as well as scarce job opportunities on the island, especially in light of the current economic crisis.
Start time: 11:30
Track: Environmentally sound economies