The sustainable farming practice of herding sheep hundreds of kilometers dates back millennia. We meet the people keeping the tradition alive despite pressure from industrialised agriculture, tourism and climate change.
Eleni Tzima and her husband Nasos Tzima have herded their livestock some 150 kilometers (241 miles) between summer pastures in northwest Greece’s isolated highlands down to their winter home in the lowlands for the past 53 years.
The Tzimas family is part of a millennia-old tradition of transhumance , or the seasonal movement of animals between fixed grazing grounds. But that tradition is dying and they are some of the last still practicing this type of farming in the country.
During the summer months the couple, both in their 80s, live in a makeshift hut, using solar energy to power a radio, cellphones and lights. They’re among the oldest pastoral shepherds to take part in an annual trek, known as “diava,” in the mountainous Pindus National Park near Greece’s border with Albania.
Tzima, who says her husband’s ill health means their 2020 trek was likely their last, describes their way of life as hard but rewarding. (DW)