This series is dedicated to the small organic farmers which bring you ANTA Bio Olive oil from the island of Zakynthos.
Our first portrait is of Kostantis Mouzakis who suggested we divide the series into seasons since the activities and philosophy of olive farming changes with them.
“Why do you chose to be an organic farmer?”
Kostantis answered simply:
“Because there is no real difference between organic farming and traditional.”
In fact, the same people who tried to force pesticides on us decades ago, are the ones coming around trying to replace these chemicals or enforce limits and fines.
Konstantis’ farm is entirely self sufficient. This is a problem for people who make their living off taxing and enforcing. He self describes it as a “monastery” to the extent that they can live of the flora and fauna whose lives they enhance and protect.
He looks out at the sea as if looking back to carefree times when you brought a melon into your house and let the sweet smell overpower your home.
Konstantis is also an actor and director and has produced pieces, including one which received numerous awards at the 2017 National Theater Festival in Monemvasia.
“Theater and nature are found within each other. I see no difference.”
What he observes in his passions and tries to express is a “saintly simplicity.” (αγία απλότητα)
Because simple means true.
“Nature and art for me are the same. Perfection and harmony are found where simplicity is and masterpieces draw attention silently, something people whose identity is bound to society too often forget.”
“Noticing, concentrating, absorbing the way nature works is better than any seminar for me. In theater and cultivation.”
About theater, he observes that, “suspense of disbelief is not something an audience can achieve on their own. The actor must become a blank canvas before she can convince someone who has come to see her because of her real identity that she is someone else, and then go congratulate her real self in her dressing room.”
Zakynthos is known for its tradition of theatrical speeches or “omilies“, which like everything else, are a process of nature. Every working man brought his own discipline to communal entertainment with a miraculous and exponential result. The product is greater than the sum of its parts.
The Italian influence on the Ionian islands is evident and can be traced to the people who had means to travel to Italy during the Venetian occupation and bring back Greek selections of culture which they added to everything left behind by their captors and castle-building overlords.
Konstantis tells us about the origins in “street theater” which explain the similarities between some local works and universally recognizable tales like Snow White. Because of the free nature of these works there were many people writing the same stories without strife or “copyrights.”
His preferred brand of theater can be described as minimalist art that forces you to think rather than chewing one or two ideas and producing colorful images for plain entertainment. You might think this is hard work but the beauty and poetry of such work provides just as much, if not more of an escape from grey reality.
We are proud that purchasing this olive oil supports art which celebrates the impossibility of two same perceptions rather than trying to manipulate a rollercoaster of stimulation.