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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Zaferatos, Nicholas C. (Nicholas Christos)

Second Advisor

Berardi, Gigi M.

Third Advisor

Wang, Grace A.


Rural depopulation is a post-war phenomenon in Western Europe, strongly associated with agricultural abandonment to which isolated and poorer areas are most vulnerable. Such agricultural communities have remained marginalized due to a lack of resources to restore them, but also due to market and governmental forces which have encouraged industrial agriculture, thereby rewarding large-scale agricultural operations and rendering the small traditional agricultural practices nonviable because of their inability to compete. The Greek Ioanian island of Kefalonia was once home to a hillside subsistence community known as Farsa, which was emblematic of traditional agricultural practices. The effects of World War II and a devastating magnitude 7.3 earthquake in 1953 led to the mass exodus from the village and the island as a whole. Today, most villages have been restored on the island. There remain a few, including Farsa, that remain in ruins today. It is the intention of the community of Farsa, as well as the municipality of Kefalonia, to rebuild old Farsa village, under the principles of sustainable development. The purpose of this research is to identify one agricultural activity that would be an appropriate and integral part of a sustainable village, offering economic, social, and environmental benefits to the community. The social science approach of phenomenology guided this case study to gather information form the greater area of Kefalonia concerning how the population currently farms olives and produces olive oil. Interviews were used to extrapolate information on the current practices olive oil producers use, the cultural ties to olive oil, and the economics of producing olive oil. Based on the findings of the research, olive oil production in the area is deeply ingrained in the local culture and current practices are congruent with environmental sustainability. What needs to occur for olive oil production to be economically sustainable is a collaborative effort in meeting input costs, in marketing, and in distribution so that the production of olive oil creates a net gain for producers. The research explores an alternative business model that will ensure the environmental, social and economic sustainability of olive oil production in the community of Farsa. It is the proposition of this research that a sustainable system of olive oil production will lend to the greater sustainability of Farsa village, revitalizing the community, and guarding it from future marginalization.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Olive oil industry--Greece--Cephalonia Island; Sustainable agriculture--Greece--Cephalonia Island; Rural development--Greece--Cephalonia Island

Geographic Coverage

Cephalonia Island (Greece)




masters theses




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