Collaboration and Solidarity: Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora in Pelion | 2018

The Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora in Pelion, as an organized form of social and solidarity cooperative, has solid foundations based on the principles of co-operatives and the solidarity of its members. Since its establishment in 1916, its main aim has been to meet shared economic, social and cultural needs through a jointly-owned and democratically managed enterprise. Over the course of 101 years of operation, it has evolved into a socially and economically oriented movement, aiming primarily at the relief of farmers and at community cohesion, originally in the Zagora region, later on including the neighbouring villages of Pouri and Makryrrachi. The manual and specific manner of fruit and nut cultivation on Mount Pelion, taking into consideration all difficulties (mountainous relief, harsh weather conditions, problematic irrigation networks) and the past tradition of silk guilds and filament processing in the area, with its famous Zagora ships, led the region’s inhabitants to develop a strong and solid collectivity, primarily to ensure their survival and secondly to avoid the exploitation of traders and intermediaries.

It was inscribed on the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2018.



1. Brief Presentation of the  Intangible Cultural Heritage Element

a. The name under which the element is identified by its bearers: Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora in Pelion

b. Other name(s): 
Cooperative for Sales of Zagora Agricultural Products (previous name from 1916 to 1985), ZAGORIN (label with which The Cooperative of Zagora has become known all over Greece since 1985), Cooperative of Zagora (brief name).

c. Brief description
The Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora in Pelion, as an organized form of social and solidarity cooperative, has solid foundations based on  the principles of  co-operatives and the solidarity of its members. Since its establishment in 1916, its main aim has been to meet shared economic, social and cultural needs through a jointly-owned and democratically managed enterprise. Over the course of 101 years of operation, it has evolved into a socially and economically oriented movement, aiming primarily at the relief of farmers and at community cohesion, originally in the Zagora region, later on including the neighbouring villages of Pouri and Makryrrachi. The manual and specific manner of fruit and nut cultivation on Mount Pelion, taking into consideration all difficulties (mountainous relief, harsh weather conditions, problematic irrigation networks) and the past tradition of silk guilds and filament processing in the area, with its famous Zagora ships, led the region’s inhabitants to develop a strong and solid collectivity, primarily to ensure their survival and secondly to avoid the exploitation of traders and intermediaries.

d. ICH Domain:

√  oral traditions and expressions

√  social practices – rituals – festive celebrations

√  knowledge and practices relating to nature and the universe

√  farming tradition and cultivations


e. Area in which the element can be located:

Zagora, Pouri, Makryrrachi (Municipality of Zagora – Mouresi).


f. Key words

Zagora Agricultural Cooperative, ZAGORIN, Cooperative, apple cultivation, collaboration, fyriki apples of Pelion, golden delicious apples, P.D.O. (Protected Designation of Origin) products, Zagora, Pelion, mountain apples.

2. Identity of the bearer of the ICH element

a. Who the bearer of the element is:

The Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora in Pelion, as a cooperative organization, consists of its members (735 members in 2017), male and female business partners, owners of a cooperative share. It is managed by the Board of Directors (seven members), the Supervisory Board (three Members), whereas its governing body is the General Assembly. Permanent and seasonal staff are employed, as well as external collaborators. The  members of the cooperative, men and women, owners of cooperative shares, are, for the greater part, from Zagora in Pelion, while over the last few years, inhabitants of Makryrrahi and Pouri have been registered with the cooperative as full members. 95% of the cultivators-farmers of Zagora are registered members of the Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora. Overall, the population of Zagora village, constitutes a single and compact agricultural community, whose course at an economic, social and cultural level is interwoven with the organization of the Cooperative.

Gradually, the same is occurring with the villages of Pouri and Makryrrahi, which are being integrated into the Zagora organization, either as full members, or as groups of producers. Anyhow, the unification of the villages of Zagora, Makryrrahi and Pouri, according to the Kapodistrias plan (Administrative Unification of Municipalities and Communities, Law 3852/2010), led to the unification of the villages of Zagora, Pouri, Makryrrahi, Anilion, Kissos, Agios Dimitrios, Tsagarada, Mouresi, Ksourichti forming the Municipality of Zagora-Mouresi,  Progressively, the other villages cultivating fruit, apples in particular, will gradually join the organization, proving in practice that the Civic Awareness created in a broader geographical area enhances agricultural-cooperative unity, as well as awareness. Consequently, the cooperative culture of Zagora is gradually spreading all over Eastern Pelion, proving that the cooperative idea, when supported by solid foundations, may integrate areas with the same characteristics (economic-social-cultural) while, at the same time, respecting the individual characteristics of each region and village.

b. Headquarters / location

 Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora

Head office: Zagora – Post Code 37001

Offices: Tel.: 24260-22450, Fax.: 24260-22950



Sorting Station

Tel.: 24260-22685, Fax.: 24260-22805



Athens: Central Vegetable Market Α15 – Α17

Tel. & Fax.:. 210-4815963

Thessaloniki  Central Vegetable Market A64-65 

Tel.: 2310-763223, Fax: 2310-773021


c. Further information concerning the element

Person(s) in charge

Name:  Dionysis Valassas

Capacity: General Manager

Zagora – Post Code 37001

Tel.: 24260-22450, Fax,: 24260-22950



3. Detailed Description of the ICH element, as it is today

The Rural Cooperative of Zagora was founded on 27 October 1916 by 119 producers from Zagora, and its members, today, are active year-round in agricultural manual labour. The concepts of cooperativeness, solidarity, economic and social growth are inherent in the relations of the Cooperative with the inhabitants, while its members jointly share cultural experiences (apple festival, festivals (panigyria), cultural events), also participating in common expressions of folk religiosity / worship (e.g. the festival of Saint Tryfonas, the Cooperative’s patron saint).

The Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora in Pelion consists of members who are mainly inhabitants of the Municipal District of Zagora-Mouresi, whereas in recent years, members from the neighbouring villages of Pouri and Makryrrachi (Municipal Unit of Zagora) have also registered collectively. At times, there have also been collaborations with producers from the villages of Anilion, Xourichti and Kissos (Municipal Unit of Mouresi).  The total population of the Municipal Community of Zagora is 2,582 inhabitants, the population of Makryrrachi is 602 persona and that of Pouri is 584 inhabitants. The total population of the Municipal Unit of Zagora is 3,829 inhabitants, occupying an area of 96.1, at an altitude of 458 metres. Today, there are 735 members of the Cooperative (men and women partners’ shares). Respectively, the Municipal Unit of Mouresi has 2,690 inhabitants, occupying an area of about 53.8 sq. km. Overall, the Muncipality of Zagora has 5,809 inhabitants and occupies an area of 150.54 sq. km, according to the 2011 census.

The Municipal Department of Zagora, from which the majority of Zagora Agricultural Cooperative members originate, consists of the neighbourhoods of St. George (Ai Giorgis), Metamorphosis tou Sotiros (Sotira – Transfiguration of Christ), Agia Kyriaki (Pazari), Agia Paraskevi (Perachora). However, several apple orchards of Zagorian owners can also be found in the Skalia area (neighbouring with Makrirrachi village), and the site of Panagia  (adjacent to  the Metamorfosi tou Sotiros neighbourhood (Sotira). There are also several orchards in the Panagitsa area and along the road to Horefto (the port of Zagora) and in rural areas (sites of Syrta, Profitis Ilias, Kotronaki) at an altitude above 1,000 m.  At the villages of Pouri and Makryrrachi, we come across a region where apple orchards are just outside the village and frequently in rural areas.


Map 1.2:  Municipal Department of Zagora and Municipal Unit of Zagora (1), Municipal Unit of Mouresi (2)




Map 3:  The Municipality of Zagora-Mouresi


The Cooperative’s members strive towards a common purpose, which is the longevity of the orgnization, its financial self-sufficiency, the successful financial statements, and the solidarity amongst members (e.g. in cases of health issues, disasters, etc.). Besides working on their land, the members of the Cooperative also work in rotation, year round, to meet the needs of the organization at its packaging-refrigeration plant (fruit selection crew). At the same time, young members from the region are trained in programmes, workshops and educational trips aimed at improving apple-tree cultivation. Zagora Cooperative offers its members products and services, such as an agricultural supply shop, a phyto-pharmacy, supply warehouse (fertilizers, seeds, saplings, etc), in addition to goods for everyday use (supermarket).  It also contributes towards the cultural development of the region (support of cultural associations, events, publications) and supoports the region’s schools. With the Municipality of Zagora-Mouresi, they jointly form a pillar of economic and social stability in the region.

The members of the organization, both men and women, aged 20 to 80, are from Zagora, Makryrrachi and Pouri. All members have the right to vote and stand for election to the organization’s Board of Directors and the Supervisory Board. In 2017 membership to the Zagora Cooperative reached the record number of 735 members, following the registration of partners from Makryrrachi and Pouri.

As a cooperative and social solidarity model, the Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora falls within a broader cultural, social and economic framework, primarily connected to the culture of agricultural production (agricultural tradition and cultivation, which, to the present day, in principle, remains unchanged, as far as methods of cultivation and harvesting are concerned), as well as to social practices, such as “loaned labour”, volunteering for agricultural projects, cooperation between families, friends and groups of companions for agricultural labour, the transfer of know-how from father to son and grandson (pruning, thinning and other cultivation techniques}.  It is also connected, not only to oral traditions and expressions (local dialect, festivals (panigyria), celebrations, religious traditions such as litanies, wakes, patron Saint Tryfonas, Good Friday epitaph litany outside the Cooperative’s offices), but also to knowledge concerning environmental and land protection (felling methods, preservation and cleaning of streams, development and water abstraction of water supply – irrigation sources, planting of trees in landslide areas, careful handling of spraying with mild pesticides), in addition to oral testimonies and the preservation of the community collective memory (historical archives of the organization in digital and printed form, archive of oral testimonies). Finally, it should be noted that the cooperative of Zagora, although operating in an inaccessible mountainous region, manages to retain its local population, following the tradition of past generations, by producing high-quality fruit, using approximately the same means and techniques.


4. Site / facilities and equipment connected to the practice of the ICH element

The purely productive and agricultural activities of the Cooperative are carried out on the procuders’ estates which are scattered in different areas (lowlands, semi-mountainous, highlands). Driving from Horefto (port of Zagora) to Zagora, after the olive groves, we come across apple orchards, even in very rough mountainous areas, where the altitude imparts a different flavour to  the Zagora apple. In Zagora and other areas nearby, land parcels are small and bear no comparison to land parcels in the plains. An average farmer in Zagora may own 1-4 acres, which, in many cases, might be scattered over different areas. The orchards formed in mountainous areas were frequently created through  the clearing of chestnut trees under particularly difficult conditions for the land-forming of sloping ground. Millions of stones had to be stacked so as to form terraces.

Ploughing of fields was initially done with hoes and forks(«tsapia kai thkellia» – agricultural tools) and pairs of oxen. Later on, following the introduction of machinery, they were replaced by rotary hoes and other machines. Nowadays, the cultivation  of red apples, which is the basic production, is achieved in orchards under extremely difficult conditions by manual labour. Machines mainly play a role in transportation (pick-up trucks have replaced mules as a means of transportation), in tillage and ploughing with milling machines and cutting of grass, where grass cutting machines are used instead of scythes or “hosia”  (a tool). All other jobs are performed manually by the local farmers. Due to the particular formation of the terrain, farming jobs are carried out using traditional methods, with few additions of machinery,  and manual labour (vehicles, spraying machines, grass cutting and ploughing). A list of jobs performed each season can be found in Appendix 1.

The privately owned facilities of the Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora, were first established twenty-one years after the organization’s founding in 1916. More specifically, the Cooperative’s first building was built in Horefto in 1937, not far from the beach. Originally, they were stone-built warehouses, accessible to local caique boats, which could then be loaded with goods for  transportation to the islands of the Aegean, Kavala, Thessaloniki and other markets. These stone warehouses also operated as  bases and server centres for the potato trade that flourished in Zagora until 1945. The Cooperative’s offices were also housed in these buildings for several years, until new facilities were built in Zagora. These ‘emblematic’ buildings, also associated with battles during the civil war, were refurbished in the early 1980s and tourist facilities were established (restaurant, café, bar, supermarket). After a period of operation by the organization, they were leased to individuals on an annual basis.

The organization’s most important facilities, are the installations where the Refrigerators and Sorting, Grading and Packing Plant are located, at the 4th km on the Zagora-Horefto Road. The first section was built in 1970-71 and extensions were constructed in the 1980s. Later, after the ‘90s, the facilities and equipment were upgraded, with controlled-atmosphere refrigeration, sorting and modern packaging station. Equipment is continuously upgraded through the purchase of labelling and packaging machines. In this area of the organization’s plant, members collect, store, select and package produce, according to marketplace needs, which is then loaded onto lorries for distribution.

For decades, the Cooperative’s headquarters have been in Zagora. Originally, the Petritis building, in the neo-classical architectural style, was used, and since the 1950s, the present building, known as the “Filoxeneia” Hotel, a property of Pateinaris, is in use. Following the purchase of a neighbouring plot of land and the construction of extensions to the building, a warehouse was constructed, where the Cooperative’s plant protection centre operates today. On the ground floor of the original building, in the 1980s, the first supermarket in East Pelion was opened, which is still in operation.

Furthermore, the Cooperative owns a building in Pouri, which is leased to meet the needs of the local Cooperative, while part of the building is leased to private companies in Zagora. It also owns a number of plots of land in Zagora.

For sales of products in the Greek market, it has rented outlets in the Athens Central Fruit and Vegetable Market and, since early 1970, in the Thessaloniki Central Fruit and Vegetable Market.

5. Products and, in general, physical items resulting as an outcome of the  practice of the ICH element

The greatest volume of labour related to the production, harvesting and trade of fruits of the Zagora Agricultural Cooperative revolves around the Starking Delicious red apple variety of Zagora, which, together with the firiki apple variety of Pelion, are also  P.D.O.s (products of designated origin). In 2016, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary from the founding of the organization,  a new product was launched, a syrup (petimezi) made from the Pelion Firiki apple variety, P.D.O., in a glass jar, produced by the members of the Women’s Agritourist Cooperative of Zagora. This new by-product of apple processing is an addition to the range of products that have been traded by the Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora from 1916 to the present day. Of the produce listed below in alphabetical order, some are produced in very small quantities, others in larger quantities, while others show a long-term upward trending production scope.

Goods produced and traded to date, in alphabetical order:

  • Apples: Firiki of Pelion variety, Manies, Markeika, Politika, Skioupia (local varieties), Belfort, Wine, Imperial, Reinettes du Canada, Starking Delicious, Golden Delicious, Royal Gala, Fuji, Jonagold
  • Apple syrup (petimezi) from the firiki apple variety of Pelion
  • Apricots
  • Cherries: Pelion Strawberry Cherries, Black
  • Chestnuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Kiwis
  • Olives: Green, black
  • Peaches
  • Pears: Krystallia, Kontoules (local varieties), Coscia, Abate Fetel
  • Persimmons (Lotus)
  • Plums: Greengage plums, Mirabelle plums
  • Pomegranates
  • Potatoes
  • Prunes
  • Quince
  • Seed potatoes
  • Sour cherries
  • Walnuts

6. Historical facts relating to the ICH element

The Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora in Pelion was founded in 1916 with the purpose of harvesting, processing and trading of fruits to the advantage of producers, at the same time providing social services and benefits to its members.

Following the founding of the Agricultural Cooperative, Zagora gradually progresses from the cultivation of potatoes (first cultivation) to the intensive cultivation of apples, at first with some old varieties of apple (Wine, Reinette du Canada, Skioupia varieties), in combination, later on, with the Zagora Firiki variety apple. With the arrival and intensive cultivation of apples, in particular the Delicious variety (1960), the agricultural production of Zagora takes off, establishing Zagora apples (ZAGORIN) internationally. In particular, the cooperative tradition which was developed in Zagora following the founding of the “Cooperative for Sales of Agricultural Products of Zagora” in 1916, was connected with the uninterrupted presence of the organization for one hundred years.   

Of course, over these 101 years, not everything was rosy, as the Cooperative went through various phases of both growth and decline. The most recent phase of growth and prosperity for the Cooperative, essentially began in the ‘60s, when the cultivation of Starking Delicious apples was developed, promoted by a dynamic nucleus of 48 farmers who embarked on the reorganization of the Cooperative, which was on the verge of bankruptcy.  These 48 farmers, with their progressive ideas, managed to acquire their own outlet at the Rentis fruit and vegetable market in 1965 and purchased the first modern lorry. With the imposition of the 1967 dictatorship in 1967, there was a compulsory change of the Board of Directors. Nevertheless, the newly appointed Board did not cease the work of the previous administration, but managed during its mandate, in 1971, to create the first core of  today’s Refrigerators.

Once the country joined the E.U., Zagora made full use of existing Community programmes. In the 1980s, the main bulk of infrastructure was constructed, while 1996 was a landmark year, as the Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora achieved Protected Designation of Origin and every single apple bore the “Zagorin” label, which branded the product and made it recognizable by the consumer. In the 2000s, emphasis was placed on the primary sector. The problems of small-sized fruits and aging of apple trees had already arisen. Within three years, the farmers of Zagora managed to adopt the  integrated production system. The products have acquired certifications for safety and for environmentally-friendly production methods.

At the same time, planting was revolutionized and many orchards were reorganized following new, contemporary planting methods; today the Zagora area is going through a new phase, awaiting the outcomes of the new strategy. The Cooperative’s goal for the future is to develop processed apple products.

7. The importance of the element today

a. What is the importance of the element for the members of the community / its bearers today?

The existence of the Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora in Pelion, as a prototype of cooperativeness, solidarity and a timeless model of economic and social growth in the broader area of Zagora and East Pelion, is of great importance. This is made evident by the fact that the region’s inhabitants, of all ages, realize the importance of the organization, as they have been raised since childhood with the concepts of family, companions, friends and relatives who, together, fight and labour daily to produce, harvest and trade their products. The phrase «strength in numbers», isn’t just a phrase that simply bears an edifying message for the region’s inhabitants; rather, it is a living reality.  Anyway, the difficulties arising in the cooperative organization of Zagora over these 100 years of uninterrupted operation, taught life lessons to the region’s business partners when they were faced with the threatening interests of agents, middlemen and tradesmen. On the one hand, the inhabitants’ needs for survival under difficult conditions, cut off from urban centres, the distribution networks and markets and, on the other hand, the long tradition of Zagora silk guilds from the 17th to the 18th century, and other cultivations (vines and potato), gradually assisted the inhabitants in maturing and led them to realize the importance of cooperative management.

b. What is the importance of the element for Greek society today?

The Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora in Pelion is a model of cooperative management and solidarity. It is no coincidence that it was named a «pilot cooperative» by the Greek government in 1983, nor that it survived wars, dictatorships, civil war, financial crises and so many other events that have left their marks on Greece over the past 100 years. The viability of the Zagora Cooperative has been achieved through prudent management, free of debts and third party liabilities, contributing to the country’s Gross Domestic Product not only through exports to 17 countries worldwide, but also through the jobs it has managed to retain all these years. It is also of great importance that it has managed to transmit and offer knowhow and information to many cooperatives and unions in Greece, in many cases representing Greece in European Union collective unions and organizations (EUROFRU, and others). However, the contribution of the Zagora Cooperative is also important at the level of cultivation, as it has managed to combine history with the future, and traditional with modern cultivation methods. Its contribution to the preservation of the social value of the cooperative idea is also important, as it has protected the ideology of the cooperative movement, particularly when it was being criticized in many regions of Greece, mainly due to mismanagement issues.

c. Did the community participate in the preparation for the registration of the element to the National Index of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and how?

The community participated actively in the preservation of the cooperative’s historical memory, and more specifically in the development of the Historical Digital Archives of the Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora, by making available photographs, documents, oral testimonies, photographed items, printed matter, etc. The material on which the submission of the file for inclusion of the Zagora Cooperative in Pelion in the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Greece was sourced from this digital tank of collective memory documentation.

8. Preservation / promotion of the element

a. How is the element transmitted to younger generations today?

The principles of cooperative community and solidarity have been preserved to the present day as the “apple of the eye” of older generations. These have now been handed down to the four younger generations. A large percentage of the young people of Zagora, Pouri and Makryrrachi remain in the region and become the new cultivators. In many cases, even after their tertiary education is completed, they return to the region and are employed as full-time staff in the organization, as external associates, as seasonal staff, or as innovative young farmers. The majority of young people, however, are trained in cultivation from a young age, since family and apple cultivation have always been, and still are, inextricably linked. From childhood, they participate in all stages of production (pruning, gathering and burning of branches, spraying, root cropping, thinning, grass cutting, harvesting, transportation of produce to the organization’s refrigerators and finally transportation of empty crates for reuse the following year), fully participating in their parents’ efforts and labour.

At the same time, the compulsory delivery of crops to the Cooperative over many years, has assisted in the establishment of an atmosphere of trust, equality, cooperation and common mission of the community. Furthermore, the large number of working hands required for the cultivation of the apple tree in the broader Zagora region, where working conditions are extremely harsh and specialized, have rendered young people an indispensable link in the cultivation process. Young people are raised in an atmosphere of companionship and cooperation in the workplace (family groups, producers’ groups, groups of relatives, groups of family friends), experiencing the cooperative idea as an integral element of their lives and of community values and ethos.

Furthermore, the successful track record of the Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora in connection to the financial statements at the end of each fiscal period, in comparison with the respective statements of individual producers in the region, who are targeted at traders, but also in comparison with other regions, have established an atmosphere of trust towards the cooperative organization and the community in general (village, Municipality of Zagora-Mouresi). As a result, young people have a feeling of job security, which is of primary importance in periods of economic crisis.

In addition, the long tradition in the region’s agricultural and cultural associations is maintained, with young people undertaking positions of responsibility in the respective Boards of Directors, which frequently act as a point of entry for their participation, to the organization’s Board of Directors later on (today, quite a number of young farmers, both men and women, participate in the organization’s Board of Directors). Furthermore, with the participation of the region’s youth in European Union programmes, such as that of «Young Farmers», and through taking advantage of relevant financial aid, many young people have started new crops and have created new apple orchards (cultivation of ‘palmettes’ – a new way of planting and cultivation management), integrated management producers’ groups, integrated irrigation circuits, etc.

The apprenticeship of the region’s young people in the production process and agricultural land management is strengthened from time to time through workshops, seminars, educational programmes and several educational trips (e.g. to Italy), where they observe contemporary forms of cultivation and farm management at close quarters. The concept of cooperation, however, is systematically forged in the organization’s General Assembly, where the producers’ oppositions and objections are intense and time-consuming. That is where the young members will realize for the first time what it means for one to manage the fate of a community and, in particular, the concept of “cooperative money”. The expression «cooperative money» indicates the great responsibility undertaken by each single member of the organization participating in Management.  It has always been the case, when managing money belonging to a local community, whose overall fate depended on the Cooperative’s course, that one had to be extremely careful. There is a typical description, found in one of the organization’s manuscripts, concerning a partner dispute  regarding the organization’s financial management. More specifically, the manuscript on the financial management of the Cooperative characteristically mentions: “… and in particular, the mismanagement of the cooperative estate of this sacred and holy cooperative money, since it originates from deprivation, even of the daily bread, of many of our partners and from the sweat of all us farmers and landowners…”

Furthermore, in the places where the region’s young people gather, the cultivation methods and the organization’s management procedures are frequently the object of discussion and intense debate. This political and social process is another type of apprenticeship for the region’s young people.    

b. Measures taken (at a local, regional or broader scale), in the past or implemented currently, for the preservation / promotion of the element

The older generations have ensured passing down to younger ones the measures for the preservation and promotion of the particular methods for cultivating apples and other fruits (e.g. chestnuts) in the region.  It is precisely these elements for preservation and promotion, not only of the particular method of cultivation under difficult conditions, but also of the idea of cooperation, that have been preserved by older generations and transferred to the next. The younger generations follow these principles as a core nucleus, without this meaning there are no changes, modifications or violations.

      The basic preservation elements that have been implemented and still apply today are:

  • compulsory handing in of production, under strict measures (deletion of members if this term is violated)
  • rules of procedure for staff
  • cultivation regulation and quality specifications
  • specification of crop areas by variety
  • provision of grafted and certified new saplings
  • quality control during cultivation and harvesting
  • integrated cultivation programme (mild pesticides)
  • indirect benefits to partners ( special prices from the phyto-pharmacy, supermarket, farming equipment)
  • social policy (financial support of institutions in the region)
  • solidarity policy (interest-free loan in cases of health issues, studies, emergencies)
  • participation in social bodies (representation of members of B.o.D. and other members in organizations and other bodies)
  • coordination and participation in agricultural mobilizations and claims
  • benefits to partners on educational matters (seminars, workshops, educational trips)


The main elements for the promotion of the cooperative idea, that have been implemented until today by the Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora, are:

  • establishment of regular and extraordinary General Assemblies, besides the mandatory ones
  • updates and regular communication through written messages (sms) on social matters and cultivation issues
  • promotion of products, the particular cultivation method and the cooperative idea on radio and television networks, social media and the press
  • participation in conferences, workshops, presentations to Universities / Technical Colleges on the subject of good cooperative practices
  • production of digital and printed publlications (e.g. a children’s publication on the cooperative principles)
  • participation in educational programmes and collaboration networks
  • participation in developmental municipal companies and committees
  • contribution towards raising the cultural level of local residents (apple festival, activities and participation in cultural events, publications)

c. Proposed measures for preservation / promotion, to be implemented in the future (at a local, regional or broader scale)

The measures for preservation and promotion that are already being designed and proposed by the Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora for future implementation regarding cooperative unity and agricultural production are:

  • the creation of a historical digital archive, a project that is already in progress
  • publications (a two-volume opus and a documentary on the organization’s history, a project already in progress)
  • plans for a Museum of Agricultural Cultivation in Pelion and a Museum of the Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora, to celebrate 101 years of continuous operation (an action under discussion)
  • research and discussion regarding the integration of other productive villages or producers’ groups to the organization (an action under discussion)
  • the development of experiential educational programmes (proposals for the future)
  • participation with traditional products in delivery and nutrition networks
  • Growth of production and distribution network for the traditional apple syrup product (petimezi) made from P.D.O. Pelion firiki apple (action in progress)
  • development of new traditional apple products (proposals for the future)


9. Basic Bibliography

Καπανιάρης, Α., Τσούκας, Ν. (2015). Ήρθαν τα Καράβια τα Ζαγοριανά, Όψεις και μνήμες της ναυτιλίας και του εμπορίου στο Ανατολικό Πήλιο (1600-1960) – ΚΕΡΑΜΙΔΙ (ΚΑΜΑΡΙ) – Π. ΜΙΤΖΕΛΑ – ΠΟΥΡΙ – ΖΑΓΟΡΑ (ΧΟΡΕΥΤΟ) – ΝΤΑΜΟΥΧΑΡΗ – ΑΗ ΓΙΑΝΝΗΣ [προφορικές μαρτυρίες, καταγραφές, εικαστικές αποτυπώσεις, φωτογραφίες και τεκμήρια], Βόλος: Εκδοτική Δημητριάδος. [Kapaniaris, A., Tsoukas, N. Irthan ta Karavia ta Zagoriana, Opseis kai mnimes ths naftilias kai tou emporiou sto Anatoliko Pelio (1600-1960) / The Ships from Zagora have arrived, Views and memories of shipping and trade in Eastern Pelion (1600-1960)]

Καπανιάρης, Α., Βαλασσάς, Δ. (2016). 100 χρόνια συνεταιριστικής παράδοσης και  αγώνα: Αγροτικός Συνεταιρισμός Ζαγοράς Πηλίου (ημερολόγιο), Βόλος: Εκδόσεις Καπανιάρης, Α., Βαλασσάς, Δ. (2016). 100 χρόνια συνεταιριστικής παράδοσης και Αγροτικός Συνεταιρισμός Ζαγοράς Πηλίου. [Kapaniaris, A., Valassas, D. Ekato chronia synetairistikis paradosis kai agona: Agrotikos Synetairismos Zagoras Piliou (imerologio) /100 Years of cooperative tradition and endeavour: Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora in Pilion (calendar)]

Σκιτσογραφώντας τον Παπαδιαμάντη, Το μοιρολόγι της φώκιας (2016). Αγροτικός Συνεταιρισμός Ζαγοράς: Βόλος.  [Skitsografontas ton Papadiamanti, To moirologi tiw fokias / Sketching Papadiamantis, the seal’s lament (2016)]

Ο πρώτος παιδικός συνεταιρισμός! – Αναζητώντας τις ιδέες και της αξίες του συνεταιριστικού πνεύματος (2016). Αγροτικός Συνεταιρισμός Ζαγοράς: Βόλος, ISBN: 978-618-82374-1-4. [O protos paidikos synetairismos! – Anazitontas tis idees kai tis aksies tou synetairistikou pneumatos / The first children’s cooperative  – In search of the ideas and values of the cooperative spirit (2016)]

Καπανιάρης, Α., Βαλασσάς, Δ. (2017), Αγροτικός Συνεταιρισμός Ζαγοράς, 100 χρόνια συνεταιριστικής παράδοσης και αγώνα, Η ιστορία, οι συνεταιριστικές αξίες και ο πολιτισμός της αγροτικής παραγωγής, Τόμος Α’. Βόλος: Εκδόσεις Αγροτικός Συνεταιρισμός Ζαγοράς Πηλίου [ Kapaniaris, A., Valassas, D. Agrotikos Synetairismos Zagoras, 100 chronia synetairistikis paradosis kai agona, I istoria, oi synetairistikes aksies kai o politismos tis agrotikis paragogis, Tomos A / Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora, 100 years of cooperative tradition and endeavour, The history, the cooperative values and culture of agricultural production, Vol. I]

Καπανιάρης, Α., Βαλασσάς, Δ. (2017), Αγροτικός Συνεταιρισμός Ζαγοράς, 100 χρόνια συνεταιριστικής παράδοσης και αγώνα, Η ιστορία, οι συνεταιριστικές αξίες και ο πολιτισμός της αγροτικής παραγωγής, Τόμος B’. Βόλος: Εκδόσεις Αγροτικός Συνεταιρισμός Ζαγοράς Πηλίου.  [ Kapaniaris, A., Valassas, D. Agrotikos Synetairismos Zagoras, 100 chronia synetairistikis paradosis kai agona, I istoria, oi synetairistikes aksies kai o politismos tis agrotikis paragogis, Tomos A / Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora, 100 years of cooperative tradition and endeavour, The history, the cooperative values and culture of agricultural production, Vol. II]

Κορδάτος, Ι. (1960), Ιστορία της Επαρχίας Βόλου και Αγιάς. Αθήνα: 20ος αιώνας. [Kordatos, I. Istoria tis Eparchias Volou kai Agias / The history of the province of Volos and Agia]

Μπωζούρ, Φ. (1974), Πίνακας του Εμπορίου της Ελλάδος στην Τουρκοκρατία (1787-1797), Παρίσι έτος VII (1800), Εισαγωγή, σχολιασμός: Τάσος Βουρνάς, Αθήνα: Συλλογή – Αφοί Τολίδη (Επανέκδοση), σ. 17, 21, 24,134-135, 150-151. [Beaujour, F. Pinakas tou Emporiou tis Elladas stin Tourkokratia (1787-1797) / Table of Commerce in Greece during the Turkish Rule]

Πετμεζάς, Σ. (1991), «Διαχείριση των κοινοτικών οικονομικών και κοινωνική κυριαρχία. Η στρατηγική των προυχόντων: Ζαγορά 1784-1822», Μνήμων 13. [Petmezas, S. «Diacheirisi ton koinotikon oikonomikon kai koinoniki kyriarchia. I stratigiki ton prouchonton: Zagora 1784-1822»/ «Management of commuity economics and social dominance. The strategy of the village elders: Zagora 1784-1822” In Mnimon 13] 

Πετμεζάς, Σ. (1993), Ιεράρχηση του χώρου και δυναμική της αγροτικής παραγωγής. Η περίπτωση της Ζαγοράς του Πηλίου, 1800-1860, Ίστωρ 5. [Petmezas, S. Ierarchisi tou xhorou kai dynamiki tis agrotikis paragogis. I periptosi tis Zagoras tou Piliou, 1800-1860 / Hierarchy of space and dynamics of agricultural production. The case of Zagora in Pilion, 1800-1860 in Istor 5]

Ψαλίδας, Α. (1931), Η Τουρκία κατά τας αρχάς του ΙΘ΄ αιώνος, Ηπειρωτικά Χρονικά, τ. 6 . σ. 65. [Psalidas, A.. I Tourkia kata tas archas tou 19ou aionos / Turkey in the early 19th century in  Ipeirotika Chronika v.6, p.65 ]


Archival material – F.E.K. (Government Gazette)

Φάκελος του Αγροτικού Συνεταιρισμού Ζαγοράς από το αρχείο του Υπουργείου Αγροτικής Ανάπτυξης & Τροφίμων, Δ/νση Οικονομικών Ελέγχων και Επιθεώρησης, Τμήμα Αγροτικών Συνεταιριστικών Οργανώσεων και Παρακολούθησης Εφαρμογής Εθνικής και Ενωσιακής Νομοθεσίας.
[Dossier of the Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora from the archive of the Ministry of Rural Development and Food, Directorate of Financial Audit and Inspection, Department of Rural Cooperative Organizations and Monitoring of National and European Union Legislation Implementation.]


«Εφημερίς της Κυβερνήσεως του Βασιλείου της Ελλάδος», τεύχος Α’, αριθμός φύλλου 33, Νόμος 602 «Περί συνεταιρισμών», 24 Ιανουαρίου 1915.
[«Efimeris tis Kyverniseos tou Vasileiou tis Ellados», issue A, Nr. 33, Law 602 “Peri Synetairismon” (“On Cooperatives”), 24 January 1915.]


Βασιλικό Διάταγμα «Περί γνωμοδοτικής επιτροπής των συνεταιρισμών», «Εφημερίς της Κυβερνήσεως του Βασιλείου της Ελλάδος», τεύχος Πρώτον, αριθμός φύλλου 262,  15 Νοεμβρίου 1917.
[Vasiliko Diatagma (Royal Decree) «Peri gnomodotikis epitropis ton synetairismon» / On the Advisory Committee of Cooperatives, «Efimeris tis Kyverniseos tou Vasileiou tis Ellados», issue 1, number 262, 15 November 1917.]


Βασιλικό Διάταγμα «Περί παροχής γεωργικών ειδών εις συνεταιρισμούς επί πιστώσει», «Εφημερίς της Κυβερνήσεως του Βασιλείου της Ελλάδος», τεύχος Πρώτον, αριθμός φύλλου 72, 5 Απριλίου 1918.
[Vasiliko Diatagma (Royal Decree) «Peri parochis gergikon eidon eiws synetairismous epi pistosei» / On the provision of agricultural equipment on credit to Cooperatives «Efimeris tis Kyverniseos tou Vasileiou tis Ellados», issue 1, number 72, 5 April 1918.]


Βασιλικό Διάταγμα «Περί διαγωνισμού διάθεσης ειδικών υπαλλήλων των συνεταιρισμών», «Εφημερίς της Κυβερνήσεως του Βασιλείου της Ελλάδος», τεύχος Πρώτον, αριθμός φύλλου 126,  8 Ιουνίου 1918.
[Vasiliko Diatagma (Royal Decree), «Peri diagonismou diathesis eidikon ypallilon ton synetairismon» / On the competition for the availability of special employees of cooperatives, «Efimeris tis Kyverniseos tou Vasileiou tis Ellados», issue 1, number 126, 8 June 1918.]


General Bibliography

ΑρώνηΤσίχλη, Κ. (2005), Αγροτικό ζήτημα και αγροτικό κίνημα, Αθήνα: Παπαζήσης. [Aroni Tsichli, K. (2005), Agrotiko zitima kai agrotiko kinima. / Agricultural Issues and the Farmers’ Movement.]

Βασαρδάνης, Σ. (1958), Το Πήλιο στη μυθολογία. Αθήνα: Ιστορική και Λαογραφική Εταιρεία των Θεσσαλών εν Αθήναις, Τμήμα Διαλέξεων, τ. Η, τεύχος Β’. [Vasardanis, S., To Pilio stin mythologia / Pilion in mythology]

Βραχνιάρη, Χ. (1995), Πρώιμες εξεγέρσεις των αγροτών στο θεσσαλικό χώρο (1881-1883) – Ο ρόλος και η συμβολή του Νικολάου Ταρμπάζη, Λάρισα: Γνώση. [Vrachniari, Ch., Proimes eksegerseis ton agroton sto thessaliko xoro (1991-1883) – O rolos kai i symvoli tou Nikolaou Tarmpazi / Early uprisings of farmers in Thessaly (1881-1883) / The role and contribution of Nikolaos Tompazis ]

Γκουντάρας, Κ. (2015), Μια φορά κι έναν καιρό ο Αλμυρός, Αλμυρός: αυτοέκδοση. [Gountaras, K. Mia fora ki enan kairo o Almyros. / Once upon a time there was Almyros]

Καραμανώλη, Ε. (1987), Το θεσσαλικό Γεωργικό Ταμείο (Ιστορία – Νομοθεσία – Νομολογία), Λάρισα: Δικηγορικός Σύλλογος Λαρίσης. [Karamanoli, E., To thessaliko Georgiko Tameio (Istoria-Nomothesia- Nomologia) /The Agricultural Fund of Thessaly (History – Legislation – Jurisprudence)]

Καραμπερόπουλος, Β. (2003), Η περιοχή Βελεστίνου στο αγροτικό κίνημα, Αθήνα: Επιστημονική Εταιρεία Μελέτης Φερών-Βελεστίνου-Ρήγα. [Karamperopoulos, V. I periochi Velestinou sto agrotiko kinima / The Velestino region in the agricultural movement ]

Κολλιού, Ν. (1996), Οι πρωτοπόροι της περιοχής Αλμυρού, Απαρχές συνεργατισμού – Κασσαβέτεια Σχολή και άλλα ιστορικά, Αθήνα: Οδυσσέας. [Kolliou, N. Oi protoporoi tis periochis Almyrou, Aparches Synergatismou – Kassaveteia Scholi kai alla istorika / The pioneers of the Almyros region, The Beginnings of Cooperativeness – The Kassaveteis School and other historical facts ]

Μπαλαφής, Π. (1960), Κοινότητες Αγροτικών Επιχειρήσεων (Κοιναί των Αγροτικών Επιχειρήσεις), Μοχλός ανυψώσεως της αγροτικής τάξης, Αθήνα: αυτοέκδοση. [Balafis, P., Koinotites Agrotikon Epicheiriseon (Koinai ton Agrotikon Epicheiriseis), Mochlos anypsoseos tis agrotikis taksis / Communities of Agricultural Businesses,  Leverage for raising peasantry  ]

Παπαγεωργίου, Κ. (2004), Βιώσιμη Συνεταιριστική Οικονομία, Θεωρία και πράξη, Αθήνα: Σταμούλης. [Papageorgiou, K. Viosimi Synetairistiki Oikonomia, Theoria kai praksi / Viable Cooperative Economy, Theory and practice ]

Τριβιζά, Γ. (1930), Η οργάνωσι των Γεωργικών Συνεταιρισμών κατά το σύστημα του Ραϊφφαϊζεν, Παράρτημα του «Γεωργικού Δελτίου». Αθήνα: Ελληνική Γεωργική Εταιρεία. [Triviza, G. I organosi ton Georgikon Synetairismon kata to systima tou Raiffeisen / The organization of Agricultural Cooperatives according to the Raiffeisen system ]



10. Additional Documentation

a. Texts (sources, archival documentation, etc.) (see attachments)

b. Maps (see attachments)

c. Visual and audio evidence (plans, photographs, audio files, video etc.) (see attachments)


Visual disc (dvd) – Documentary

«With the hoes and the terrarium forks»



Direction: George Lagdaris

Research – Text: Alexandros Kapaniaris


Editing: Athanasia Xafara

Editing of Oral Testimonials: Antonis Politis

Direction of Photography: Tasos Nikolaou

Music: Andreas Katsigiannis

Narration: Giannis Kapourniotis and Dimitris Daktylas

Post Production: Cinegraph

Production: Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora Pelion

Length: 55 min


The organization and progress of a local human community over the past 100 years, integrated within a specific natural environment and influenced by the overall climate of each era, the respective technological achievements and its historical roots is the overall narrative of the historical documentary of the Agricultural of Zagora.

In 1916, being aware of the difficulties they faced for many months of the year due to their geographical location, they founded an Agricultural Cooperative which prospers and, today, is the first cooperative in Greece which has been in continuous operation for one hundred years.

In the film, all this is presented in its entirety, on the one hand by the shots which place the protagonists in the natural environment, where they live and produce, and on the other hand, by the oral testimonies of the protagonists themselves, where each person is a symbol either of a generation, or a professional group, or holds a role outside the Cooperative Organization.

The title itself makes reference to the tools the people of Zagora used to keep their households and the village itself alive. The hoe (tsapi) and the terrarium fork (thkeli – dikeli) were the two tools they used, and largely still use even today, to assist their land in yielding its expected produce or to render it more fertile and help their crops thrive.


Musical composition on CD (soundtrack)

The musical composition EUPHORIA was recorded for the documentary on the occasion of the 100th anniversary from the foundation of the Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora in Pelion, under the direction of Giorgos Lagdaris and script-research by Alexandros Kapaniaris. For the requirements of the film, recordings were made of musical instruments and sounds of nature on Mount Pelion.



 Andreas Katsigiannis

  1. Εuphoria (5.42)
  2. Air in 4 seasons (3.46)
  3. Exaltation (4.1)
  4. Journey (4.16)
  5. The future (4.15)

 Production planning-recording: Apostolos Mosios

Musicians playing: Kostas Gedikis: lavta saz, mandolin, lute, baglamas, Stavros Kouskouridas: clarinet, Apostolos Mosios: guitars, bass, percussion, mandolin, Andreas Katsigiannis: piano, lute, synthesizer

d. Online sources (hyperlinks)

Official webpage of the Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora, accessble on: (last visit 1/8/2017)

Euphoria | Αndreas Katsigiannis | Official Audio Release, Available on:  (retrieval date: 1/8/17).

EUPHORIA, Available on: (retrieval date: 1/8/17

100 years of Zagorin, company promotion. Available on:, (retrieval date, 1/8/17)

11. Contact Details of the Bulletin’s Compiler

a. Author’s Name: Alexandros G. Kapaniaris

b. Author’s capacity: Doctor of Folklore, University of Aegean, Researcher

c. Location and Date of Compilation of the Bulletin: Zagora (Third quarter, 2017)


Detailed description of the ICH element in PDF form.