Make your own garden at the University Farm

The initiative started in April 2012 as the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh) embarked on an ecological strategic plan to become the first green University. The idea was also to open the university to the public, to make better use of its facilities and to address the lack of open space to grow vegetables in Thessaloniki. Within a total area of 6 hectares, 100m2 land plots are allocated annually through open calls to city dwellers, for a maximum duration of 3 years.

Contact details

Function / Organisation : Director of the University Farm
E-mail :

Website :
Aristotle University Farm of Thessaloniki
57001, Thermi, Thessaloniki, Greece


∙ School of Agriculture and Rectorate authorities of AUTh, Aristotle University Farm of Thessaloniki
∙ 2,000 city dwellers with various backgrounds (25% civil servants, 30% private employees, 30% unemployed and 15 % retirees) who have been allocated a plot of land to grow vegetables for self-consumption
∙ 24 AUTh students who work every year in the gardens


∙ Bridging the gap between University and society
∙ Raising awareness on environmental issues and organic farming among the population
∙ Re-connecting people with the land and the cycles of nature
∙ Helping university students to get some field experience
∙ Set up the AUTh ecological strategic plan to become the first green University while preserving land integrity

Legal framework & Budget

This initiative is implemented by AUTh, which employs an agronomist and 2 farm assistants throughout the year, as well as 24 undergraduate students for 3 months to assist amateur gardeners.


Today, more than 500 plots of land are being culti- vated by almost 2,000 city dwellers. There is no criteria for plot allotment but gardeners must comply with the principles of organic farming and attend a series of seminars on sustainable and environmental friendly practices. Students, the agronomist and the 2 farm assistants provide daily advice and support to gardeners. The latter have to bring their own tools but seeds and seedlings can be provided by the University Farm at a very low price. The seeds and seedlings include commercial varieties, hybrids and some Greek local varieties and landraces. Humus and manure are used for plant fertilisation.

>Innovation & Outcomes

The initiative is great success with city dwellers, despite the hardly accessible location. The number of applications reached 450 once. For some candidates, it is all about the pleasure of gardening. For others, it is a way to have access to fresh and organic vegetables. A few ones also see it as a professional perspective. The benefits are two sided as it is also a great opportunity for students to practice by assisting gardeners in growing their own vegetables.

SQM Cultivated
Jobs created
People reached
2 000

Main obstacles & Next steps

The main obstacle faced by the initiative is the lack of knowledge and collaboration of some gardeners. The seminars conducted on site are intended to educate them to organic farming practices and provide them with hands on experience. The next step is to increase the number of plots to make the best use of the available area. AUTh will also keep disseminating its knowledge and communicating with citizens about environmental-friendly land management to fight against land pollution.

More on :

Project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund