TARANTO - "When you offer a farmer 10,000 euros for a piece of land, it is like a godsend."

Puglia, one of Italy's poorest regions, now offers little to farmers envisioning their future in agriculture. The value of the land, already affected by inflation, will be further impacted by renewable energy projects in the future. "We are a depleted land," claims Flavio Santoro, an environmental activist from the province of Foggia, where the strong winds blowing over its hills have attracted the interest of green energy production companies for 20 years. "I predicted this when I noticed farmers began discussing energy instead of agriculture." In Puglia, there is an incidence of renewable energy installations on arable land amounting to 74% of the regional total, a trend further confirmed by the installation of wind farms.

On the other side of the Mediterranean, the fire in Northern Evia has been considered one of the biggest natural disasters Greece has ever faced. The fires have significantly devalued the land. "People from abroad are coming and buying our land at low prices, burnt land where we used to have our forests, herds, bees, and trees," lament the villagers. "Northern Evia is a beautiful and untouched place. Some see it as a new Florida, others as an ideal location for wind farms, some imagine airports and luxury vacation homes, and others believe that Northern Evia should rediscover the rhythms of nature and resonate with its people," states Maria Karamanof, Vice President of the Council of State.

'Forgotten Lands' is a cross-border project investigating land grabbing in Greece and Italy. While the infrastructure for renewable energy in the region aims to combat the climate crisis, it extracts value from the land and marginalizes the local communities. Similar practices also occur with investments from tourism companies and marketing agencies. The project highlights the power imbalance between northern Europe's ambitious investments and the Mediterranean, bearing the adverse impacts locally in the face of inflation, land speculation, and infrastructure shortcomings. In this discrepancy, the neoliberal devaluation of agriculture, climate, and urban planning systems raises crucial questions about rural justice.

Team members

Rea Nefeli Tzanetakou

Rea Nefeli Tzanetakou (Athens) is keen on participating in collaborative and investigative journalism projects around the world.

Rea Nefeli Tzanetakou

Vasiliki Grammatikogianni

Vasiliki Grammatikogianni is a Greek freelance journalist. 

Vasiliki Grammatikogianni

Vittoria Torsello

Vittoria Torsello is an Italian freelance journalist.

Vittoria Torsello

Pavla Holcová

Pavla Holcová is an investigative journalist and founder of investigace.cz, based in Prague.

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