In a tale of resilience and innovation, Argyro Koutsouradi, a 31-year-old entrepreneur, has been awarded the title of “New European Farmer of 2023” in the “Most Resilient Project” category, a recognition bestowed upon her by the European Parliament. Her journey from Chios, a Greek island, to this prestigious European honor has been one of carefully measured steps and unwavering determination.

Her path to success was marked by modest beginnings. “We didn’t have much money as a family, and this helped me to proceed gradually, not to take big and hasty steps,” she added.
Argyro, a mother of a new-born son, displayed an entrepreneurial spirit right from the start. After graduating from the Agricultural School of Democritus University in Xanthi, she pursued a Master’s degree at the Agricultural University of Athens and conducted research on aromatic plants in Lille, France, through the Erasmus program.

Despite offers to stay abroad, she made the decision to return to her village, Chalkio, in the fields of Chios. “We, the young, must return to our roots. I thought that Chios owes its nickname ‘The Fragrant Island’ to the rare scents of its flora, and until then, no one on the island had dealt with aromatic plants and herbs,” she reiterated.

Starting with six varieties, such as oregano, thyme, dittany, capers, lavender, and rosemary, Argyro transformed her family’s uncultivated eight-acre plot. Joining various programs, particularly those aimed at young farmers, she modernized her production unit.
The journey was not without hurdles. Capital controls in 2015 posed a challenge, and the lack of organized marketing channels was a persistent difficulty. “This issue remains the most challenging for me.” Argyro emphasized.

However, her love for working the land was unwavering. “Being in the field is a creative job; it gives you peace. The trade was what challenged me; it wasn’t my area. Of course, willingness and passion are necessary, but a fundamental tool for a business to succeed is marketing,” she highlighted.

Today, their family business cultivates 15 plant varieties across 40 acres. Their products are distributed across Greece and exported to seven countries in Europe and the Americas. Their capers and dittany are among their best-selling products due to their rarity in Greece.

Awarded as the “Young Farmer of the Year” by the Panhellenic Association of Young Farmers, Argyro represented Greece in the European Parliament, leading to her recent recognition.
“For the future, we aim to create innovative products in combination with other Chios products, such as mastic and mandarin, and to expand into other markets,” she concluded with determination.