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European volunteers help Greek 'bailout gardens,' created to fight city hardship

Volunteer gardeners from countries around Europe are visiting Greece's second largest city, Thessaloniki, to help local urban planting initiatives set up help residents hit by the country's financial crisis.

Urban gardens — used to plant vegetables and make use of land left vacant amid a sharp drop in real estate prices — have sprung up across Greece since the crisis brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy four years ago. Austerity measures demanded as part of Greece's international rescue have created widespread unemployment and hardship.

The volunteers from seven European countries are from a France-based group, created to promote seed variety which is currently touring cities in south Europe.

On Sunday, they visited a disused army base where city residents have been allowed to create garden allotments.