A Message About Us From Founder & Project Manager Pare Gerou (Evi) I am a Greek American and love both Greece and Cohousing. During the pandemic, like so many others, I contemplated how to live my best life. I decided to marry my two passions and thus founded the first cohousing group in Greece! We are a multigenerational group, from all over the world and from Greece. Together, we are creating something more beautiful and special than I could have imagined. The combination of our group's abilities, talents, and our good luck in finding an amazing property and developer, has made for a wonderful journey and bright future for our cohousing village in Greece. I am an attorney who specializes in immigration and representing refugees. In my role as the original Founder as well as Project Manager, I aspire to a researched, "best practices" approach to our project. I lived in cohousing and thus have learned from an amazing community, Touchstone, but I also like to read empirical studies, books, and articles about cohousing, as well as consult cohousing professionals and other group founders, in order to find the most successful ways to do things. Our group is fortunate enough to be attracting not only talented members but also lots of extraordinary supporters. I feel extremely grateful for the amazing people who have joined this group, the many more coming toward us each week, and the hundreds who have shown interest or lent a hand. Our members' collective talents are a brain trust that have grown my seed idea into a blossoming community representing our collective vision and values. As we further define our vision, values, design, and traditions, this community is developing an inspired identity of its own. It is rewarding to be part of something greater than yourself. You can find out about my career background and my time in cohousing at the bottom of this page (scroll to bottom or click here for the rest of my bio). You will find a letter of recommendation from my cohousing community here:
Eberhard, from Denmark Born on his grandparent's farm in the Black Forest near Stuttgart where he spent his childhood holidays. After a couple of years on farms in Germany, he moved to Denmark and finished the farmer's apprenticeship at one of the first organic farming schools. He then became a scholarship student in Ecuador for half a year. He became a self-employed organic dairy farmer on Zealand for 12 years and has three daughters. Besides milking cows, he also has experience with sheep and growing vegetables, strawberries, fruit, and Christmas trees! He was a long-term guest in the mid-eighties and returned as a member of the intentional community Svanholm. Svanhold is a collectively owned and driven organic estate near Skibby, and he lived there for 8 years. In addition to farming, he is a professional in the safety construction field and has experience in construction and maintenance of buildings during his life as a farmer and as partr of the building group at Svanholm. Eberahrd became involved in the Danish ecovillage association Landsforeningen Økosamfund, where several Danish cohousing communities are members, and he participated as Danish representative at general assemblies of the Global Ecovillage Network in Europe. He arranged tours of ecovillages in Germany and Italy and has visited other ecovillages in Spain, Portugal, Scotland and Greece. He studied Arctic Technology/Construction Engineering at DTU and lived for two years in Greenland, as well as for a semester in Fairbanks, Alaska. He works as a health & safety consultant in the construction sector for 9 years.
Virginia from the UK and Kenya, Originally from the UK, I have lived my life so far in Central Africa, East Africa, France, Holland, Greece and many years in Rome, Italy. I have a background in anthropology, have been working the last twenty years for a UN agency supporting rural communities in remote areas of developing countries. I love history, archaeology, walking, cycling, good food, dancing, music, leisurely driving, spending time with people, spending time alone, playing with children, sailing, gardening especially fruit trees, herbs and flowers, reading, exploring, speaking languages. I’m fluent in English, Italian and French, have a smattering of Dutch and German, and am hoping to perfect my Greek and Spanish soon. I have three grown up children, living in Italy and UK. In our family we’ve had a dog, cats, a tortoise and a little parrot who lived free as I couldn’t bear to keep him in a cage. Where I live now in Kenya, Mitzi the estate cat loves to sleep on my terrace, and there are monkeys which are funny, but also really annoying when you find them in your living room eating stolen fruit from your kitchen… This is me on a camping expedition in East Africa last year.
Davida & Tressa From California & Washington State A few words about my partner Tressa: (David writing): Basically, Tressa is one of the most amazing, magical, intuitive, compassionate, individuals I have ever met, to name a few of her qualities. She is more actively engaged in living and living well and in the highest good than pretty much anyone else that I know. While her academic training and decades of professional work center around being a neuro-cognitive behavioral speech pathologist, her passions have been actualizing in the last 5 years in the arena of helping executives and professionals, in the corporate space and individual space, to be better humans. To have better connections, better communication, and better lives. The results that she facilitates in others is, quite often, mind-blowing. Spend some time with her, be in conversation with her, and you will see what I mean for yourself. To see a little bit more about her, see her primary website: https://epicoto.com/. And About Myself (David): I was raised Jewish in a Middle/Middle-Upper class family in the suburbs of Seattle. My dad’s career was as a merchant seaman and captain, which took him away for months at a time, and my mom raised my one 2-year older brother and I in a very supportive and loving environment. The arts were always pretty central for us, and my time in the arts, on and off through my entire life, started with my going to the piano after my brother finished practicing, and playing what he had been playing in a minor scale. We started me on lessons soon after, at age 5. A few years later, I went into the kitchen to find my mom, literally tugging on her apron, and asking her if I could learn to tap dance. Later that week I was in my first class. As an adult I identify pretty much across the board as queer - mostly because what that means is that options in life are limited only by the limitations I place on myself. Now in my fifties, I would say that I also recognize the world as quite a powerful force, and that sometimes I can get better outcomes when I act in some compliance with it. Recently, Tressa and I were talking about ‘having a calling’ in life say, in regards to what one does for work. I am not without having a calling, though when I reflect on what I have done for work, it has more often been a solution to meet one or several needs. For example, after a year-long bicycle trip through Western Europe after college with my first wife, we came back homeless, jobless, and pregnant. I decided that launching myself into software engineering would be a good solution. So, I did that, and worked in that area for about 10 years, mostly in the space of web and application programming, tool building, and data storage, mining, and business intelligence. From there I went into physical and energetic healing work, with hand-on practice, mostly 1:1, while also leaning into helping people become more comfortable with their bodies and their relationships. From there I continued my entrepreneurship by launching, with the support from my 2nd and present wife Tressa, a cannabis edible business called Med With Love. That supported our family and gave me almost 10 years of good work that was very well suited to my personality. In the present moment, Tressa is the primary money-earner in our family, which gives me the spaciousness to really dedicate myself to community, and that is really what I consider my work these days. I have lived in and out of communities for about the last 20 years, mostly in one-home communities. For the past 2.5 years, however, we have lived at Lost Valley, a 40-50 person, 100-acre, rural community whose vision is to teach and live by principles of Permaculture. I spend most of my community time in land stewardship, garden and maintenance, helping mediate and resolve conflict, and acting a bit as some of the ‘glue’ that simply helps hold community together. Living in community is good medicine for me, and I both see it as the most right way for me to live and the way I will likely live for the rest of my life. Other interests include music, dancing, physical health, yoga, meditation, chanting, connecting with others, nature, food, travel, and language. I have not yet been to Greece, though Greece has been included in our longer-term vision of expatriating to ‘somewhere in southern Europe’ for a few years now. I plan to make the trip to the GVC land this year in September, and am planning to stay in the country for 3 months to get a real feel for what living there is like. I will find one or more communities or projects to work on through the Intentional Communities or GEN-Europe websites, or possibly through finding a live-work situation. -------------------
Melanie & Michael, USA Melanie (F, 50) I consider myself a life-long learner. With Michael (my husband), I owned a small animal veterinary emergency hospital that was sold. I love animals, nature, gardening, reading, and baking. My grandfather on my father’s side immigrated to the US from Greece in 1917, from a very small village in the Peloponnese. Through heritage I have a strong connection to the area and land. Furthermore, my grandmother’s parents on my father’s side came from Sparta. I grew up listening to my dad only play Greek bouzouki records and attending all the festivals the Greek community held. I have always been intrigued with co-housing, as I first learned about it over 20 years ago from a very good friend whose sister’s family moved into a co-housing community, I would frequently visit and I fell in love with that community and often considered moving there in my retirement. However, now I have the option to put two of my loves together and I am pursuing that now. My retirement is at hand, and I find myself longing for a community that will allow me to meld all my interests together. Besides the above-mentioned ones, I am also interested in, birding, hiking, and the general outdoors. In my new community I look forward to having the time and space to fully engage in my love for nature, Greece and being part of a strong community. Michael (M, 55) I have been a lifelong learner and have been lucky to work in numerous challenging fields over the years. I have lived in 6 countries over several years and speak 2 languages (native English, fluent German). I have a strong interest in learning Greek so I can further learn about the history and architecture. I feel that is the only way to live in Greece, if one wishes to truly know it, is to learn as much as possible about the food, culture, and people. I am an avid woodworker, DIYer, and maker. I enjoy using technology to make life easier, such as smart lights, and home automation. Furthermore, I enjoy learning and helping others with what I know and learning from the community and sharing knowledge. I am a huge fan of cooking. American BBQ, smoking, American, German, and Mexican are my current favorite foods to prepare. I would like to further my beginning interest in baking (mostly breads / pretzels) and share my creations with others. Lastly, I am a huge lover of animals, nature, and outdoor activities. With my wife having a familiar connection to Greece and Peloponnese area I am excited about settling here.
and Advisory Board Members
Advisory Board Member Robert William Peck, Canada Former Ambassador to Greece Recently retired after 35 years with Global Affairs Canada, Robert Peck has held a variety of positions in Canada, Greece, and abroad. At Headquarters, these included Press Secretary and Departmental Spokesperson to two Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Chief of Protocol of Canada. He was Canada’s Ambassador to the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria from 2004 to 2007, and Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic and High Commissioner to the Republic of Cyprus from 2011 to 2015. As Canada’s representative to both Algeria and the Hellenic Republic, former Ambassador Peck worked closely with the Canadian oil and gas and mining sectors. This involved advocacy at the ministerial and head of state/head of government levels and providing strategic advice on critical issues and emerging trends. Earlier in his career, he served in various diplomatic roles in Nigeria, Switzerland, and Greece. During a two-year leave of absence from the Government of Canada, Mr. Peck was Director of Corporate Communications and Investor Relations at CAE Inc., the global leader in aerospace simulation technology. Throughout his diplomatic career, Ambassador Peck has been a strong supporter of cultural diplomacy and worked closely with leading Canadian and international artists and organizations. As Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic he played a leading role in supporting the unprecedented and highly successful exhibition at the Canadian Museum of History in 2015: “The Greeks: From Agamemnon to Alexander the Great.” Mr. Peck was named in 2017 as an independent, non-executive member of the Board of Directors of Energean PLC, a leading independent oil and gas company in the Eastern Mediterranean. He is also actively involved in the voluntary sector as President of the Board of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra (OSO), a member of the Canadian Institute in Greece (CIG), and an Honorary Director of The Hellenic Initiative (Canada). He continues to be engaged with several charitable organizations in Greece, including a local non-governmental organization that provides a safe haven for refugee minors on the Greek island of Lesvos.In 2010, he agreed also to dedicate himself voluntarily to the Michaëlle Jean Foundation as Executive Director until 2020. Promise kept. The position will be opened next July. Former Ambassador Peck has received numerous awards including the Canadian Foreign Minister’s Citation for Foreign Policy Excellence, the Minister’s Merit Award, a Citation from the Fondation Club Avenir for his exceptional contribution to Canada-Algeria relations, and the Grand Commander of the Order of the Phoenix conferred by the President of the Hellenic Republic.
Diane Margolis is a founding member of Cambridge Cohousing where she has lived for more than twenty years. She is a former member of the Coho/US Board of Directors and co-founder and Director Emeritus of the Cohousing Research Network. She was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study 1980–1981. She has published many research articles, and her books include The Fabric of Self, which won Honorable Mention at the First Annual Book Award of the Eastern Sociological Society. She is Professor Emerita of Sociology at the Universityof Connecticut. She recently published "We Built a Village." The book describes the process of planning and building of an early cohousing community in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the way the people involved simultaneously built their homes and their social structure. As both a memoir and a sociological analysis that probes the differences between commons and markets, it is unique among books about cohousing. When this group of people began in the late 1990s to construct their cohousing community, they set in motion a counterpoint between the physical spaces and the social configurations that would guide their lives together, even up to creative responses to the recent pandemic.
Antonis, Hannah, and Eleni from the UK Yeia sas! We are Hannah (33), Ant or Antonis if in Greece (35) and our daughter Eléni (born July '22). Ant has a Greek father who resides along with the extended Greek family in a small village on Kos (hence the big interest in Greece!). He lived on Kos for the first couple of years of his life and has always felt a connection to the country and the people. As a couple we have spent extended periods of time on Kos and other Greek islands. Hannah currently works part-time as a community manager for an online membership company, spending the rest of her days enjoying the company of Ant, Elénitsa and friends. She enjoys reading, writing, vegetable gardening, cooking, baking, ecstatic dance and cacao and would love to incorporate any/all of these facets in community living. I am especially keen to learn more about organic gardening/permaculture and would love to be part of tending to a community plot! Ant is a full-time Dad and part-time Ashtanga yoga teacher. He stumbled upon yoga whilst spending a few months on Kos helping the family with the olive harvest. He has since become a dedicated father, ashtangi and meditation practitioner and is constantly interested and investigating ways in which to live as fulfilling, conscious and collaborative existence as possible - whilst imparting as much joy and happiness as he can along the way. He loves his family, yoga, meditation, spending time in nature, movement/sports in general, reading and communal music making. Eléni is a joyous, curious, explorative, expressive and adventurous little lady who is embracing life in a wondrously open way. She understands some Greek and she will soon be visiting her Greek relatives for the third time in October '23. Hannah and Ant don't have firm plans but are leaning towards "unschooling", home schooling or alternative schooling for Eléni's education and would especially love to connect with young families who share similar perspectives.
The Karhu-Jopasin Family: Vilma, Georgios, Aurora and Gabriel Finland and Now Greece ! The Karhu-Jopasin Family: Vilma, Georgios, Aurora and Gabriel The Karhu-Jopasin's are a family of four from Finland who just recently moved to Athens. Vilma and Georgios have two beautiful children, Aurora and Gabriel. Aurora is an active toddler who loves singing, dancing, climbing and counting in Finnish, English and Greek. Gabriel is a sweet, curious and calm 1-year old who is interested in learning more about the world around him. Vilma has a degree in English linguistics and has previously worked in university administration at Tampere University, focusing on exchange studies and international Master's degree programmes. She has been blessed to have had the opportunity to travel, study and work in different countries. She is now home with the kids and also works as a freelance translator (FI-EN) when she has time. She played volleyball for 16 years and has now taken up kickboxing. She also enjoys spending time in nature either hiking, downhill skiing or surfing (surfing skills are rusty though!). Among other things, Georgios (or Georgi) has a background working at the Finnish national broadcasting company YLE as a media journalist. Georgi is an entrepreneur-minded truth seeker and an observer of people. Due to his past at YLE and his curiosity to explore, he has been exposed to many things and has learned from those experiences a lot. He is now working remotely from home for a Greek company. On his free time he produces music or listens to podcasts. The family values natural approaches to health as well as strengthening a well-communicating and loving family unit. Second hand stores and relaxed jazz music on Saturday mornings are their thing. They also have experience in community building in Finland, where they were part of trying to set up two different types of communities. The first would have been a cohousing community in the Finnish archipelago and the second a commune for families with children located in the countryside. They are grateful for the lessons learned from their previous experiences and want to contribute to creating a safe, thriving and diverse multigenerational community in the Peloponnesos .
Our Founder, Pare (Evi)... is a Greek American who fell in love with Greece while spending her childhood summers with family on Lesvos. She received her law degree from University of Virginia Law School and enjoyed a career in refugee law, as a Director of a Refuge Resettlement Agency, a Clinical Law Professor, solo practitioner, and refugee adjudicator for USCIS. She returned recently to Greece to develop a successful Greek legal aid organization for refugees on Lesvos and in Athens. The Greek NGO, which she developed from idea to completed project, and ready to hire a Greek Director, continues to thrive. She also has experience living in cohousing for many years and found the experience of living in cohousing meaningful and transformative. Having a founder with cohousing experience is helpful not only to the creation of something successful, but also to the ability to vet the bona fides and ethics of the founder and group. The Touchstone cohousing community has provided a letter of recommendation that speaks to her character pictured above. Her experiences in Greece as well as in cohousing inspired her to marry her two loves and form the first group devoted to creating cohousing in Greece-- Greek Village Cohousing. This project, amidst plentiful property sales and tax and visa incentives, is ideally timed. The need for cohousing in general has also struck a chord with many during this pandemic's time of reflection about the important things in life.