Slow Food remembers Gigi Frassanito, one of our historic collaborators and original coordinator of the Earth Markets project, who passed away five years ago, by awarding this prize in his name.
The Commune of Montevarchi, Slow Food Colli Superiori del Valdarno, and the Montevarchi Covered Market Producers’ Association presented the Gigi Frassanito 2017 award on Sunday.
The annual award, which offers concrete support to virtuous supply chains, went to La Buona Strada (The Right Track), a crowd-funding project that for some months now has been raising money to buy a mobile shop to sell agricultural produce in the small towns and villages in the area hit by the 2016 earthquake and on the coast nearby, and a mobile dairy for shepherds and cheesemakers there who no longer have workshops in which to process their milk.
The award was collected on behalf of the small producers hit by last year’s earthquake by Tommaso Annibali, a town councilor at Comunanza (Marche), and Francesco Nelli, the mayor of Cittareale (Lazio).
A special Montevarchi Earth Market was organized to mark the occasion. Also taking part were producers of 20 or so Earth Markets in Abruzzo, Umbria, Piedmont, Campania and Lazio, who set up their stalls in the town’s Cennano cloisters. Among others, there were the producers of the Birrificio Alta Quota of Cittareale (Rimini), the Orto di Giobbi from Ariccia (Rome), the producers of the Roman Countryside Caciofire Presidium, Pomo d’Oro farms from Padernello (Brescia) and La Crava Cuntenta of Masserano (Biella). The days of Saturday and Sunday also provided an opportunity for the Italian Earth Markets to talk and share skills and experiences in a meeting organized by Slow Food Colli Superiori del Valdarno, Slow Food Tuscany and the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity at the Accademia Valdarnese del Poggio. The debate focused on the theme of Earth Markets as a ‘community’ for the sharing of Slow Food projects and campaigns and so on, for organizing support and solidarity initiatives such as La Buona Strada, and for amplifying the movement’s messages.
Valerio Cherubini, of the Earth Market in Padernello, underlined the importance of knowing each other and sharing experiences: “we can identify a group of producers who want to participate in Earth Markets in other regions, and organize a rota for their presence at other Markets.” Sonia Chiellini, vice-president of Slow Food Italia, spoke of the value of the Earth Markets as a “community moment, that spreads a message and the campaigns of Slow Food,” and invited other Markets to undertake a commitment of solidarity and help other Markets in times of need, “as happened last January, when the Earth Market in L’Aquila was without fresh fruit and vegetables because of heavy snow, and other Markets sent their products in order to keep it open.”
A proposal was put forward to hold another meeting and a special international Earth Market at the Terra Madre event in September.