Alce Nero in Umbria (Italy) will open its doors to the public
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
As Greenplanet reports, the Cooparative Alce Nero in Umbria (Italy) will open its doors to the public on May 28, 2006. The goal of this project is to bring customers, producers and mainly consumers into a direct contact with methods of production, backgrounds and organic experience. Alce Nero, a well-known company for organic agriculture and Ecor, a specialised company for distributing organic food, invite the public to visit the Cooperative on its fantastic land with antique grains and the production facility of pasta, all in a landscape of unique beauty. Children are welcome as a special program is offered to them. The agenda for adults includes a breakfast, a guided visit through the company, an organic buffet at the convict of Montebello, a debate and time to place questions.
In the early 1970s Gino Girolomoni, then the young mayor of Isola del Piano, fostered some plans to revitalise the area's ancient rural traditions. These plans included training in organic agriculture and conferences which drew experts, intellectuals and journalists from all over Italy. From the beginning well-known people such as Guido Ceronetti, Sergio Quinzio, the writers Paolo Volponi and Fabio Tombari were involved in the process. Alce Nero (Black Elk) Cooperativa - established on 13th July 1977 and thus one of the earliest examples of organic farming in Italy - developed from this social and cultural background.
Alce Nero Cooperative's aim was to provide a solution to the problems involved with massive migrations from the country-side. If our ancestors lived for centuries in the remotest parts of our mountainous and hilly areas, without any roads, tap water, electricity, telephone lines and money, why is it so hard for us - with all the above things and more - to devise a type of economy which would enable us to live in those two-thirds of the land which the prevailing Italian mentality considers merely as week-end or holiday resorts?
Starting from this assumption, Alce Nero Cooperativa purchased a patch of land which had not been used for decades, restored an ancient monastery, built a stable, mill and pasta factory.
The cooperative began rearing cattle, growing cereals which could be sold as such or ground to produce flour or pasta, thus contributing to stopping migration from the poor, marginalised country-side. Farmers were happy to go back to their old jobs and their abandoned homes. New job opportunities were provided to local young people. Twenty years later a large portion of the agricultural land of Isola del Piano had been converted to organic farming.
With its 30 members, 40 employees and a turnover of 12 billion Lire coming from processing and sale of organic products (year 2001), Alce Nero Cooperativa has demonstrated that a new type of economy is not only viable but actually sustainable. In conjunction with its production activities, Alce Nero Cooperativa has been implementing quality and research policies which account for its good reputation as a well-established and efficient company.
Perhaps the most unique and important feature of Alce Nero Cooperativa's work is its cultural and informative activities. These are directed at those customers who are keen to develop a new lifestyle, a more critical way of facing issues such as health and nutrition and, last but not least, the sense of human history. Alce Nero Cooperativa's hills often welcome school-children or groups of people who are interested in learning more about the co-operative's activities, history and natural environment.