Terre Colte at Villaggio Coldiretti: agriculture and inclusion

Pubblicato il 8 October 2019

Enel Cuore was among those taking centre stage at Villaggio Coldiretti, an event organised by Coldiretti, the Italy’s (and Europe’s) largest farmers’ association, with a far-reaching aim – to investigate not only the economic but also the cultural aspects of food, especially important in Italy where the country’s gastronomic heritage is regarded with justifiable pride. The event, which involved citizens, local and international bodies, universities, associations and businesses, included itineraries, food workshops, educational farms, markets, cookery demonstrations, vegetable patches, gardens and much more. After the first appointment in Milan in July, it was the turn of Bologna, from 27 to 29 September.

Our continued support for the event is clear proof of our commitment to promoting sustainable agriculture and Italy’s food agriculture sector, with all of its cultural implications, as well as the advancement of the charitable initiatives of Enel Cuore, which was present with its own space at the event.

The Enel Group’s charitable foundation also presented the Terre Colte project, launched in 2017 in collaboration with the Fondazione CON IL SUD to develop uncultivated or abandoned land in southern Italy.

Social inclusion and development: a grant of 3 million euros has enabled 100 hectares in five regions to be given over to agricultural production, and as a result 180 people, many experiencing social hardship, have re-entered the workforce.

The stand also included produce from one of the beneficiaries of the grant, the fondazione DIV.ERGO, which in Lecce province has implemented the Utilità Marginale project in collaboration with the University of Bari, the Filodolio social cooperative, the C.A.Sa. voluntary work association, Èspero (a spin-off of the University of Salento), the Pezzuto – Zafferano farm in Salento and the Lecce branch of the (Italian Farmers’ Federation (CIA).

As part of this initiative, around four hectares of abandoned fields have been planted with Jerusalem artichokes, saffron, legumes and vegetables, with the full involvement of local communities. A training pathway has been organised for young people with learning difficulties who are the intended recipients of the farming support programme. Some of them have been given jobs in the project. Further training courses have involved young people of secondary school age, while other youngsters have taken part as volunteers.  

The project, now reaching the end of its first year, has already generated results, which were presented in Bologna by Alessandro Negro, president of the Filodolio cooperative and head of the project. “Beet, rocket and radish seedlings, cultivated in mini-greenhouses using innovative techniques, are rich in nutritional properties and have a concentrated flavour, so are particularly suitable for the gourmet cooking market. The saffron harvest will begin soon.”

Another aim of Utilità Marginale is to promote farming culture among the general public through a series of events to raise awareness of the project and two cycles of free encounters focussing on the biodiversity of the Puglia region, social agriculture as well as European and regional policies.  A convention on social agriculture and integrating people with disabilities into the workforce will be held at the end of the project. From this perspective, “Enel Cuore’s presence at the stand was very important to us,” said Negro. “The Coldiretti Village is a very popular event that has provided visibility for our project and Enel Cuore’s social initiatives in general.”

Finally, tourist visits to explore Salento’s agriculture and history have been organised. “We’ve also involved people from outside the project in the harvest to give them an experience of social farming and contact with the soil,” explained Negro, confirming that agriculture and food are essential parts of our culture and our identity.