After being uncultivated or abandoned for years, about 100 hectares of lands in Southern Italy (Basilicata, Campania, Puglia, Sardinia and Sicily) are being used again to produce ancient grains, beans, almonds, oregano, saffron and Goji berries. And they are serving for the breeding of buffaloes, goats and donkeys.
What is possibly more important is that the work in the fields, in the pastures, in the educational farms and in the transformation and sale of the products involves the employment of about 180 people in conditions of hardship and in need of redemption and trust, such as people with physical or mental disabilities, ex-prisoners, ex-drug addicts, victims of gender-based violence, unemployed young people and migrants.
This is possible thanks to “Cultivated Lands”, a 3 million euros call promoted by Fondazione CON IL SUD and Enel Cuore Onlus in 2017. The call ended up into the selection of nine projects, promoted by as many partnerships made up of third sector organizations, public and private entities. Seventy three subjects are involved, including associations, cooperatives or consortia, voluntary organizations, farms, municipalities, universities, offices for the execution of sentences outside prison, schools and even a religious congregation.
Private owners gave their lands and they made them available for at least 10 years (the first 5 free of charge or symbolically taxed).
The nine supported initiatives are considered ‘exemplary’, becasue they can contribute to revitalize rural traditions to create job opportunities for fragile people and young talents at risk of exodus.
Furthermore, according to Fondazione CON IL SUD and Enel Cuore Onlus, the recovery of abandoned lands means re-appropriation of the territory by the community. The landscape that surrounds us, indeed, is a mirror of human hard work and of the ability of women and men to make it welcoming and safe by actively collaborating.
Short summaries of the initiatives can be downloaded at the following link>>