Slow Food is collecting donations to help those affected in the recent earthquakes...
Events like the recent multiple earthquakes in and around the region of Emilia-Romagna inevitably affect all the members of our association, which is so rooted in this country. The disaster involves our friends: convivium leaders, Slow Food members, osteria owners, chefs, farmers and producers of beer, cheese, balsamic vinegar and wine. The immediate reaction is to wonder how we can help, even if it's unclear where to start. After the first strong shock on May 20 we were wondering what initiatives to launch. Then the new quakes of May 29 and the continuing swarm left us dazed and at a loss for some time. Now, however, the association's network is again gearing up to help as best it can.
We have started a campaign to raise funds to support the hardest-hit communities and producers. After the second strong earthquake the number of people involved and the scale of the damage became much worse. It is certainly too early to understand who will have the most need of the funds we raise. Presumably those who have taken out a loan based on a business that has now ground to a halt, small-scale farmers who were already struggling to make ends meet, those who have lost everything. Slow Food Emilia-Romagna and the Slow Food Italy offices have already been hearing from many of those affected.
At the moment the association is very active in the impacted areas, trying to understand more specifically what damage there has been in the most isolated rural areas, damage to producers who do not have the same strong voice as many other local industries that have quite rightly launched their own appeals. We are visiting people to see how they are doing. We were struck by Antonio Previdi, from the Osteria Entrà in Massa Finalese, near Finale Emilia, who immediately responded to Slow Food Emilia-Romagna's appeal to restaurateurs to get in touch with their local network of producers and to visit them in order to see how their business has been affected. Unfortunately Antonio was forced to close his osteria after the second earthquake, when it was declared unsafe, but he was soon active again, working with us along with all the other members of the Emilian Slow Food network who are mobilizing as much as their personal circumstances allow.
We will start raising funds; soon they will tell us how they can best be used, which we will communicate. But for now we can promise that as soon as the situation has normalized, as soon we don't risk being intrusive, we will organize trips for convivia from around Italy to go and eat in the osterias, to buy from the producers, and most of all to physically express our solidarity with them. In cases like these, having a friend coming to visit can be just as useful as donations of money. Our friends, and all their fellow citizens, need not feel alone in the coming difficult months.