Our first farmer co-operative partner who keeps inspiring us!
We are privileged to launch products from a 100 farmers strong co-operative who shares our values and vision with focus on full transparency and social justice. When I first met them, I shared our vision to implement a transparent supply chain to support farmers from Central India. Their story, how they started 40 years ago and currently having a 100 farmers strong co-operative operating from Marche, Italy gave me more motivation to realise this project.
I reached Senigallia station on October 2 where Veronica, who works at the co-operative, picked me up. I stayed in a small village called Montecarotto from where we drove next day to the co-operative. I started the visit with the stone mill Molino Spoletini still powered by water in winter session. Currently in it’s fifth generation run by Samuele, the mill uses artisanal, hand crafted stones (about 200 years old) from the region which are driven by a turbine below the mill. The water from the reservoir flows via 80cm pipe from a height of 40m to drive the turbine. The water flow is about 100 litres per second which is sufficient to keep the mill operational.
After the grains are husked and delivered to the mill, they are brushed mechanically to remove any impurities from the grains. In modern mills, this is done at high temperatures which impacts the nutritional value of the grains. The next step is grinding using the stones. A special level is used to control the separation between two stones for different grain types. The grinding is done at 30-35 C to keep nutrients intact. The separation of grain and flour is done at the next stage where the rest is used as fodder for animals and the flour is packed in paper bags for the co-operative.
Next stop was the husking and decortisation plant. The raw grains harvested by the farmers are processed hear before they are sent to different processing centers. An example of pre and post husking is shown below for Spelt.
After the visit we went to the co-operative to meet it’s president Bruno Sebastianelli who along with few farmers started this co-operative 40 years ago for biodynamic farming.
The co-operative is located in the province of Ancona, near the castle of Piticchio, among the sumptuous hills of Marche region, whose beauty baptises the products still in its infancy.
Given a farmer’s co-operative, the co-operative strives for
- Safe guard for small farmers
- Workers rights, Ethical finance
- Sustainable facilities: Solar panel powered buildings
- Sustainable organic farming through projects: Humus , Rete Semi Rurali, ADESSO PASTA/CO-energia
- Protecting indigenous seeds and reviving old traditions through
- Cultivation of Indigenous/lost seed varieties such as TAGANRO’®
- Preservation of ancient heritage: Stone Mills
- Importance to artisanal skills: Traditional Pasta Recipes, Farming methods
After lunch break, we drove to meet Renato, one of the founding farmers of the co-operative. We sat down to discuss on how they started their journey 40 years go, what motivated them at that time and their advice to future farmers who would like to setup a co-operative. The talk went for about one hour which I will upload as a podcast for easy listening. The podcast is in Italian and English. The talk touched upon many aspects revolving around farmers rights and transparency which are import to us. Many thanks to Bruno, Renato and especially to Veronica (who translated to me in English) for the interview.
Given lack of time, I could not make to the partner co-operative, Isola Sociale who produces Taralli for us. We planned to visit them in my next visit! I hope you got a good overview of the co-operative and who is working behind for the products we offer. Please get in touch with us if you have any suggestions, questions or need more information.