Rural bread is the focus of the “Agro per Agro” social work project. It is produced by a small community in Cremona, with a circular economy approach and guided by the principle of integration for people with disabilities. The ingredients: a short and sustainable supply chain for organic wheat, stone-ground flour and the rediscovery of ancient and genuine flavours. The initiative, organised by the Cascina Marasco Agricultural and Social Cooperative of Cremona, was made possible thanks to the support of the social cooperative Agropolis onlus, the charitable foundations Fondazione Cariplo and Fondazione Comunitaria, the Cassa Padana bank and Ocrim.
Circular Economy And Social Integration
“Agro per Agro” is a small project with a big heart. It stands for values such as social inclusion, environmental sustainability, ancient farming traditions, mutual aid and community well-being. We are in Cremona, at the head office of the Cascina Marasco Agricultural and Social Cooperative of the Agropolis nonprofit organisation, which was established to promote initiatives supporting people with disabilities and their families. The idea of producing rural bread came about almost by chance while discussing new initiatives to be implemented in the area. The available resources are organic wheat, grown in the fields of Cascina Marasco and on nearby farms for a total of about 32 hectares, and the stone mill donated by Ocrim, which makes it possible to set up a short supply chain and rediscover the quality and ancient flavours of stone-ground flour, and friends with disabilities can also be involved in the project. The project is taking shape also thanks to the involvement of Davide Maffezzoni, an expert baker, who decided to quit his business – although well-established – to produce Agro’s bread so that he could feel ‘fulfilled’. Funding is coming in courtesy of Fondazione Cariplo, Fondazione Comunitaria and Cassa Padana. Restoration work is already underway on the former tollhouse, a late 19th-century farm building in the Cascina Marasco. It will all be ready by September and the people of Cremona will have the chance to taste the wonderful bread and baked goods of “Agro per Agro”. Tomaso Tavella, president of the Cascina Marasco cooperative, announced this at a press conference where he stressed the fact that this ‘small, remarkable project – small in numbers yet remarkable for its values’ is driven by a single desire: to contribute to the sustainable development of the area, promote the culture of diversity, the right to beauty and the value of traditions.
Not Just Bread
Food, and especially bread, has always been a major factor for social cohesion. The “Agro per Agro” project is not only about social aggregation, but also has an important educational role to play: in fact, the Cascina Marasco laboratories will be hosting training courses on the art of baking, natural farming methods and healthy eating habits. Who would have thought that Ocrim’s small act of solidarity, such as donating the BioStoneMill stone mill, would have led to a project of such magnitude? Ocrim’s CEO, Alberto Antolini, stated that the company is proud to contribute to the development of a local project that combines social work with a short and sustainable supply chain: ‘Our company has been promoting the supply chain concept for many years. For the “Agro per Agro” project, we found the “BioStoneMill” stone mill to be ideal as it perfectly combines ancient know-how and technological innovation so that balanced and healthy high-quality flours can be produced.’