Matilde Iungano

Matilde Iungano – Regional President of “Donne in Campo” - CIA Basilicata

 

What does the Regional President "Donne in Campo" - CIA Basilicata mean for social innovation in agriculture, and what contribution can women make?

Innovation in agriculture means recovering the tradition which is the basis for re-elaborating and creating innovation. And this is the theme of the year of the Association Donne in Campo: "Women, Food, Identity - Revitalizing rural cultures, the ancient products of the territories and their history”, with the aim of enhancing the link between the products of a territory and the people who created them, their natural environment, customs and traditions. Making this knowledge re-emerge means revitalizing the cultures of a territory to reclaim them and update them in order to innovate and design the future.

A special awareness of rural traditions, as well as environmental issues and the protection of our territory, is shown by women's agricultural farms which actively participate in the modernization process. “Pink” agriculture, apart from being characterised by a marked inclination towards economic and social sustainability, also aims at sectors such as organic products, PDO and PGI niche productions and viticulture and wine making, through the creation of holiday farms, educational and social farms, agri-kindergartens and agri-nursery schools. In other words, agriculture is the production sector with the highest rate of 'feminization'.

Women's knowledge, their ability to look after the land, soil fertility, health, environment, water and air meets the slogan of Expo 2015: Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life, where feeding also means recreating a harmonious relationship between people and their territory, reviving the awareness that a healthy life depends on the quality of, and the relationship with, the food we consume daily. And our traditional products, for nutritional quality, ease of production and bond of identity with the territory and the environment to which they belong are the evidence of the past but also hope and advice for the future.

 

What are the recent experiences at the territorial level that are in agreement with the theme of innovation in the agricultural world, and what has the role of women been?

Promoting the positive image of female agricultural entrepreneurs working in the field, by valorising both the role of women in agriculture and the commitment of the professional female world in favour of the development of the agricultural sector, is the main goal of our Association; that is why we have created the annual award "Donne in Campo".

Another project endorsed by the Association "Donne in Campo", which recalls a culinary philosophy widely tested in Germany, is Agricatering, which provides for the supply of short-chain catering services offering dishes of the rural tradition in order to valorise zero-mile local agricultural and in-season products in respect of traditional cuisine. In doing so, and at the same time performing an educational function, we have used ancient recipes using fresh, natural ingredients, thus reclaiming the typicality, tastes and flavours of the past.

What are the projects and actions implemented for the coming months?

In the future, we are carrying on the Agricatering project; but as well as recovering the local culinary traditions, the story of the recipes, and the history behind each dish, the goal of "Donne in Campo" will be to recover the rural culture of Basilicata.

Which place, object or recipe best evokes Basilicata?

For me, two objects recall the rural world of Basilicata: the cheese grater, which also has a commemorative aspect since, as some ancient manuscripts report, it was given as a dowry to the brides of wealthy families and also the kneading trough where bread was made and stored, an expression of the relationship of the farmer with tradition and an encounter between land productivity and farmers' ability to change.

As for an ancient recipe, or rather an ingredient which embodies in itself the culinary tradition of Lucania, I think of the “crusco” pepper: it is peculiar to our territory, and its use in different traditional dishes gives them that character of uniqueness and belonging to a specific territory.