Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Keeping It Local

Italy is not a place of Wal-Marts, Krogers, and other big chain stores.  Food production is on a much more local scale in this land.  Where the soil is rich, things tend to grow and the families here in Italy take full advantage.  Small family farms of wheat, hay, olives, and grapes dot the landscape.  Many a family with at least a small strip of land is producing something.

We witnessed in Sicily how a number of the larger wineries and olive factories all had contracts with local growers.  This both makes economic sense and it kept business in touch with the little man.  In order to keep production  up, the producers choose to have a large number of small contracts instead of a few large ones.  If some of the growers have a bad season, then the production facilities don't suffer very much because the contracts allow them to have many other resource pools to draw from.  Keeping the small contracts also allows for many small family operations to keep their farms out of the hands of large corporate entities.  

Keeping it in the family is a big deal for Italians as we witnessed through our tours in Sicily.  Instead of profit in mind, these farmers and growers produce their goods out of a general love for what they do and a love for the land which they inhabit.  When I walk around the towns here in Italy, it is neat to see all of the mom and pop meat shops and produce stores selling goods gathered from only a few miles away.  These kind of stores are a rarity in America which I am a little sad to see, but I do understand why.

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