Fall coordination meeting 2023

It went a thousand miles, the coordination meeting of WWOOF Italy. After meeting last fall in the foothills of the Alps, this year Campania welcomed us from October 5-8, confirming the itinerant nature of these meetings. It is our way of staying close to the territories, and touching the great variety and complexity of our member, which is our richness. At Rassecale (Mirabella Eclano, AV) we were welcomed by a young community, now undergoing renovation but still with many projects to come: Marco and Pauline are running their wonderful vegetable garden, Marina has moved from Spain to help with the animals. Arrived here as a WWOOFer, her story is a testimonial on how impactful our association can be both on agricultural practice and on people’s lives.

Fridays: the members’ word

The meeting was open to all members, first of all to local coordinators, but more generally to anyone who wants to play a more active role in the association. Some 30 members have arrived to Rassecale, in line with the numbers at the fall meetings: a hard core of members who attend regularly and who are now friends have been joined by others curious to go deeper into the structure of the association. Concerns about a changing world were part of the discussions: from the climate emergencies that have devastated some territories and force reflection on how WWOOF can support those affected, to the decreasing care and interest of WWOOFers in farming activities. There was room for everyone to tell their stories, bring their input and make suggestions, from how to be incisive with more “political” action to the need to improve communication and interaction among members. Lots of topics were discussed and lot of ideas for the future arose: there is still much work to be done, but for farmers the work is an incentive.

A glimpse of the world

In the afternoon, Eszter, Gabriele, Francesco and Stana reported about the international meeting held in Canada in September, in which they participated on behalf of WWOOF Italy. A leap from the local to the global, reminding us that the game is being played on multiple levels, and it is within our chords and possibilities to play an important role on both tables. Ties within FoWO and with other organizations are being strengthened, by widening the circle even more and setting more ambitious goals.

The circle widens

We had started to talk about it in Fano in March, we continued in June in Cortona (meeting report here): how to make decisions in a more participatory and democratic way? How to encourage members’ active participation in the association?

On Saturday, it was again Marta and Elenia, our trusted facilitators, who accompanied us to find answers to these questions. Work continues to give structure and content to the idea of an Enlarged Circle of members to support the board during its work of running the association. It is a long job, we realized: the topic is complex and the possibilities are many. And it is also a tireing process; we all realized this when our strength and concentration waned toward evening. But with each meeting, one more piece is added, and with the creation of a working group to refine the project, we expect to arrive at the Annual General Meeting with a concrete proposal to submit.

In the meantime, waiting for the Annual General Meeting in March, Ciro introduces us to the Farmer’s Camp project that will take place, again thanks to the hospitality of Il Rassecale, in the first days of August 2024. These will be days of sharing and discussion devoted mainly to peasant practices although the political sphere will certainly have its place. It is an initiative that Ciro intends to promote in his most direct relational circles: WWOOF and Genuino Clandestino; the aim is to start with a local “prototype” and then move on to the multiplication of similar initiatives in the territories.

And then…there was dancing!

It would not have been a WWOOF gathering if after the long sessions had not come from Federica’s kitchen carefully prepared dishes, in which Rassecale’s products gave confirmation that beyond the good looks there was also a lot of taste inside.

Accordion, flute, and drum made the taranta rhythms familiar even to those who came from afar, and those who came for the first time took home the idea that, just as important as the afternoon’s themes, being good together is the driving force that motivates so many to return and participate.

Flavors of the South

Before the breakup, on Sunday morning the Rassecale covered square was filled with stalls of vegetables, small artisans, and seeds to be exchanged along with the knowledge needed to make them grow. Perhaps some of this will have already germinated for the next event: in Fano from March 1-3, 2024.

Pubblicato da Fabrizio per WWOOF Italia

Sono socio attivo di WWOOF Italia come coordinatore locale e affianco lo staff nelle relazioni sul territorio. Per contattarmi: fabrizio.romagnoli@wwoof.it

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