Fano 2024 assembly gathering

Gathering of Fano 2024: new beginnings

by | Apr 5, 2024 | Annual General Meeting, Associative life, Featured News, General Meetings

fano 2024 peasant assembly

There are things in WWOOF gatherings over the years that never seem to change, and it is a pleasure to be able to carry them on intact over time. The joy of getting together with friends, Federica’s fine cuisine and the good wine, the dancing in the evening after a busy day, the children’s runs in the hallways, the assembly work filled with new ideas, the positive energy we take home when it’s all over.

However, every year the faces of new people who join, the decisions to be made, the topics to be discussed change: in this respect, the Fano 2024 assembly at the now customary Villa Prelato facility was quite intense, and thanks are first and foremost due to the group of members who for months made themselves available to work on the program to be proposed.

Participation and collective responsibility

By Friday morning, there were already about 40 of us in a circle in the room on the second floor: Elenia and Marta, this time more as trainers than facilitators, continued with us on the path to open our association to greater participation, providing us through a workshop with a series of tools to understand our needs, our expectations, our difficulties. A participatory engagement that needs at the same time a structure to give it form and an enthusiasm to give it content: from the intersection of these two elements we can find the fruitful balance to make even greater strides forward.

A practical case: the Seminasiepi group

In the afternoon, a concrete example of what we mean by participation came from the report that the Seminasiepi group gave us on their activities during the year: beginning with the September course in which seven members were trained on creating hedges to go alongside crops, a series of meetings set out to field agroecological practices so that nature increasingly returns to work in synergy with agriculture, as it always has. Natural farming, the heart of our charter, finds its practical declination, as it should in an association of already active or aspiring farmers.

Peasant women: a feminine agriculture

In the center circle, Francesca, Susanna and Manuela, three women recount the joys and especially the difficulties of their work as peasant women, made more complicated by the daily confrontation with cultural legacies that make this profession primarily a men’s affair, with women almost invisible yet essential at their side. An imagery that scatters its origins over the centuries, and on which we felt it was important to reflect, in the hope that the time has finally come to turn the tables and start a path toward a more just balance.

From the larger circle all around, Sara, Clara, Cynthia, and Federica joined the center to bring their experiences and testimonies, and then also some Walter and Francis, to make the overview of views more complete. The topic is complex and very heartfelt, and ours was only meant to be a cue to keep attention on this issue, in a society that seems finally ready to open up loopholes and look for solutions to break down prejudices and recognize the value of women even in agriculture.

Gratitude to those who have accompanied us this far

It was also an important assembly because we took the time to celebrate in the best way people who have played pivotal roles in our association, and who now continue their journey with us in a more defiladed way. Our thanks for their commitment and attachment to WWOOF go to Francis and Daria, who are leaving the Council, and to Basil, who is leaving the presidency after two challenging and intense terms. And especially to Claudio, who since he founded WWOOF Italy 25 years ago has always given his heart and soul to realize the values and goals of the charter he wrote. Now Claudio is retiring, but he will continue to support us with his historical memory and advice.May the applause he received from the room gathered for the dinner long ring in his ears in recognition of all the dedication and all the wisdom of these years.

The assembly: new assignments, new perspectives

The formal moment of our meeting was encapsulated in the Saturday morning assembly space: in the minutes you can read in detail the votes and decisions made. The final balance sheet looks slightly better than expected and portrays an active and healthy association, thanks in part to a steadily increasing membership. The main mandate of the previous council, namely the transition to a new, more structured staff form, has finally come to an end, and it is now possible to look forward to new projects.

We limit ourselves here to wish our sincerest good luck to Dino, Elisabetta and Lamberto who have been confirmed in the position of probiviri, to Arturo Federico who will join us as the controlling body, and to the new group of councilors Paolo, Remo, Fabrizio and Marcella who will help the new president Gabriele to carry on WWOOF Italy: to them our thanks in advance from the assembly, for their commitment to carry out not easy tasks that we hope will also bring much satisfaction.

Fortunately, joining them in this work of management and planning will be a larger group of members, which we have called the Council Community and which, after a year of preliminary work, has come before the assembly outlining its purpose and participatory methods. A step toward an association that is even more horizontal and full of members willing to be actively and continuously engaged.

Also lending a hand in creating an association with a stronger sense of community will be the technological aspect: in fact, it will be possible for all members to contact each other more easily and effectively through the new incoming messaging tool.

About how a farm can make ends meet…

In the afternoon, after a presentation by Ambra Micheletti of the Contadini Custodi delle Marche, back in the center of the room a small circle of farmers tackle an issue together, opening up to those from the outer circle who want to come in and have their say. The issue, to varying degrees, is felt by all: how to make one’s business economically viable while respecting others, the environment and oneself? Everyone tries to bring his or her own recipe, varied according to personal experiences, geographical origin, and value system. Others struggle to find a recipe, or just don’t have one, and it is difficult to find one-size-fits-all solutions, even if it is agreed that the only way to stand firm in agriculture is to act as a community instead of thinking as an individual. We are witnessing this from Remo and then Luca Pala, a shepherd from the Marche region who, thanks to the support of his customers, is managing to keep his business alive in a time of business difficulties. After all, joint action is the same goal as WWOOF.

…And how, for a moment, not to think about it.

Then, in keeping with peasant tradition, comes the time for celebration. The porchetta, the instruments popping out from under the tables to improvise orchestras, the dancing to the traditional music of the Vicus, whom we had already appreciated in Rassecale in all their youthful exuberance. Then again, for the night owls a foray into the unusual territories of electronic punk where Francis, lead singer of the band Res Crac, showed us how surprisingly diverse a rancher’s interests can be.

Sunday morning, before the goodbyes, ran off in the same mood as the previous evening. On the porch, some 20 stalls put a wide repertoire of healthy, hard-earned and fair food on display and for sale to the more than 100 people who attended the assembly. Inside, there was still time to talk about the “Good Practices” project, the collaboration with Animal Harmonies that this year resulted in a course for WWOOFer with dogs, Eszter’s participation in the Agroecology Europe Forum, and the first year of the CHAlleNGE project activities.

The appointment is for this fall, to pick up the thread of talks that have been started, catch up on what new things each will have to bring, and get back to feeling good together toward common goals.

THANK YOU ALL!

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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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