Gottolengo, is a village of around 5,000 inhabitants in Lower Brescia (Lombardy - Italy). This year too - from the 8th to 10th September - the Potato and the Flavors Festival was held there. It was the 15th edition of an exhibition that more and more represents and embodies the territory and the Community, offering a "showcase" of a way of being and doing that fits perfectly in the vision of Sustainable Development Objectives.
In a pleasant ambience of conviviality and joy, matching with the traditional agricultural food of the region, an exhibition-market gathered producers and growers to sell their produce, in the midst of beautiful events that engaged visitors, from the show cooking and culinary competitions to the lunch and the supper on the spot, with the taste of typical local dishes: potato dumplings, salami split and the inevitable “Brescia spit”, a local type of kebab made with lots of different meats.
The Potato Festival is thus a show of the local agricultural food excellence, but also something more: it is a "defense" empowering the development of the territorial, cultural and rural patrimony of resources and wealth, tied to the agricultural land. In reality the project consists in promoting sustainable local development, via the organization, of the territory and the local produce according to supply and demand and offering: consumption of the products based on consistency, thereby "connecting" with the territorial food chain that puts value on both typical and unusual food production; and this is a guarantee of food health, the collective wellbeing and the environmental safeguard.
The Gottolengo municipality becomes in this way an example of food excellence, a sector that has for a long time distinguished itself with Italian produce.
Shortening the production chain both improved and optimized the management of the agricultural products, and the market, as a meeting point, has become the center of production itself: this guarantees to the farmers (whether they produce a raw product or a finished one) an operation sheltered from a far too globalised contemporary market , with its risk of impoverishing local historical memory of production in bygone days. In the future , the production chain, composed of local businesses, will assure qualitative production to satisfy the consumers' demand, because the production method trends are geared towards organic methods that has as its roots an ethical-social context valorizing a production free from use of chemicals . What is fundamental is to produce in the local area for the area, so that the whole community can draw benefit from an ecological and local production chain, locally rooted in terms of jobs, food products (natural or transformed), respect of the environment, and of high quality. In line with this ideal with an eye to the future and in the framework of territory promotion, this year the project Gottolengo bread Production Chain began, whose first results were shown during the Festival. The Gottolengo bread project aims to open new markets and new methods of production to local producers ; it offers the possibility to those businesses already present in the area to carry out ecological production; it promotes agricultural products to be transformed on the spot and offers local ecological products. The Gottolengo bread project has so far been able to obtain its “quality certificate of production” label. The salient prerogative of this start up - a fresh way of producing both healthily and genuinely- has its roots in the ecology of the area and its surroundings, and makes use of the increasing transformation of farms that adhere to the project. All the stages, from sowing, and cultivation, to harvesting, cleaning and screening of the crop, to the milling and baking, are carried out by companies in the area and therefore achieve at the same time the aim of zero ‘food miles’ production and consumption.
As the main seed selected was the Gentilrosso grain, a particular variety of ancient wheat that makes tender pasta and which enjoys both nutritional and unique organoleptic characteristics. These characteristics habitually become lost in the innumerable genetic selections and crossbreeding that the multinational seed corporations have been performing in the last fifty years. This has not happened to the Gentilrosso variety used in the Gottolengo bread project, because it was possible to retrieve the original seed and the cultivation was done without the use of synthetic fertilizers and above all without herbicides and fungicides.
Returning to the territory for the territory is, for now, beyond the usual rhetoric of words, the only guarantee that the major aspirations for sustainable development can reach their goals.