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A Cooperative – Consorzio Siciliano “legallinefelici”

September 9, 2012

As I met with Antonio Grimaldi at his farm, the topic came up regarding a  cooperative he belongs to, so he talked about the coop, legallinefelici.  His farm is the gathering and loading station for the goods to be shipped and produced by the twelve entities that form the coop.  They work exclusively with Gruppi d’Acquisto Solidale (GAS) , Grocery Coops, in the center and northern regions of Italy.  The goods to be shipped up north are loaded on the trucks at all hours of night and day right there at Antonio’s farm.

 The twelve entities which belong to legallinefelici are not only  farmers but,  for example, there are some fishermen in Marzamemi, a town on the southernmost tip of Sicily, Ionian Coast; these fishermen process their catch and the products they offer vary as they depend on the fish caught  at a specific time.  Another member of the coop is a social coop, L’Arcolaio, which has as its primary purpose to provide prisoners in Siracusa the opportunity to acquire a trade and in this specific case it is the production of traditional Sicilian desserts made with ingredients grown on local organic farms. 

 Many of the farmers that belong to legallinefelici grow oranges, lemons, clementines, and tangerines which are shipped north to the GAS.  The merchandise produced is not limited to the fruits mentioned, but more items are made with the primary products such as soaps made with oil, marmalade and more.  Some producers hold organic certification and others do not as the certification process is too expensive for small businesses.

Antonio continued stating that the coop has a vision based on ethical principles.  Last year it gave work to a trucking company which had been confiscated from an illegal entity.  The costs of operating the trucking company were higher than others, but everyone involved was willing to incur slightly higher expenses to allow the company to get back on track; another positive outcome of the acquisition of this specific trucking company was the fact it allowed deliveries to customers throughout the mainland of Italy reaching them directly door to door.    

The coop, legallinefelici, was created about five years ago, and the driving force behind it was Antonio’s friend, Roberto Li Calzi.  Some of the people who work at the coop and make it possible are Gabriele, accountant, handles oil and oregano; Antonio, manages the picking teams and workers; Barbara, quality control and packing boxes; Mario, manages purchase orders and transformed goods storage. 

In conclusion,  Antonio conveyed the idea of how all those involved  have a sense of ownership in the cause and an interest to perform in the best way possible thus leading to the positive outcome they all enjoy.

From → I Siquillyahni

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