News: First documentary of Peasant Activism Project

An Experimental Path

First documentary of the Peasant Activism Project
(40’, 2016, Italy)

A network of independent small-scale farmers and food producers of Central Italy experiments with the “participatory guarantee”, a set of collective and participatory practices that aims to develop an alternative food quality and safety certification. The documentary displays everyday practices and urban-rural relations that constitute the basis of this alternative certification.

As an often-overseen form of “peasant resistance”, the experiment with alternative certifications aims to offer innovative solutions to challenges of food processing at small scales, organic quality standards and the need to prevent black and precarious work conditions.

At the core of the film stands a collective visit for the “participatory guarantee”, while a maker of essential oils, cattle breeders, beekeepers and a baker discuss and demonstrate how through this processual practice it becomes possible to build innovative networks between peasants and co-producers, and to generate alternative economical circuits and food certifications.

Inscribed in the rhythms of the Italian countryside and the efforts to establish a network of new social relations, the protagonists address the difficulties of keeping alive and autonomous an economic and political circuit through local markets, direct food distribution and participation in national peasant movements. Challenging the system of standardized regulations in agriculture and food processing – which favours large agribusiness – the experimental path of the “participatory guarantee” is a work in progress, highlighting to other farmers, food processors and “co-producers” of the network the possibilities of a different scale of values related to the organic-ness of food and to the mainstream work ethic in the countryside. The objective of the “participatory guarantee” is to build personal relationships of trust through shared visits and the establishment of autonomous food supply chain.

In sum, the documentary raises important questions not only with regard to the management of food safety and how we produce and source food, but also with regard to the politics of transparency and trust.

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