` Coldiretti’s "Green Oscars" Encourage Agricultural Innovation - Olive Oil Times

Coldiretti’s "Green Oscars" Encourage Agricultural Innovation

Jul. 20, 2010
Lucy Vivante

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Coldiretti, with 1.5 mil­lion mem­bers, is Italy’s largest farm­ing inter­est group and lobby. (They are not a pas­sive bunch. In early July, thou­sands of mem­bers gath­ered at the Brenner Pass to protest the infa­mous blue moz­zarella pro­duced in Germany. That the cheese was labeled with Italian sound­ing brand names was par­tic­u­larly rankling to Coldiretti members.)

Within Coldiretti, there are a num­ber of sub­groups: for retirees, for women, for young peo­ple, among oth­ers. Giovani Impresa, or Young Enterprise, is the group for those between 18 and 30 years of age. Its pur­pose is to sup­port and encour­age inno­va­tion in agri­cul­tural pur­suits and to that end, it holds a com­pe­ti­tion, the Green Oscars.

This year’s cer­e­mony took place on July 15th in Rome. Giovanni Geraci of Olearia Geraci s.p.a., located in Calabria’s Corigliano Calabro, was among the eigh­teen final­ists in atten­dance. Giovanni Geraci is a third gen­er­a­tion olive oil pro­ducer. Some 800 projects were reviewed by experts in the var­i­ous fields and by pan­elists from Milan’s Boccioni University, Italy’s most esteemed busi­ness school. Coldiretti’s Green Oscars is in its fourth year and prizes are awarded in the fol­low­ing six cat­e­gories: Company Style and Culture, Beyond the Production Chain, Exporting the Territory, Local Development, Sustaining Climate, and Country Direct Selling.

It was­n’t because of the organic DOP extra-vir­gin olive oil that Geraci and his fam­ily pro­duce from their 10,000 olive trees, but because of their use of olive oil byprod­ucts that allowed them to make it to the com­pe­ti­tion finals. They sell bags of Made in Italy” olive pit pel­lets for use in domes­tic pel­let stoves and make organic com­post from the pomace, veg­e­ta­tion water, and leaves. Giovanni Geraci was a final­ist in the Sustaining Climate cat­e­gory, and ulti­mately sec­ond place win­ner. Corigliano Calabro is not far from the coast and the Geracis use wind tur­bines for energy. In Italy wind energy is called eolico, after Aeolus, the mytho­log­i­cal Greek wind divinity.

Other par­tic­i­pants in the com­pe­ti­tion included a man with a nurs­ery stocked with plants that cre­ate the right envi­ron­ment for truf­fles; a Danish woman who is restor­ing the miles of walls and ter­races of her vine­yards in Liguria’s Cinque Terre; and a man who trains fal­cons to be used at air­ports to scare away flocks of poten­tially dan­ger­ous birds.

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Coldiretti was founded in 1944 and its head­quar­ters are in Rome, housed in the splen­did 17th cen­tury Palazzo Rospigliosi. With such sump­tu­ous rooms, you don’t have to go hunt­ing for meet­ing spaces (in fact, the venue is searched out by event plan­ners) and it is here that the Green Oscar awards cer­e­mony took place. Oscar makes one think of the film indus­try awards in California. Curiously, the Geraci busi­ness offices are on Corigliano’s Via Walt Disney, another flat­ter­ing acknowl­edge­ment of California and entertainment.



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