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Pasta Brings Migrants Hope for the Future

by Mandeigh Wells-Ali

Where can you find Hope, Peace, Joy, Trust, Soul and Courage in today’s rapidly changing world?

...At with a brand new range of organic pastas!

Grani di Gaia – the grain of the Earth is an inspiring new venture that is not only engaging migrant refugees in meaningful work, but also supporting a growing industry of organic farmers in the heart of Sicily in the production of pasta, to reach out to further European markets. The social enterprise is led by migrants who are participants in the Sicilia Integra programme, a collaborative which focuses on the integration of migrants and Sicilian youth through organic food products. Here they are learning skills in organic agriculture as well as how to make hand-crafted pasta at Sicily’s foremost bakery - Forno Santa Rita, to unify them into their new lives in Sicilian society.

Using high quality and low gluten ancient organic grains, Grani di Gaia artisan pastas are lovingly made from Timilia durum wheat, which is stone ground and then bronze extruded to give the perfect rough surface to support the sauce. Following a five-week intensive course in Design for Sustainability and Organic Food Systems, the migrants have been trained in skills that will stand them in good stead, whatever the future holds.

May East, Gaia Education Chief Executive said “Sicily has long been a crossroads of culture and agriculture and there is an urgent need for integrated approaches that could support the socio-economic integration of the growing flux of migrants while promoting new sustainable trends to enhance the Sicilian local economy. This project which is the first of its kind, is a vital step in creating an integrated, multicultural solution. As the Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini once said "Life is a combination of magic and pasta" For our team at Grani di Gaia, Pasta is a combination of opportunity, integration and new life!”

The project was recognised as an official contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals back in summer 2016, it is funded by the Global Whole Being Fund and Lush, in a partnership between Gaia Education, University of Catania, Il Girasoli and Don Bosco 2000.

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