Allegrini 2018

Oscar Farinetti: “food, “sublime obsession”? Could be, together with love and culture”.

The keynote lecture by the founder of Eataly to Luiss Guido Carli. “Food education enters schools immediately”

How food can evolve from a simple obsession, the one we have in our genes as descendants of homo sapiens committed to being fed, to an obsession of higher caliber, ennobled by the integration of love and culture: in 500 lines and 9,000 words, Oscar Farinetti , “Fanatic of slightly rough numbers because the path of our life is made up of imperfections", built his “keynote lecture” on “Food: sublime obsession” commissioned by the Guido Carli Foundation and illustrated in the Aula Magna of the Luiss University Guido Carli in front of an audience of students and authoritative guests, including the Minister for Public Administration Renato Brunetta, the Mayor of Rome Roberto Gualtieri and the former Minister for Constitutional Reforms and Group Leader in the Chamber of Deputies of Italia Viva, Maria Elena Boschi. But the founder of Eataly, in his illustration, conducted in a brilliant way amoung personal reflections, historical quotations, appeals to support the important themes brought forward by the Guido Carli Foundation and remembered by the president Romana Liuzzo in the introductive greetings, or the official introduction of the food education in schools and an invitation to the world of fashion not to use “undernourished” models under size 38, also offered the audience his interesting considerations as an entrepreneur capable of “selling the Italian art of creating quality food in 17 nations”. “By going to those countries - underlined Farinetti - I was able to truly understand Italy. From there we understand how much Italy can really feel good in the world space”. An empirical entrepreneur but also a visionary, Oscar Farinetti has a very clear path on which Italy should now concentrate, that of a country totally devoted to and dedicated to organic farming. “Imagine - said the founder of Eataly - Prime Minister Draghi announcing that “Italy is an organic country” would be a wing blow for the Italian economy after the pandemic. Let's do it, before others do it”. Because Italy, and Farinetti has no doubts, is the “caput mundi” of agri-food, but Italian citizens are not sufficiently aware of it, nor do they know how to properly appreciate the agri-food excellence of the various territories. And this is precise because there is a lack of food culture and education. “Let’s use this moment - said Oscar Farinetti from the stage of the Luiss Guido Carli University - to immediately introduce food education in schools from next September”.
“The five basic activities of life - explained Farinetti - are eating, loving, studying, working, dreaming. In particular, food has become an orgasm, it is not just a duty, it is also a pleasure. But with food “a valley of joys and tears opens up: the first tear is that we eat other living beings, hence the fact that, as always, there are those who are strong and rich and those who are weak and poor, and this represents the second tear. Looking at the data found on January 14, 2022, out of 7,921,707,143 inhabitants, 857,581,480 were undernourished, 23,428 died of hunger but there were 1,722,586,132 overweight and 800,332,039 obese. Still, 24% of Italian’s annual expenditure goes to food but 2 million families are in great difficulty and there is a 30% difference between North and South”.
If there is still hunger and bad nutrition in the world - Farinetti underlined - it is also true that “only 200 years ago less than 10% had enough to eat and 90% were struggling”. “I believe in the human capacity to progress - declared the founder of Eataly - in the good heart of humans, in happy growth!”. Moving on to the “pains” associated with food, the “third tear” is that “there is no food education. There are, in fact, those who use plenty of chemicals, those who kill pigs and calves born a few weeks ago without any merci, those who put funnels in the mouths of geese to gorge them and make their liver swell, those who make the chickens life as if they were in Guantanamo. And then we eat too much meat, eat half of it and we will stay with God”. And there is still one last tear, which concerns obese people: in Italy there are 5 million, 3 million anorexic and bulimic. “Against perversions - is Oscar Farinetti’s invitation - bread and jam! It costs less than a snack and makes you enjoy it twice as much! In Italy 50% of Italians eat badly. The only answer is agri-food education. If a product respects both nature and your body, enjoy more, enjoy twice as much”.
Farinetti then recalled the indisputable records that Italy boasts in the agri-food sector. “It was the Romans who invented modern agriculture, from automatic irrigation systems to the modern mill, the modern combine and plow. Let’s not forget that it was necessary to feed 1 million people in the city, 5 million in Italy and 50 million throughout the empire. But how many of you know the difference between durum wheat and soft wheat? In Italy, durum wheat is used for semolina and pasta, while soft wheat is used for flour, bread, pizza and pastry. We are among the largest producers of durum wheat in the world and among the smallest of soft wheat. We are the best food artisans in the world, the best cooks in the world, among the first in Europe for numbers of organic farms and we have the least polluted agricultural land and the deepest agri-food biodiversity on the planet and the most widespread network of taverns typical, are we up to it? No. We do not understand why we have to pay 15 euros for a bottle of Extra virgin oil, when for a true Italian extra virgin olive oil, only carefully cultivated Italian olives are used (538 olive cultivars against 60 in Spain), harvested with great difficulty, cold-pressed and transformed slowly”. “What can be the remedy? - added Farinetti - Food education! I propose that it be officially placed among the first level school subjects. Each nation has the duty to focus on its own vocations, educate young people from childhood, so in about twenty years we will have a ruling class with clear ideas”.
“I think they will - observed Oscar Farinetti to microphones of Winenews - and I went to speak personally with the teachers, they are organizing it themselves. We also proposed ourselves as it did Fico in Bologna to be an educational place, we care a lot, another pole can and certainly will be the University of Gastronomic Sciences of Pollenzo, but all this must be done, a country must cultivate its own vocations and this since childhood, so one day we will find ourselves an awake ruling class”.
In the post-pandemic phase, Oscar Farinetti told Winenews, it is more necessary than ever to accelerate the pace: “we need to double the exports of our excellences, going from 50 to 100 billion, the world can’t wait to buy them and then we must double the presence of foreign tourists in Italy, even there, for example, to declare Italy as a totally organic country, the cleanest country in the world because we already are, our restaurants are the cleanest in the world, our production companies, even those of wine, are immensely cleaner than other nations, let’s go and tell the world about it and we will double the number of foreign tourists”.
A chapter of the keynote lecture was dedicated to food and TV. Here too the numbers speak for Farinetti who accounted 136 broadcasts on the subject and “a universe of blogs”. Most of these broadcasts are rejected by the founder of Eataly who asks for less show and more professionalism and clearly says, with a playful challenge to the chef from Campania, how he would like Antonino Cannavacciuolo to explain the recipe for spaghetti with tomato sauce, with attention to territoriality, quality and identity of the ingredients underlined “from A to Z”. The Honorable Maria Elena Boschi, former Minister for Constitutional Reforms, spoke applauding to the initiative of the Guido Carli Foundation to support the mandatory nature of food education in schools, “because it is important to know what we eat and drink. So it is important to learn the properties and quality of food from an early age”. “That of agri-food education - said Maria Elena Boschi to Winenews microphones - is somehow the best assurance on the future and on the quality of our life. Anything that is invested in terms of resources on food education is then saving in terms of the health system in the future”.
The Mayor of Rome, Roberto Gualtieri then brought his greeting (explaining that he could hold back briefly in view of the planned torchlight procession of solidarity for Ukraine): “Sublime obsession is a captivating title - said Mayor Gualtieri - is the description of a theme that we would also like to bring into the politics of our city. Food is central and a food policy is an essential condition for facing the challenges of our time”.
Gianni Letta, honorary president of the Guido Carli Foundation, closed the proceedings by observing that Oscar Farinetti’s “keynote lecture” “was extraordinary, fascinating, captivated us”. Addressing the university students who attended, Letta said: “guys, I think you have rarely attended a lection that everyone hoped would never end”. Interviewed by Winenews about the intention of the Guido Carli Foundation to push for the introduction of compulsory food education in schools, Gianni Letta observed: “in schools, it would be right to introduce it, but simply insert it like this, in the current school system, it would not be entirely harmonious. Therefore, since it is always said that the school system must be updated with the evolution of the times, I think and hope that food education will enter into a general reform of the school system and a revision of teaching subjects. As for the idea of Italy as an organic peninsula, I find it beautiful!”.

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