RegenerAction 2022: The potential of care and beauty

Return to the time of conscious presence

The economic, social and environmental scenario in which we find ourselves is highlighting the need to redesign current production and consumption models for more sustainable development. The models of linear economy marked by the mantra "exploit-do-throw" have proved not only less economically efficient than expected, but also harmful to the social and environmental fabric, feeding conflict, exclusions and unnecessary economic costs.

In the epoch of the maximum performance and of the instantaneous yield, in which we are all connected but few really united, an aspect has been dangerously neglected: to find the time of presence, of beauty, of awareness.

There is a need for more care, understood as active involvement, as attention and concern for those and what surrounds us: personal psycho-physical well-being, relationships of proximity, regeneration of real contacts, to find the time to live the rural environment and urban spaces. All these aspects can create a positive reverberation on the economic-productive dimension and make it truly sustainable.

Beauty economy: an economy that regenerates individuals, societies and local economies

Supporting the economy of beauty means taking care of the natural, cultural, historical, landscape, food and wine heritage of a territory. It means taking attitudes that know how to value those aspects that, in addition to direct benefits for the individual, positively affect the entire community, the territory and the economic sector. Today this mindset has been institutionalized with the One Health Approach, which recognizes how much human, animal and plant health are closely interdependent. However, it is nothing more than the legacy of the ancient Mediterranean wisdom, which recognized that Nature has its own rhythms and its respect to guarantee nutritional quality and human health.

Data and statistics speak for themselves: the deterioration of mental health and the erosion of social cohesion are perceived as one of the most worrying threats to the world in the next two years, as well as the concerns of climate change, reports the Global Risk Report 2022. This is a challenge that also hits our country hard, and especially in young people and students, the most stressed and depressed in Europe. Returning to the open spaces, natural and cultural, generates undoubted advantages. Today we call it biophiliawhich literally means love for life, because unconsciously we know that where there is green and nature there is life; in the past it was called harmony.

Enhancing this beauty, which only in our country is summed up in a priceless natural, cultural, landscape and historical heritage, also means supporting the economy of small and very small Italian companies that make up the rich urban and rural fabric, true soul of our country, which produce the 17% of our GDP. Investing in care also pays off globally. For every dollar invested in improving the efficiency of sanitation, the World Health Organization (WHOWHO). Reducing waste of resources (such as food) also leads to proven economic improvements: l’Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale 21% reduction in household food waste in the UK has triggered an economic return of £250 per pound invested in the national food waste reduction plan.

Focusing on the care of natural resources, understood as common goods to be valued and protected rather than commodified, and to put the individual and his well-being back at the centre is then beneficial for the economy as well as for the health and survival of the ecosystems themselves.

Care, care and beauty: the pillars of the European strategy

Care and beauty are part of the recent measures and strategies adopted by the European Union to accelerate the regional ecological, climate and health transition. In particular, the European Commission, in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals included in the 2030 Agenda (and in particular to implement the Sustainable Development Goal number 3 - SDG sulla salute e benessere) intraprende azioni per ridurre la mortalità materna e infantile, migliorare l’accesso delle donne all’assistenza sanitaria sessuale e riproduttiva, raggiungere la copertura sanitaria universale. L’UE è anche un importante contributore alle iniziative internazionali in materia di salute: dal 2002, l’UE ha impegnato more than 2.6 billion euros for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria and is actively committed to strengthening regional health systems, combining national ownership and regional coherence. In addition, for the third quarter of 2022, the adoption of a new strategy for assistance and long-term care to strengthen gender equality and social equity through affordable and affordable care services for children and individuals in need of long-term care.

The European commitment to include thehuman development index (long and healthy life, being informed and having a decent standard of living) as the ultimate criterion for evaluating the development of a country.

With regard to the idea of beauty, however, in January 2021 the phase of co-design of the New European Bauhauswith the aim of identifying and reflecting on aesthetic, sustainable and inclusive solutions for our spaces and contributing to the realization of the Green Deal. The movement wants to foster interdisciplinary collaboration to rethink how all environments are designed and built, going beyond the specificity of building and involving transversal knowledge and practices.

When care moves development

Future Food Institute is at the forefront of this transition towards rethinking the parameters and standards of good living, the health of individuals and their environments, a new humanism for development. By putting care and beauty back at the centre, we can sow the seeds for an integral ecological consciousness and transform the food chain into a value chain. Starting from the food and the values it represents, we can create an ecosystem capable of creating truly sustainable, participatory and integral forms of development, designed for the collective good through models of inclusive prosperity.

In Italy there is a priceless artistic and cultural heritage made up of great works and monuments, but also those hidden plots in kitchens, squares, villages, microclimate, history and local identities that contribute to make the "Bel Paese" rich in those nuances and details that envy us all over the world. A priceless value to preserve and protect, yet so often underestimated, misunderstood, wasted.

Spreading a new mentality, that of Prosperity Thinking, is a commitment that the Future Food Institute promotes since its inception through scientific research but also implementing on the field a real transformation, participatory and integral; through events, meetings, debates, as happened on the occasion of the Day of Sustainable Gastronomy or in the debates of Good After Covid and daily from our Living Lab in Pollica.

Pollica (SA), Emblematic UNESCO Community of the Mediterranean Dietand its administration is a virtuous example of how these beauties can be made accessible, accessible and protected. A village nestled between sea and mountains that faced with difficulties such as depopulation and climate change chooses to respond with courage, continuing to invest in the care of the landscape, on the enhancement of the territorial heritage, the improvement of services and the regeneration of agricultural areas to convince people to stay and to attract slow and responsible forms of tourism, to regenerate and not distort.

A commitment, that of Pollica, which has fascinated and overwhelmed us, pushing us to make our contribution with the Paideia Campus – an experimental center where you can learn and live directly the Mediterranean lifestyle. Pollica has thus become an open-air regeneration campus to foster field learning, to teach that starting from care and beauty it is possible to trigger transversal processes and mechanisms to positive sum able to make human, cultural and natural heritage not only alive but also living.

The care, the beauty and the presence return so protagonists also on the occasion of the European agrifood week, through meetings, debates, insights and real planning, such as the Mediterranean Wine Art Festival, the One Health Approach applied to the Mediterranean and the protection of supply chains and new production paradigms for economic regeneration.

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