I Wanted the Mill To Be a Port in This Yellow Sea.

words: Rita Brugnara e Nicola De Vita

A passage from the story published in Dispensa n. 12, December 2020

“This territory, mine, where I was born and became an adult, is my history. My grandfather was a farmer, and so was my father. My roots are in Daunia, pulling them out wouldn’t make any sense. Many have left, but I chose to stay. For the beauty of this land, to take of the earth, so it doesn’t abandon us. I consider the mill our common home: mine, and of all those who participate in producing, harvesting and processing the wheat. We’re so much more than a chain. We’re a community, where everyone has a role, a task. Our goal is to grow our wheat well, grind it up, produce our flour. Choose whom to sell it to. Our. Our. Our. It’s a word I repeat often, but not often enough. In this word lies philia. We haven’t been scattered; our land and our wheat have worked the miracle of keeping us together, united. When we had to decide where to build the new mill, there wasn’t a doubt in our minds. In the fields, among the wheat. A risky choice, to some. We’re inconvenient to reach, you have to get off the main road. It takes longer. And the market is always in a hurry. I understand, but we don’t sell to dealers, it would be a contradiction. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night, it would seem like selling off a part of me. Money, gain is important. But what about nature? It would be a betrayal of philia. The love that, from one harvest to another, consolidates our union. And nature notices if you do it harm, defending itself the only way it knows. It simply doesn’t make sense. I wanted the mill to be a port in this yellow sea. The beating heart of philia. And that’s what happened. The farmers came, they realized who we are and what drives us, and they trusted us. They finally have a safe place to take their wheat. They’re no longer forced to sell it with no knowledge of its final destination. The mill makes me into a sort of father who gathers his children around him, offers them a vision and prospects for the future. And a certainty: the ability to establish a relationship, through me, with the end consumer. Without all those never-ending, uncertain, useless negotiations.

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Photo di Maria Palmieri