Messina / food and sustainability

Currently, Messina is willing to act on food topic in front of the changes in consumer’s food habits. Indeed, if Sicilian gastronomy is one of the prides of Italy it is also an image and a valuable economic sector to preserve. Public authorities, local associations and many stakeholders are gathered to create a barrier to the loss of their food culture.

| University of Gastronomy | The Department of Food Science and Environment of University of Messina will soon become University of Gastronomic Science. They are bound to invest in a new laboratory allowing them to better qualifying local food products. The demonstration of sustainable food buffet organised in the occasion of the LSG first meeting is a good way to promote the whole curriculum. 


Messina has long been a major place for agriculture in Sicily and agricultural activities are still Employment providers in the province of Messina. Currently it concerns 9.700 persons. Agricultural production has an added value of 219 million euros, or about 2% of the total value added of the province. Exports and imports in the agricultural sector and have a positive balance for the province: it imports 20 million, while exports amounted to 42 million euro. The same trend is also reflected in the food industry products that are imported and exported 53 million to 97 million. If figures are good, there is a potential to improve profitability and develop jobs offers.

In the 80’, agricultural sector started to decline in favour of tertiary. Now that unemployment has become a major issue for the city, agricultural sector is seen as a good way for job creation. Indeed, many lands are abandoned with catastrophic consequences of current uncontrollable fire in summer. A good peri-urban planning focused on agricultural land should have positive effects to stem fire troubles and offer opportunities to create new businesses. Various farmer cooperatives would be interest in cultivating the brownfields.
The municipality of Messina will also intend to foster a shift in the seven villages so that they could become the place of profitable growing businesses.

| Az. Agricola Coop C.a.i.f.e | This little family cooperative manage as well the culture of vegetable and the process. Listening to one of the 3 co-op entrepreneurs, the whole infrastructure could serve for other local production. Sales policy could also become more efficient.

Thanks to high schools and University Department promoting of local production and traditional food, young people could be interest in developing new agricultural businesses.  currently, there is a deep need to foster the link between education (school / University) and business skills.

| Its albatros | Fondazione Albatros is a high technical institute that sponsored a course for the enhancement of local products and local production. This private training centre trains for farmers that need resources on communication and management to develop their business.


Delivery is quite classical in Messina. Supermarkets provide larger quantity of food for households. One of the challenges would be to strengthen the organization of open-air markets in most parts of the city where to meet local producers and consumers. Always in this aim, Municipality of Messina and Province of Messina initiate the creation of a brand to promote local products.

| Open air market | Once a month, an organic market takes place in one of the squares of the city centre. The open-air market is organized and run by one of the largest environmental organizations in Italy and involves producers who hold organic certification. Weekly farmer’s markets of whole organic and zero-mile foods (wine, oil, fruit, etc.) are also organized by farm associations (Coldiretti). The open-air markets are periodically controlled by Municipal Police.

The biggest opportunity in delivery lies in the promotion of purchase groups. The Slow Food Association has proposed an initiative for the formation of purchasing solidarity groups, inspired by the principles of healthy and genuine eating. The procurement of sustainable food could be more efficient all the more efficient than the purchasing group is considered as an intermediate level between citizens and producers, and generally facilitates the mechanisms of purchase / sale. This initiative could enhance the revitalization of local economy.

| Purchasing solidarity group | The Slow Food Association has proposed and initiated the creation of purchasing solidarity groups to stimulate principles of healthy and genuine eating. This initiative may facilitate the mechanism of purchase and sale and relink consumers with producers.

Restaurant is another opportunity to raise the interest on local food nevertheless there is still a deep task for encouraging inhabitants to choose in different way.

| Restaurant with half local menu | A project promoting restaurants with half of the food on the menu coming from local production was a successful idea. Nevertheless, it declined with the end of the project subsidies.

How incredible is to notice that foreign visitors could be more interested by local good food menu than inhabitants.

| Agritourism | Agritourism is a growing trend in Sicily that enhance farmers to welcome tourists for local food meals and to host them at the farm. The development of such activities in Messina could become a successful way to revitalise declining farms through multifunctional farming.


Food is entire part of Italian culture. Social life is often described by meetings at home or at the restaurant enjoying the pleasure of sitting at the table, tasting traditional foods with friends. The preparation of homemade food has been in the past a main characteristics of Sicilian culture. Since about ten years, an increasing gap can be noticed between old and new generations. Young people are attracted by fast food and start to lose the pleasure of cooking. This phenomenon is not as strong as in other European countries nevertheless things should be stem thank you to health information and a proper nutrition education for younger generations. Slow food is one of the best partners toward this goal.

| “Mangiamolì giusti” and “Adopt a sheep” | Slow Food organise an education campaign on how to eat properly fish: not too small to secure reproduction and not too old because of heavy metals. Other campaign from Lega Coop consists in building links between cities and countryside proposing urban inhabitants to adopt f sheep in a rural farm: a light idea that induces families to visit the sheep and permit reconnection with territory.

Globally, there is a need to re-find of ancients traditions about production of homemade tomato paste, marmalade, in oil vegetables, etc…that is why the Municipality of Messina has organized, since 2010 and in cooperation with the professional schools of the city, an event called “Novello Day: Aromas and Flavours” to promote local good products.

| The home-made culture | The cooking of traditional specialities used to take place traditionally at home every weeks. Since little time, emerging trend of home-made bread among younger generations can be observed and seems to reconfirm the home-made culture.