Walk in the Sicilian countryside on the 6th floor of Rinascente Milano with Federica Montelli, Head of Fashion and head of the Earth Lovers project, to talk about the environment, the future, young people and agriculture.
If in Milan it is possible to stroll in the Sicilian countryside while celebrating the Sunday ritual of shopping, it is also thanks to Federica Montelli, creator of a project - Earth Lovers. Small habits, big changes - which has transformed the oldest and most solemn shopping cathedral in the city into a path among the brands that are reinventing the future in the name of sustainability. The appointment is on the sixth floor, where the "Fuori Campo" artistic installation is located, created for the occasion by Boniviri with the aim of telling stories, values and products of Sicilian farmers and raising awareness among consumers on the importance of choices. responsible at the table.
A thick carpet of almond shells welcomes us. Alessandra Tranchina, Co-Founder of the start-up and creator of the installation, explains that they come from processing waste and that at the end of the event they will live a third life. Nothing is thrown away in the countryside.
It takes courage, I think, to accept such a project up here. “ We want brands to express themselves freely , always in harmony with our concepts. Earth Lovers was born in 2021 after several projects developed by Rinascente on the theme of sustainability, such as the installation by Sabine Marcelis , a Dutch designer who, in 2019, created a boulevard of olive trees in Piazza Duomo, in front of the store ", I explains Federica, Head of fashion and project manager. Perhaps this is the secret of Rinascente's eternal youth which, despite having turned 100, is more alive than ever.
As we speak, two children approach the installation. Having crossed the threshold of wonder, they set out to discover: they touch the shells, look curiously at the exposed hive, smell the sprigs of thyme, laurel and rosemary, while mum and dad answer the infinite whys. And so daily food is transformed into a story of places, knowledge, people, values.
We smile satisfied. We sit on the old peasant chairs that surround the table of the future, the heart of the installation. It is laid out with a long raw cotton tablecloth on which is painted a landscape of roots rising from the earth. Impressed on the six handcrafted plates are the words that express the meaning of sustainability for small Boniviri farmers: patience, care, endurance, sharing, commitment, knowledge.
"My work requires study and research". Federica has chosen patience. “I really care about selecting authentic brands that know how to express our values and attention to the territory. For Rinascente, giving back to the territory means being present with the sales point for the city, with the city and in the city through valuable projects ". Federica proudly tells me about her latest addition: Beauty Bar for Research . “5% of the proceeds from our multi-brand container dedicated to beauty, made up of sustainable brands, is destined for cancer research thanks to the collaboration with the Piedmontese Foundation for Cancer Research”.
Our gaze lingers on the faces of Boniviri growers printed on large posters suspended above the table. Many are young and with their energetic smiles they tell stories of people who want to take control of the future. “Earth Lovers is our contribution to a better tomorrow. Something is changing, young people are much more attentive to sustainability, but that's not enough. It is important to create educational paths through initiatives like this ".
Our walk in the countryside is over, Federica greets me and leaves, crossing the carpet that plays the symphony of the countryside by now an expert. I decide to stay here a little longer to observe, hidden behind the ancient columns. Meanwhile, the time has come for the children to leave. While the rest of the family moves away, the youngest stays behind pretending to be tired. He looks around slyly, snaps a handful of shells, slips them into his tight pocket and leaves. Happy.
The circle is closed, the miracle of the campaign is accomplished. I am happy too: the Earth, from today, has one more friend.