A Panel Discussion with Dr. Maurizio Cellura (University of Palermo, Italy) and Wayne DeFeo (DeFeo Associates Environmental Consulting, NJ). Moderated by Teresa Fiore (Inserra Chair) with remarks by Jorge Lorenzo Trueba (Earth and Environmental Studies).
The fifth part of this Critical Made in Italy Series, designed and initiated by the Inserra Chair in 2016, looks at environment and nutrition.
The food sector is one of the most energy intensive sectors in the modern economy, and thus a significant contributor to the potential for global warming, accounting for about 20% of the total consumption of fossil fuels in the European Union. In addition, it causes 20-30% of the environmental impact of private consumption, and >50% of the impact from eutrophication (overenrichment of water with mineral and nutrients that lead to aggressive growth of algae that in turn prevent oxygen from getting into the water). Thus, sustainable actions in the food sector are of paramount importance for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fighting climate change.
Sensitive food production as well as consumption practices are crucial for assuring the biodiversity and sustainability of the agro-food sector, and the environment at large. Activated at the local level, these productions and practices can borrow from or in turn be applied to national and international contexts. In some cases, they represent niche productions linked to local socio-cultural traditions and must be valued in order to become tourist attractions and an important economic resource. Through a comparative take, the connection between Italy and the U.S. in this area will be the focus of this program.
The panel includes two presentations.
1. “Sustainability in the Food Sector: an Italian case study, TERRAVITA” by Dr. Cellura
Prof. Cellura’s contribution describes the experience developed within the Italian project “Terravita”, aimed at the valorization of Italian products in the agro-food sector made in areas of special environmental heritage. In particular, the speaker will focus on the bread of Monreale and the cheese of Madonie, two local products of Southern Italy, selected as experimental models for studying their energy and environmental footprint, their socio-economic sustainability and their chemical-nutritional characterization. Some eco-design criteria for improving the environmental sustainability of the examined products will be discussed. The project represents a key experience in focusing on a food product that is emblematic of “Italian excellence” along with discussing ways to produce it in an environmental sustainable way.
2. “Food Loop Cycle in New Jersey: Ideas Suitable to Italy and the U.S.” by Wayne Defeo
Wayne will discuss the relationship between sustainable food sourcing, planning to control food waste, and creating a closed loop cycle with food that can be implemented in any location, whether in the US or Italy. This will be an interactive discussion between the presenters and the audience.
Wayne DeFeo is the principal and founder of DeFeo Associates; a full-service Environmental Consulting firm that provides clients with environmental expertise with a strong emphasis on Environmental Sustainability. Wayne also serves as the Executive Director of the USGBC NJ Chapter. Wayne specializes in the development of sustainable solutions for commercial, institutional and residential buildings, including every component of building operation without forgetting the most important part of the building, the people in it. He helps to develop environmentally friendly purchasing policies, energy reduction strategies, LEED building practices, recycling and solid waste handling systems.
- Organized and sponsored by the Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies at Montclair State University, in collaboration with the Italian Program (Department of Modern Languages and Literatures), the Department of Earth and Environmental Studies, and the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at Montclair State University.
- Inspired by a collection of essays edited by Daniele Balicco (Made in Italy and Culture), the Critical Made in Italy Series was introduced by the Inserra Chair as a space that on the University campus has for the first time opened up a regular and layered conversation about Italian creativity, national identity formation, and transnational circulation of ideas and products. Since 2016 scholars, artists, and professionals in the cultural industry, etc. have contributed to an exchange that explores the complex relationships between culture, business, language, and politics rather than simplistically celebrating one individual country as a business model. The series is part of a larger effort – the Italian and Business project – to which the Inserra Chair has contributed since 2014 with new ideas, organizational know-how, a network of contacts and substantial financial support through the Endowment created thanks to the generosity of Mr. Inserra.
Il paese che cambia. La svolta verde (Repubblica.it; June 21, 2019; part I – article in Italian)
Renzo Piano “L’ecologia fa bene anche al business” (Repubblica.it; June 21, 2019; part II – article in Italian)