Sustainable and Charitable Causes Through Gastronomy
The sense of community through eating and conviviality as experienced in Italy has taken a deeper, more significant approach at Apicius and Ganzo through an increased implementation of gastronomic activities sustainable charitable causes. Eating to savor both food and company is a second skin to the Italian culture and one of the principles explained at Apicius culinary courses. In the past few years, the practice of this special concept at the Apicius-operated Ganzo cultural association has become aligned with world tragedies and sustainable causes, beginning with the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
The weekly aperitivo at Ganzo, an Italian ritual where people come together and socialize over food and beverages, was quickly transformed into a fundraiser to send relief funds to Haiti. The experience left an indelible mark on students, faculty and staff. The cultural and social aspect of Italian gastronomy, a learning experience in itself, combined with an organized space in which the cause was briefly explained to Ganzo clients created a new kind of eating consciousness. Eating for pleasure or eating to learn Italian culture was enhanced by eating to sustain a population in need.
Since Haiti, a poignant answer to how eating and gastronomy can change the world has been planted and increasingly cultivated at Apicius and Ganzo. The subsequent "Dinner in the Dark" for the Italian national association for the blind not only offered a creative menu to clients, but was held entirely in the dark in order to increase awareness amongst seeing clients. The following entity to host a dinner at Ganzo was the animal shelter of Pistoia, that has continued the collaboration of offering fundraising vegetarian dinners. Food and art were combined into an exhibition featuring The Ant Theater group of illustrators, the evening coincided with the weekly aperitivo whose theme was organized in light of the nuclear crisis in Japan. When the floodwaters devastated entire towns in Liguria and northern Tuscany, the SOS Liguria aperitivo events offered ongoing contributions to the cause.
Two interesting charitable projects that will be ongoing in 2012 are in collaboration with Oxfam and La Tinaia. The relationship with Oxfam began in Fall 2011 with students who volunteered for the international organization and organized an event at Ganzo. A bigger benefit will be held in April and the co-initiatives will continue to offer important opportunities for students to be involved. As for La Tinaia, an NPO center for creative expression in therapy, the organization has just begun its collaboration with Ganzo. After the introductory aperitivo, a full-blown art exhibition and silent auction will be held in April and continue with a cycle of events until May.
The Ganzo event calendar can be consulted for upcoming charitable and sustainable food events.