“Fa Bene Sicilia” – Interview with Daniela Avanzato

“Fa Bene Sicilia” – Interview with Daniela Avanzato

Daniela Avanzato

Having graduated in Economics at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, after seven years in Lombardy, Daniela Avanzato returned to Sicily with the aim of making a tangible contribution to the development of her region, utilizing her project management skills in the Third Sector. Her commitment to Fa Bene Sicilia began with the Community Foundation of Agrigento and Trapani, where she worked on the project management of “Fa Bene Sicilia,” a socio-economic development project from which the namesake social cooperative was born. Now, as President of the cooperative, she leads the startup of this Agrigento-based social enterprise together with the other two partners.

What is Fa Bene Sicilia and why was it created?

Fa Bene Sicilia is an ethical and sustainable e-commerce platform with a selection of short supply chain products from Sicily: agri-food and natural cosmetic products from carefully selected companies following a thorough evaluation process. However, it’s not just a “normal” e-commerce site; it’s a community and proximity store. In fact, purchases are made by joining the nearest Family Purchasing Group (similar to the GAS – Solidarity Purchase Groups model). These Purchasing Groups are small communities that virtually shop together and meet in social activities like social dinners, visits to producers, educational, recreational, and experiential meetings. With their purchases, families help us reduce opportunity inequalities: we are a social cooperative that creates employment pathways for people in fragile situations employed in the management of logistics and commercial aspects. The e-commerce platform also offers the possibility of donating suspended meals and expenses to families in difficulty. This social impact on communities is the reason our cooperative was founded. Indeed, Fa Bene Sicilia is the result of a development project conceived and promoted by the Community Foundation of Agrigento and Trapani (established in 2019, also pushed by the Archdiocese of Agrigento, a founding member) that supported our inception. The project aims to promote an economy of good and fair food, to promote employment, and especially to promote work that cares for fragility. This initiative developed by the Community Foundation was supported by the Peretti Foundation and the “System Actions” Program of the CEI 8xmille funds dedicated to Foundations promoted in the territories by the Dioceses. The newly established social cooperative commits to its fair trade activities in realizing these objectives.

Why join the solidarity purchasing groups?

Because shopping with Fa Bene Sicilia is quality shopping in every aspect that generates a positive impact on the community, the environment, and the families themselves. The members of the purchasing groups contribute with their spending to the socio-occupational integration of fragile people employed in our cooperative. Families will be able to participate in the social activities that we will carry out to promote sociability, relationships, and greater awareness of the need for an ethical and sustainable food supply chain. Another reason to join: the products we offer to families are carefully selected and guaranteed.

How were the entrepreneurs involved in the Fa Bene Sicilia project chosen?

We have developed a process for selecting our suppliers that allows us to evaluate companies in a precise and quantifiable way: an evaluation questionnaire that “measures” the quality, ethics, and legality of the company, environmental and social sustainability; followed by a visit to the company and then the organoleptic testing of the products, meaning we test the products before they reach your tables. In summary, two principles guide our selections and our concept of quality:

  1. Taking care of the generations that will come after us
  2. Taking care of your families as if they were our own

Do you think our province, the social reality of our land, is ready to understand the message and purpose of the GAF (or GAS)?

Fa Bene Sicilia targets responsible Sicilian consumers: attentive to health through food, environmental protection, workers, and communities. We believe our land is mature enough to seek these attentions. The time is certainly ripe: the fragilities and inequalities further exacerbated by the health emergency, as well as climate changes, are evident to all of us. Making responsible and sustainable choices, even in our own shopping, if multiplied by each of us, can change the course of our communities towards greater social and environmental sustainability. But it is also true that not everyone knows how the current dominant purchasing models work: in many cases, they are based on long-radius transports that emit avoidable amounts of CO2; do not support local producers, preferring convenience at any cost; are responsible for an unfair redistribution of value in the supply chain that leaves farmers with only crumbs. We are also here to spread more awareness on these issues.

How to join a solidarity purchasing group?

With the e-commerce, we are at the starting line, and you will find us very soon at www.fabenesicilia.org. On our site, there will be a “Family Purchasing Groups” section where you can view the nearest group and send a membership request (there is no subscription or cost for joining). From there, you are free to make responsible purchases! While waiting for the site to be online, interested people can write to info@fabenesicilia.org or call 3518039379.

What initiatives have you thought of for a “responsible” gift?

Fa Bene Sicilia launches its activities at Christmas and has thought of Christmas boxes for those who want to contribute to the promotion of a good and fair food economy starting from their Christmas gifts. A mix of peculiarities and enogastronomic excellences to give as gifts or share with the family. For info, you can write to info@fabenesicilia.org or call 3518039379.

2560 1706 Fondazione Comunitaria di Agrigento e Trapani
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