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Food Heritage Association

(FHA), in partnership with Anna Tasca Lanza, is a non-profit initiative dedicated to the collection, promotion, and exchange of Sicilian and Mediterranean food culture.

Emphasis on collective and individual food stories from the past and present help create a stronger and more inclusive narrative of the Sicilian and Mediterranean food landscapes.

FHA’s long term goal is to become a point of reference for multidisciplinary documentation of local food culture and spread a vision of food as culture. FHA objectives serve to strengthen local food systems, support creative and scholarly research, and promote food education.

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Objectives

Produce scholarly research and creative expressions centered on Sicilian and Mediterranean food topics in the form of documentaries, papers, books, theater, and digital content.

Develop educational programs, internships, and residencies focused on the investigation of the Sicilian and Mediterranean food landscape.

Facilitate the exchange of knowledge between local and international communities of producers, consumers, farmers, chefs, and other food system participants through cultural events, seminars, workshops on the themes of Sicilian and Mediterranean food traditions.

The setting

Food Heritage Association headquarters are situated at Case Vecchie, home to Anna Tasca Lanza and part of the Tasca D’Almerita winery estate. Located in central Sicily, Case Vecchie is surrounded by 500 hectares of vineyards overlooking vast fields of wheat and olive groves. Case Vecchie has its own vegetable gardens and fruit orchards cultivated by organic principles. The Association’s location at Case Vecchie allows for an active experience of agricultural life, provides immediate access to small scale farmers, and serves to showcase Sicily’s immense biodiversity.

Partnership Opportunities

Promotional partnerships
from global organizations who believe in the mission of FHA and would like to share the mission with their local networks. We ask promotional partners to help FHA gain global exposure through digital communications, the creation of local events hosting FHA members,  and help promote fundraising goals.

Sponsorship partners
willing to contribute through in-kind services or financial contributions to FHA mission. The goal is to have local and global sponsorship partners willing to sponsor FHA activities, events, or publications and advise on initiatives and directives.

Main initiatives

Cook the Farm:
Experiential Food Education

Cook the Farm is an immersive and experiential method of food education that takes place at Case Vecchie. The first winter program was inaugurated in 2016 by Fabrizia Lanza. Cook the Farm courses bring together participants from around the world to cook, eat and think about food landscapes. Lectures, tastings, and hands-on lessons both in the kitchen and on the land encourage students to open their eyes to the complexity of our food systems at both local and global scales. Participants consider the stereotypes that underlie beliefs about traditional cuisines and grapple with the cultural, social, economic, and environmental issues around food. Cook the Farm is offered as a two-month winter session from mid-January to mid-March and as a weeklong intensive course in the fall (next editions in 2021).

Partecipants

Since its inception in 2016, 56 students have participated in the winter session from nine different countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Brazil, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Australia, Egypt, Trinidad and Canada.

Backgrounds

In a survey of previous CTF participants, over 70% currently work in the food industry yet came to the course from backgrounds as varied as finance, fashion, media and education.

Benefits

88% of surveyed participants agree that the program has benefited and improved their: culinary skills, critical thinking, communication, creativity, ability to set and respond to goals and community building skills.

Exchange Programs / Academic Partnerships

Food Heritage Association partners with other educational institutions to offer groups of 6 – 14 students tailored programming in experiential food studies. Working in partnership with food studies programs or culinary arts programs, FHA exposes students to a more immersive understanding of food in Sicily and the Mediterranean from the agricultural to the culinary perspective. Offerings can include winter study programs, summer programs, spring break programs or special trips during a semester.

Academic and/or Creative Residencies

Food Heritage Association offers residencies to scholars, independent researchers and/or creatives who want to document and portray individual and collective Sicilian food stories from a multidisciplinary perspective. Areas of interest can include archeology, anthropology, gastronomy, history, botany, horticulture, linguistics, semiotics, biology, or nutrition in relation to the Mediterranean and/or Sicilian foodways. Residencies range in length from 3 to 12 months. Participants must have visiting / visa permission for Italy, speak the Italian language, and arrive with a topic proposal and output for the project. Residents will be given room and board at Case Vecchie but must secure their own funding. Final products (written, digital, etc.) of FHA Residents may be published and shared with a broad public within various editions of “Notebooks of Case Vecchie.”

Founding Members

 is the owner and Executive Director of Anna Tasca Lanza, a cooking school established by her mother in 1989 on her family’s 200-year-old agricultural estate. For 25 years she worked as an art curator and museum director in northern Italy before returning to her native Sicily. Over the last decade, Fabrizia has transformed her mother’s cooking school into a center of Sicilian food knowledge and culture. She is the author of Olive: A Global History, Coming Home to Sicily, and Tenerumi. In 2012 she produced a short documentary Amuri: The Sacred Flavors of Sicily and is currently working on Amaro, a short film revealing the complexity of the bitter flavor in Sicilian food.

is an artisan blacksmith who has spent almost 40 years creating custom furniture for interiors out of iron. He has a long history of leading non-profit organizations in Italy as well as small businesses. As Fabrizia’s husband, he plays an active role in the management and organization of Anna Tasca Lanza.

Program Director of Anna Tasca Lanza, manages the experiential education programs at the school and works in program development. She has a Master in Food Culture and Communications from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy and a background in education and Italian literature. Her role at ATL allows her to explore methods of cross-cultural communication and experiential education as they relate to food.

Additional Members

first conducted research on minorities in the Mediterranean Basin (Da Milocca a Milena. Un villaggio siciliano vent’anni dopo, Edizioni Scientifiche italiane, 1989, Naples); and then on Andalusian flamenco from a purely anthropological perspective, a musical genre usually perceived in folkloric terms. (Flamenco gitan, CNRS éditions, Paris, 2008, a republished pocket edition of Dire le Chant. Les Gitans flamencos d’Andalousie, EHESS-CNRS, 1998). Caterina is a documentary filmmaker whose work analyzes performance in relation to bodily transformation and transcendence. She is currently working on a theory of performative anthropology, based on comparisons of ritual practice with performance in contemporary art.

is based in Palermo, Italy. Having always been fascinated by the world of communications, food and wine culture, Vanessa obtained her Ph.D. in tourism marketing. After working as a researcher and lecturer in the Sociology of Food Consumption at the University of Palermo, she is now in charge of sustainability at the winery Tasca d'Almerita and is the coordinator of SOStain, a sustainability program for Sicilian wine production.

is a professional journalist and author. She’s a frequent contributor to Italy’s La Stampa and director of the monthly magazine Gattopardo. She’s president of the association Le Vie dei Tesori which organizes a yearly event dedicated to the valorization of Italy’s artistic and cultural heritage. What started in Palermo has now spread across the island and in some cities of Italy’s Lombardy province. In 2018 the event attracted over 380 thousand visitors in 20 days. She’s the author of L’altra storia published in 2012 and the four-time recipient of the Igor Man prize.

is a cultural anthropologist from the University of Arizona. She studies how people interact with their environment through food and agricultural production, focusing on geographic indications (denominations of origin, appellations) in Sicily. Her recent research is about Sicilian olive oil producers and their experiences with a Protected Geographic Indication. She is happy to call Sicily her adopted home and she is passionate about sharing the stories and lessons of Sicilian foodways.

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