Scuola del Pane e dei Luoghi, literally the school of bread and places, is an intriguing definition. It's the description that was chosen for MadreProject, a new project that is about to be launched in Milan, and which was presented to the public a few days ago, before its official debut in the autumn of 2022.
But what is MadreProject and who invented it? Quoting the website dedicated to the project, "it's the first school that invites people to look at bread as a medium to recreate a positive relationship with places. But it's also the first school that suggests that to regenerate a city you need to 'put your finger in the pie', because design is making". Hence the Scuola del Pane e dei Luoghi will offer high level courses for aspiring bread entrepreneurs; training for urban regenerators; educational spaces for those who need a change.
They start from bread, from the ancient and contemporary craftmanship required by bread, to develop a new generation of artisans who will also regenerate territories and activate communities: reinventing the bakery of the future as a cultural centre of proximity. Ambitious and fascinating.
We talked about MadreProject with Davide Longoni, who first of all told us about how he came up with the project: «Since the beginning, I've always trained bakers. Artisans, by nature, train new artisans: it's the profound essence of the very Italian concept of workshop [bottega]. Eight of my ex-employees have opened a bakery over the years: it's a gratification that proves that I've worked well. Today I receive many curriculums from people who want to learn this profession, which used to be considered as a very sacrificing and hard work, and is now a contemporary career, fascinating, and even cool. They come from California, Denmark, and Italy. Given all these requests, I wondered if perhaps I shouldn't open a school».
The fields of wheat in Chiaravalle
From this initial collaboration, and from this fertile soil, was born the idea of MadreProject. Davide Longoni continues: «The school will firstly be a practical school, where people can learn to make bread, how to become a professional baker, but we also want to keep a constant connection with each end of the supply chain. At one end, by exploring the relationship with the land and with the countryside, the idea of an agricultural regeneration, the making of a sustainable agriculture in fields that must be preserved in their fertility. The area of Chiaravalle, a classic example of reclamation which was conducted by the Benedictine monks, has been fertile for 1000 years: we intend to keep it as such, avoiding chemicals and instead applying the good practice of plot rotation and of organic farming. At the other end, we must discuss the supply chain: hence the relationship with cities, because for a workshop to be open, it must be located in an urban context that is willing to accept it. This means understanding the neighbourhoods, their needs, being open to local cultural experiences: this is what I've done over the years, opening shops in which we didn't just sell bread but we tried to find our place in the local society».
On top of the first intense lessons dedicated to those who have already enrolled in this "prototype" of MadreProject, the programme includes also other events open to the public.
For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org - https://madreproject.org/
Translated by Slawka G. Scarso
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Journalist, based in Milan. At 8 years old, he received a Springsteen record as a gift, and nothing was the same since. Music and food are his passions. Author and broadcaster at Radio Popolare since 1997, since 2014 he became part of the staff of Identità Golose