Valsamoggia: making the local visible

In a meeting with Luca Vanelli, one of  the Municipalities in Transition tutor and Christian Soverini, Valsamoggia’s political advisor for climate emergency, we got to know more about how the local team is tackling the Covid-19 crisis.

 

In Valsamoggia, north of Italy, where the social distress around Covid-19 struck really hard, the Municipalities in Transition local implementation team turned their attention and creativity to think how they could best support the community. Inspired by the work of Riccardo Saporiti in Lombardia region, Luca Vanelli, began creating a platform that could map local activities that have home delivery service to help people in these times of confinement. What happened is that other activities that had no such service were also interested in it leading them into a reinvention of their business.

The map is an open platform where each service can inscribe themselves. Up until now 72 local businesses are present offering a diverse array of services such as: clothes, food, wine, laundry, icecream, pasta and pizza, photography, honey, coffee, tools, etc.

The ripples of this project are already shaping identical initiatives as other municipalities are reaching out to the team to create the same tool for their communities.

The need for this service was quite clear as the online shops of the international distributors of goods were struggling to cope with the growing demand crashing from people. So now Valsamoggia and other municipalities, have a local alternative that respond to their needs in two ways: supporting small businesses that could disappear during this crisis and attend the communities needs with fresh local products.

This work has more to it than just creating a platform that makes visible local services. Creating the platform was also the trigger for services that had never thought of doing home deliveries suddenly having to reinvent themselves to respond to what was emerging and what was needed. In the first days the platform was made public, the services were not ready. Some decided to close, others gathered family members to work as “delivery boys” and respond to this crisis implementing the service by themselves.

At the time of this conversation around 7,000 people have already visited the platform. Although it’s not possible to measure, for now, the full length impact of this initiative this number already indicates it is starting to serve its purpose.

What will happen to this map once the Covid-19 crisis is over? Is this the start of a shift in the habits of consumers? Will the local businesses reinvent themselves permanently? The team doesn’t know but the idea is already evolving into a new action consisting of a “forum” for local businesses to evaluate and plan a possible more permanent evolution. Maybe an e-commerce community owned and shared platform? Whatever the future holds there is definitely a feeling of “We can do this!” in the face of uncertainty, hoping that this seed of resilience, continues to nurture the importance of community long after this “coronated” season.