Born in the beginning of 2012 and lasted for about 3 years, the Coordinamento Romano per l'Accesso alla Terra was a grassroots and very local civil society movement tackling the issue of access to land, primarily public land, for young organic and multifunctional farmers.
The CRAT was founded by a bunch of established local farmers around the concerns they held on the way the Agro Romano was being used, I.e. as a reservoir of land for urban expansion. It quickly pick up the interest of a group of youth with the dream of entering into farming.
At a later stage the CRAT was featuring, among the others, the working union CGIL, associations dealing with urban planning, AIAB Lazio - the local Italian association of organic farmers - and established farmers from the major cooperative farms settled in Rome in the 70s at the end of a similar grassroots process. Indeed, the CRAT was heavily connected with the movement of access to land which swept Rome in the end of the 70s and which brought a series of farmland occupation, some of which are still existing.
The Agro Romano is the farming land of pertinence of the City of Rome and notwithstanding the growing interest in the return to the land and a renewed attention of consumers for local productions, the Roman countryside - rich in history and culture and that, for much of the history of the capital has determined the richness and power relationships - lives waiting just for a new zoning plan able to transform farming land into building land.
"Rome has to remain the largest agricultural municipality in Europe thanks to the work of farmers whose survival is constantly threatened by the urban expansion and the absence of generational change." Therefore, the movement called upon local municipality and the regional rural development agency to legislate in support of farmers and facilitate the installment of new sustainable and multifunctional farms in and around Rome.
The CRAT organized a series of direct actions, from painting a mural of farming related images up to the squatting of piece of farmland in central Rome lasted for about 10 days. At the same time, the movement engaged in a debate with various local authority and launched a petition which quickly reached 10.000 signatures. Moreover, it participated in the drafting of two call to tender on public land, one from ARSIAL (the regional rural development agency) and the other from the Municipality of Rome.
The CRAT managed to put the use of farmland back into the agenda of local authority, raising awareness among citizens on this particular public asset. Although the amount of land interested by the calls to tender was negligible, the calls to tender on public farmland have showed the awakening of local authorities on this issue and has been a positive sign. However, much of it was more related to the growing interest of urban dwellers toward agriculture and the farming world than a genuine interest on supporting farming and new entrants. In fact, no extra policies have been developed to support new entrants.
Rome and Lazio
Citizens, Farmers, Local Authorities