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The Perabò family project:
The Perabò Family is part of “We Feed the World” project supported by Gaia Foundation.
The project features 50 communities and the work of world-renowned photographers such as Rankin, Martin Parr and Graciela Iturbide. We Feed the World is a photographic initiative that cuts through misinformation to creatively tell the stories of the farmers and fishers who really feed the world.
The exhibition was held in October 2018 in London, Barge House, and curated by Cheryl Newman.
We Feed the World Book is soon to be published.
We Feed the World
Push Pull Zine
Each day at 3 am Rino Perabò rises in the farmhouse his family built over three hundred years ago in the hills of Faedis, Northern Italy. He walks out past the portraits of the Perabò farmers past, into the dark mouth of the barn to where his beloved herd of Pezzate Rosa cows is resting.
Rino knows every one of his thirty cows by name. And once Stella, Colomba, Roma, Parigina, Viola, and their fellows have been milked, they will leave the barn and spend their day wandering freely over his land, which is sparsely fenced, free-range.
Everything the cows eat, Rino has grown on the farm. Everything the cows leave behind on their wanderings, Rino keeps fertilizing his crops. Since the start, the Perabò Family Farm has been an organic, circular system and so it remains.
Every morning a local cheese producer comes by to collect the two hundred liters of milk Rino’s cows produce each day and take the milk to the nearby town of Cividale for processing.
This is a relatively new way of doing things. Not so long ago, like most other farming villages in Udine, Faedis had its own dairy, held in common by farmers who would ‘rent’ it to produce their own cheese. The longer trip Rino’s milk must make today is a sign of the times.
It is hard to imagine an approach to raising cattle more at odds with the ‘Big Agriculture’ approach to farming cattle than Rino’s. His small-scale, agroecological approach stands in marked contrast to mega cattle farms around the world, infamous for the poor welfare of their animals, grabbing community farmland, driving deforestation, and climate change. Combined, the world’s top five meat and dairy corporations are now responsible for more annual greenhouse gas emissions than Exxon, Shell, or BP.
Raising animals on vast scales to meet similarly vast appetites for meat and milk, these corporations are stacking the odds against Rino and farmers like him. Operating economies of global scale, they are undermining the economic life of farms like Rino’s, of local dairies, mills, and businesses that fit with and stem from the places they are in, for all the wrong reasons.
But whilst industrial animal agriculture is intensive in the impacts and damage it causes, Rino’s way is intensive in knowledge, skill, and care. And this is what gives him strength and the resilience to continue in adversity.
Rino is driven to continue what he sees as care for a place that has been passed down in his family for generations. At a time when traditions and culture are being lost, he hopes to be an example of an ‘old fashioned farmer’. To show the younger generations that this does not mean being backward or irrelevant, but is a way to live and work consciously in the world today.
Like his ninety-year-old Mother, Teresita, who taught Rino how to farm and now sits inside deep in prayer, Rino is keeping the faith.