My name is Nadia Ginocchio. After obtaining a degree as an accountant in 1988, I worked in the maritime sector on recreational boats for twenty years. In 2014, I was offered an opportunity to start a new experience with the Cooperativa Agricola Rurale Isola di Borgonovo which revolutionised my life and brought me back to my roots. At the age of 45, I was able to realise the dream of having a job that since I was a girl, my grandfather and father had taught me to love: being a farmer. My family, starting with my grandfather Luì, taught me as a young girl to respect the work that a farmer does in this job 365 days a year and enjoy the satisfaction of the fruits of our labour.
For my sister and I, it was normal to collect hazelnuts, grapes, olives, and chestnuts on Saturdays and Sundays depending on the season. Then, in the evening we would meet up with friends in the village square to play soccer. I never called it a real job, to me it was almost always a special day where the whole family and often friends would get together. I still remember that around lunchtime my grandmother Delia would bring us a baciocca or rice cake that she had cooked on an open fire.
The birth of my daughter, Asia, in 2006 contributed a lot to our decision to permanently move to our country house. I wanted her to grow up in a simple environment right from the start, close to my dad so that he could also transmit to her our love for this land. I must admit that it has been the best gift I have given her.
The main challenge I had to face was perhaps the one inside myself. I asked myself, “Will I succeed? Will I really enjoy living like this?,” etc. I would have to say that so far, I have not yet regretted my decision.
Mario, the Cooperative’s president, has taught me that the social purpose of a cooperative is that of collaboration and exchange. In fact, the Cooperative proved to be a source of stability for many members. Right from the start, we concentrated our energies on the enhancement and recovery of our land.
Our agricultural work is diversified according to the seasons: from January to April we mainly prune, fertilise, and cut the grass under the trees, as well as bottle our extra virgin olive oil; from the end of August to September we harvest the hazelnuts; and at the end of September the olive harvest and milling season begins. Milling the olives extends until January or February depending on the season. Each of us has a well-defined role even if for some jobs we often work side by side and help each other. I mainly handle the sales, accounting and financial management of customers and suppliers, and product labelling. Mario works with foreign customers, manages the agricultural production and mill operation and maintenance. Whereas the other men, Luigi, Dino, Simone, Dario, and Riccardo take care of maintaining the hazelnut and olive groves as well as harvesting olives.