You may ask, “why are you posting an article about business and fashion, rather than food?” If you read the attached article that recently ran in the Business Section of the NYT, you will see that the article is more about an Italian mentality and way of life, than it is about fashion or textiles.
It is about pride and quality. It is about artistry, artisanship, and a quest for perfection. It is about obsession and focus. All of these qualities, which have allowed Italy to deliver the very best quality products over the millenia (literally) are now being threatened.
Certainly, the same article could be re-written many times over with regard to Italian food and its producers, for they too are rocked by globalization. Whether it is consolidation or conglomeritzation, the small, family producers who have dedicated generations of their family’s blood, sweat, and tears to their crafts are under siege.
For that reason, I always support the artisanal food maker or grower wherever and whenever possible. Sooner or later, we will all realize that without the very best hand-made cheese, or pasta, or prosciutto, all other substitutes will descend downward and we will forget what the very best tasted like. For Italy, this is a race against time. Can enough artisans survive during a time when cheap and fast are valued over slow and excellent? Sooner or later, the tables will turn, and these artisans, obsessed with their craft, will be vindicated, and their crafts and their products will be properly valued.
Over the centuries, Italy has learned to be patient, like a wise grandparent, who knows that patience is a virtue. But for some Italian artisans, it is too late. For those struggling to remain vibrant, let’s do what we can to support them. Look for and buy from independent producers whenever possible. The article an be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/01/business/global/01italy.html.