CNA Stories. In the olive garden, where innovation is a rebirth

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“Biodiversity lies in pollination, in the color and scent of flowers and leaves. In the different shades that plants have to attract birds, insects, viruses, bacteria…”: this is where dad Leonardo starts from. From the synergies with the earth and the delicate balance of the ecosystem to explain the soul of Sette Aje (seven  rural courtyard), a farm in Santa Margherita di Belice, in the Agrigento area, in Sicily. A business story, but above all a family story, the one we tell in CNA Storie of March. Among these olive trees and vineyards are intertwined the lives of four generations.

Those of  the Cannata family. Many generations have passed since grandfather Leonardo bought the land from Canaddunaschi: a local squire, called dog with two nostrils deriving from a particular nose for business.

After grandfather Giovanni and father Leonardo, an agronomist, the baton passed to the four sisters, Rosalia, Cristina, Agata and Gabriella, who transformed the Cannata family’s land into an entrepreneurial reality.

Under the careful eye of mother Nina and grandmother Rosalia. “My father thought he could not sell,” says Cristina. “He simply didn’t think there would be any profit from this business.”

Cristina and Rosalia, both a degree from Bocconi and master’s degrees abroad, one day decided to put their study  and specialization experience  at the service of the “sette Aje”. “We realized that territories need to be enhanced,” she explains.

In 2019, the company was selected among the finalists of the  Premio Cambiamenti” , CNA’s recognition prize dedicated to innovative start-ups.

“Taking back the indigenous is also about innovation,” says Cristina. “Dad probably didn’t even really know what start up meant and what innovation meant: but he was actually doing innovation with us.” The real innovator is Leonardo himself, who experimented with the agricultural – homeopathic protocol to cure plants by injecting de potentiated disease germs. Generating a valuable circuit: “There is a concept of ecosystem. Energy between plants is transmitted because the stronger plant is able to help the weaker plant. This allows us to keep to zero copper and sulfur components, going beyond the concept of organic and biodynamic,” explains Cristina.

Preserving nature has its costs: applying the agricultural – ecological protocol entails expenses that could exceed 130% of traditional agronomic practices. A difficult choice in normal times, but even more courageous if you think that, due to the pandemic COVID, the activity was at a standstill for three months. Until the Cannata sisters chose to rely on ecommerce, “an important choice, which in turn entailed costs. But we tried to make relationships, to make ourselves strong with others”. In every bottle are the flavors of childhood and the evocative images of an unbreakable bond with the land and with affections. “Le Sette Aje” is the name’s brand decided by daddy: “it takes its origin from the road found in the very ancient maps of our area”.

The reason why remains a little mystery. Which adds magic to this fairy tale that is as fantastic as it is real.









 

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