Congratulations to Professor Gaia Cottino, whose project "Mountains as Laboratories of Coexistence. Migrations and Food cultures in the Maritime Alps" (Montagne laboratorio di Convivenza. Migrazioni e Culture del cibo nelle Alpi Marittime") has been awarded a grant by the Università L'Orientale di Napoli (Fellowship funds of the Alsos Foundation), running from October 2018 to March 2019.
Are migrants an extraordinary resource for the mountain territories abandoned by autochthones? The case of the Maritime Alps.
The contribution of foreign communities to the generational turnover in the agricultural and pastoral sector has played a crucial role in reversing the depopulation trend (ISTAT 2001-2011) which has characterized the mountains during the XX century. 30% of the migrants hosted on the Italian territory currently lives in mountain areas, a percentage bound to increase in the years to come.
The project aims at investigating the phenomenon of alpine migration in an anthropological perspective by analyzing, through the lens of food, cases of successful coexistence in the Maritime Alps of the Cuneo province, junction of food trades historically. An analysis of the relationships between migrants and local inhabitants of the valleys Maira, Grana, Gesso and Stura, can illustrate the basis on which a coexistence came to place through their engagement in the food sector and the extent to which the first became the "primary agents of transition", thanks to their "cultural baggage of food memories and tastes of memory" (Franceschi, Peveri 2014:28).