In the wake of the initiatives already carried out by the Social Cooperative TMA Group, the project “Coltiviamo i nostri sogni” (Let’s Cultivate Our Dreams) received a funding from the Ministry of Youth and National Civil Service, within the context “Giovani per la valorizzazione di beni pubblici” (Youth for the Valorisation of Public Goods), ranking 16th among over 700 competing projects. The project was recognized as meritorious because its heart contemplates the work done by autistic children with the aim of achieving their desirable social emancipation.

The youngsters involved in the project participate with their contribution to the marketing of products through the attainment of at least one of the steps of the production chain. From cultivating and harvesting directly from the ground to the packaging and labelling of the products, their active participation is expected in at least one of these phases. With this in mind, the most important aspect is the birth and growth of what is the real novelty of this project: a new labelling for all the products made.

“Melansana” brand

It will label quality and genuine food products from certified origin but, as already pointed out, the most important aspect of “Melansana” products is the involvement of children with autism syndrome in the production process. This brand will not have an exclusively commercial purpose, it won’t be used just to single out its products amongst competitors but rather to characterize a different and innovative way of producing a “special” work carried out by special people and the main purpose of its growth will be to raise public awareness of autism.

Although the products are not designed to compete with other brands in the industry, quality standards will be guaranteed by all the required controls. The products for sale will be accompanied by a description of the project in order to convey the social scope. The brand’s growth and its diffusion within the community, will provide a solid basis for the future sustainability of the project.

Fruit and vegetable Crops:

In the regions of Campania, Tuscany, Lazio and Apulia, autistic children have been involved in projects of fruit and vegetable cultivation and harvesting. Consistently supervised by qualified operators, they carry out these activities in group with peers in order to learn the basics of an activity, aiming at achieving a future and desirable independency. They are also accompanied to the marketplaces to sell the products, thus creating with customers important interpersonal relationships that facilitate their integration into the social fabric while learning how to deal also with complex commercial issues.

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