ECOSOLPOP means ecological, solidarity and working class (ECOlogico, SOLidale, POPopolare in Italian). The market was created by Scup, a group which occupied the former Motor Vehicle Department building in the heart of San Giovanni neighborhood in 2012 and, after the evacuation in 2015, moved to a State Railways site used for loading and unloading goods, near Tuscolana station.
A walk through the stalls
The first Sunday of each month, the market gathers several farmers, craftsmen and artists.
Ecosolpop aims at being not a only a place to exchange goods, but also culture, points of view and experiments; in fact, just aside the market, there are always many organized activities. “There are often workshops for children, concerts or popular music shows both for children and adults. Then, a social lunch, which is always an important get-together, exhibitions, installations, book presentations – tells us Clara, member of the group, which tries to be open to the neighborhood, rather than being a closed association – For us it's important that citizens find a way to gain decision making power on public places and live the neighborhood, instead of considering it just a dormitory. Our hope is to get a public site sooner or later, where we could develop our educational, sport and cultural activities”.
Let's take a walk through Ecosolpop stalls: there is Massimo and his social clementines, which we already know from Certosa Biomarket, then there is Bi.Bu.Lo. (meaning good cookies "lovecost") with healthy food for our little pets (dry food, biscuits but even birthday cakes for cats and dogs); the agricultural firm Omo Selvatico by the brothers Enrico and Fulvio who produce honey, mead, hippocras (forefather of vin brulé) and jams with ancient fruits which are extinguishing “we started with our grandfather’s plants on the land we inherited near Terni and then we progressively increased them buying new trees from old farmers”. They sell jam made of an ancient variety of pears, cornelian cherries, sorb apples “it’s unbelievable that in the past you could find at markets 160 apple varieties, while now at the supermarket there are perhaps 5 or 6, all coming from Emilia Romagna or abroad” tells us Enrico.
If you feel like taking a coffee, you can go to Fabio, Francesco and Iaia’s “natural bar”
which offers also tea, cappuccino with fresh squeezed milk, cakes or pies and biological cookies. While, if you are fond of strong cheese, you can meet Francesco, who started to produce ancient cheese recipes together with two friends and a dairyman: goat puzzone (literally, stinky) and San Vittore conciato. Other three friends, the beekeepers Damiano and Daniele and the pastrychef Gianluca, produce different kinds of honey, all bio, and bake honey biscuits. “We also promote education through visits to our apiaries and trainings on ecology and on the importance of bees in our ecosystem” explains Daniele.
As far as arts and crafts is concerned, there is really a wide choice: Antonella’s sea glasses, who makes jewelry out of pieces of bottles she finds on the beach, Chiara’s bracelets, earrings and masks in macramé, Paola’s holistic jewels which fill in Scrigno di Alice (literally, Alice’s treasure chest). Then there is Sabrina, who started to make objects such decorated notebooks, picture frames, hats or clocks with recycled materials – paper mainly, but also buttons, zippers, laces etc.
Luca and his father Francesco travel around Italy to look for regional delicatessen, they started with pepper based products (their brand is Peppersound), they now have a product line dedicated to onions from Calabria and “maritata” (literally, wedding soup) which is a blend between two flavours.
A real “wedding” is Alessandro and Wanda’s stand: he is a Roman chef, she is an immigrant from Sicily who turned a difficult time into a new initiative. “We decided to reinvent ourselves, I’ve studied Italian and foreign gastronomic traditions for years – tells us Alessandro – until I met Wanda, who introduced me to Sicilian cuisine, especially from Bagheria, where they still cook in ovens and keep several traditions. Back to Rome, we tried to bring to the markets those typical dishes according to Bagheria traditional recipes and raw materials. “The customer reaction has been positive – explains Wanda – and we decided to keep Bagheria’s traditions, but it’s funny when we meet other people from Sicily who tell us Ah in Messina, sfincione is sweet, while for us it’s a sort of pizza”.
“When I went to Ecosolpop (doesn’t it sound as a popcorn popping in your mouth?!) it was Carnival. I was dressed as a princess and I met children dressed in all ways. The funniest thing was the music lab: we used tins, paper, bottle caps, colors and glue to make maracas and castanets. We even played a concert and it was a mess.
At Ecosolpop (isn’t it funny?!) we stayed all day long, because it was just like being at a friend’s place: there were armchairs, sofas and tables… which seemed to be coming from some old aunt’s house. Then there were also some other tables, with benches, on which we sat to have lunch: butterfly pasta with tomato sauce and chicken stew. But the best was yet to come! When he arrived: his name is Massimiliano Maiucchi and he’s a real magician, he does magic with objects, but most of the times he does it with words. If you can, ask your Mummy and Daddy to take you to one of his shows or to buy you one of his books”.