As an Italian, I’m used to dealing with a restless political system. The UK to me has always represented a show of legitimate actions, of individual rights, of correctness and savvy political judgement. That all changed on June 24th. Now we find a country, adored for the freedom it represents, for its liberal culture and economy, utterly betrayed by a short-sighted political class.
This has truly been one of the worst examples of politics in our lifetime. I am saying this because the people who have been most mislead will pay the biggest price. The Leave campaign’s purpose was to win their own battles, and I am sorry for all people who believed in them. It’s clear now they had no real plan apart from their own agenda, and, as soon as they won… they left the boat sinking.
I am not for Brexit, but I am against a number of ways in which the EU institutions operate when it comes to food. I will never accept illogical dumb choices, led by industrial lobbies to, for example, force countries to produce cheese from milk powder, rather than from milk.
We need to fight these institutions and stand up against the major and devastating effects of an economy that is controlled by few, but affects us all. We must take a stand against those who tear apart our environments and communities. We must stop those who allow industries to sell junk food on the shelves of “price oriented” retailers, claiming the false notion of “value for money and cheap food”. The reality is, this food is anything but cheap and the longer-term implications of processed foods, which are often high in salt, sugar and fat, are extremely damaging to health and to our environment.
At MM we believe in and serve food “as it was meant to be”- good, healthy, natural, artisanal and nutritious. We have built a business model around “Small is Beautiful”, the title of the marvellous and very modern book that the economist Schumacher wrote in 1973. We have also been inspired by the great entrepreneur Olivetti, one of the promoters of a form of social capitalism, where the enterprise is part of an ecosystem, a community.
When we began our journey to bring Mercato Metropolitano to London, the Brexit vote hadn’t happened. Now that it has, we’re more determined than ever to make this new model work and make a European business thrive in London. Mercato Metroplitano is built for all people and is in this sense, anti-Brexit. We include, not exclude, we work within the community, we work for the requalification of areas, for “family and friends ” aggregation, for values of social inclusion, healthy eating habits, sustainability, traceability of products and their nutrition capacity.
Practically speaking our beliefs in making a fully inclusive food retail business, meant that we started immediately by talking with local residents, and then with representatives of the variegated communities around us. We started hiring locals through Good People, a local ethical job agency in London, we decided to offer a higher than minimum wage salary and we are now searching and talking to local farmers and local artisans to add to our roster in London.
We believe in people, in the small hard working producers people, the ones who still believe, that passion makes the difference, we believe in good, natural food and we want to support and help nurture by supporting the “small” people, producers and artisans. We like the idea of a community based around a multicultural and enriching environment.
Yes, it is going to be more expensive to import products post-Brexit, but we are here to maximize health and happiness, not the profit. We must of course be economically sustainable, but we want MM to be also as socially and environmentally sustainable as possible.
It’s more important than ever that we focus on the many things that unite us, not on our fewer differences. Let’s not dwell too much. What is done is done. Now is a time to stick together more than ever and create something wonderful.