Loppiano Prima, 50th anniversary celebration

12 May 2023 | Ecology, Life, News

An event will be held in Loppiano on May 27 and 28 to celebrate that May 19, 1973 when the Cooperative was established. It will be an opportunity to look back on the founding moments, take stock of the journey that has been accomplished, and relaunch the productive and commercial activity.

If 50 years seems short to you, there is therefore a reason to celebrate half a century of life! All the more so for a cooperative, which rests its foundation on the quality of relations among members and on a pact of trust that five decades can wear down. So, there is a definite reason for choosing to celebrate the anniversary of the establishment of Loppiano Prima Cooperative on May 27 and 28 in the citadel. Indeed, the reasons are more than one: to rediscover the charismatic roots of such an entrepreneurial activity on the basis of Chiara Lubich’s wishes, to retrace the journey made in order to take stock, and to look ahead for a confident relaunch of the Cooperative.

The Cooperative,” the bylaws specify, “has no speculative purposes and is governed by principles of prevailing mutuality. Among its goals it has that of “concurring in the implementation of universal fraternity” and “intends to pursue its institutional purposes by adhering to management principles consistent with the project ‘Economy of Communion’ in freedom, inspired by the thought expressed in 1991 by Chiara Lubich, who indicated the Cooperative as its prodrome.”

It was May 19, 1973, when eight people, Men and Women Volunteers of God, (an offshoot of the Focolare Movement) gathered in Milan to establish the Loppiano Prima Cooperative. Those founding members were animated by the desire to contribute to the development of Loppiano through the start-up of an economic activity that would express the evangelical values contained in the life and culture of the citadel. The intent was to make fruitful the land that had been donated by the Folonari family to the Focolare Movement. Land that has since been cultivated with respect for nature and with natural (and not chemical) products, for which the Cooperative was a forerunner of the so-called “organic” culture.

On Dec. 27, 1973, the Cooperative purchased part of the land adjoining those of the citadel, the Tracolle villa and several farmhouses. In December of that year, Roberto Cardinali, a volunteer of God and an agricultural expert, moved with his wife Raffaella to Loppiano to manage the farm. Passion and commitment are not lacking in many. The first assembly was held on June 22, 1975 in the presence of about 400 members. By Dec. 31 of that year the membership had grown to 1,414. Today there are 3,256. In 2004, a new body, the “Loppiano Farm” cooperative is formed as an agricultural enterprise to comply with new regulations in the agricultural sector. In 2020, the latter changed its legal entity and “Fattoria Loppiano 4.0” was born, in which Cooperative Loppiano Prima is a partner with a majority of shares.

On Saturday morning, May 27, the annual membership meeting will be held at the Loppiano Auditorium, and in the afternoon the program, open to all and with a streaming link, will begin. The origins will be discussed and prospects for development will be outlined. This will be followed by a panel discussion focusing on the themes of care for creation and the company’s current commitment to environmentally sound cultivation. On Sunday morning, working groups (on ecology, corporate structure and membership, and development perspectives) will be preceded by the talk “The Presence of God under Things” by Sergio Rondinara, professor of Epistemology at Sophia University Institute. The two-day program explains well the meaning of the title of the event for these first 50 years: “Love of Creation, a prophecy on the way.”

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