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Friday, July 11, 2014
Hardworking, constant, living united and linked to one another: for Donatella the bees are her true passion. In 1991, when she heard about the revolutionary economic project of the EoC, she started a small enterprise.

20140711_2It was not easy to start the production. Financial difficulties did not allow her to have a stable income, until the right moment came, and Donatella Paolini Baldi was able to go ahead:  «The number of families of bees and the amount of honey produced increased – she shared – so much so that I was able to ask for the v.a.t, to do various registrations, to constitute a real and true enterprise, to leave my other job and to have a small income as an apiculturist».

“Beach honey” fragrant and aromatic is the best-selling product of the small enterprise, that she was able to build up through the help of the Corporation of a regional Tuscan natural park: a special quality that has already received some awards. Inserted in some purchasing groups as a supplier of honey, she is also a member of the “district of economic solidarity”: a pact made among organizations, purchasers, producers and citizens (consumers) who aim at making production and consumption sustainable. This is a network of enterprises with similar goals, who aim at local production with few middlemen, reusable energy, biological cultivation, and who propose a series of services and products that are highly social and ethical.
The style of the Economy of Communion has entered into all the activities of this small enterprise that produces honey: taxing itself when – in spite of the good production – it was not possible to pay both salaries (her own and that of Peter, a young collaborator). Or in resisting the “siren’s call” when, applying for a regional subsidy for apiculturists, she is offered a loophole to gain more advantages. «I suffered a lot thinking of the materials that I could have had for free – Donatella shared – or better still, paid for by the community and even if I imagined the ridicule of my colleagues, I said a difficult “No”, but it was a “No”! To speak of fair play is easy, but to go against the current is a bit difficult. In the end, my enterprise was considered as qualified for the subsidy and was entirely financed by it; and I was happy that my choice, without their knowing it, allowed other financed apiculturists to be inserted in the list after me».

In the “honey plant” which is availed of for the extraction of the honey, Donatella met G., a labourer who is serving his jail sentence by working there.  «Even if I was reassured by the person responsible for the plant, by the social worker and by his lawyer, I still found it difficult to accept the fact that I had to spend a lot of my working hours alone with him. In fact, before knowing him they already gave me a detailed description of the multiple homicides he committed… When I found myself in front of him, tall and robust, courteous and helpful, this wall continued to be present between me and him». Until one day G. heard a conversation of mine on the telephone.

«I was talking to a friend who was sharing her feelings with me in search of understanding and help. I was trying to encourage her to maintain certain actions such as: seeing each other new every morning, seeing the positive in each other. G. understood well the meaning of my words so much so that he thanked me afterwards. His gratitude enlightened me… ».

And still more, punctual providential interventions, seen as actions of the “hidden partner”, God, to whom Donatella and her collaborator Pietro entrust themselves continually. «It was a particularly difficult year due to the cold and the intense rain which compromised the blossoming of the flowers and therefore the production of honey. Among the apiculturists there was a drum beat of telephone calls. In this atmosphere, S. an apiculturist who supports his family through his work, called me up crying. He didn’t know what to do, he was desperate. I told him to calm down and to have faith. I overcame my reluctance and I went to look for and then found some fields that are next to 10 hectares of sunflowers. We can put the houses of the bees on his land and the bees can then fly to the sunflowers in the neighbouring field, whose owner was happy to collaborate. I don’t know if we will have an abundant production of honey, but I understood that asking and giving have truly the same value».


Padraic Gerard Marian O’Sullivan

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at 19:34

I love this, the bees, the spirituality, the courage shown in a delicate situation, this is truly gospel ! Padraic , Ireland