A bottle of sauce to achieve freedom. This is the goal of SfruttaZero, a project born in Puglia, Italy, to give dignified work to the day labourers who flock to Italy's “heel” during the tomato harvest. The idea was born in the ghetto of the city of Nardò, where hundreds of migrants live packed together in shameful conditions and work in the fields on starvation wages while being subject to all kinds of abuse. “Farming fields without exploitation is possible, and that's what we are doing,” explains Rosa Vaglio, spokeswoman for Diritti a Sud (Rights in the South), the association that runs the project alongside Solidaria, honoured in 2016 with the Livatino prize for its strong anti-mafia stance.
Last year, SfruttaZero produced 20,000 jars of sauce, providing work to 21 migrants properly registered and paid a respectable salary. This year the brand aims to grow: “For us, this tomato sauce has a highly symbolic value. It represents a gathering of peoples, and therefore we try to produce it in a natural manner. We have taken courses in natural agriculture and we don't use chemical products in our fields,” says Vaglio, who has already received purchase orders from Germany, France and Austria.