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Graziella Ra wheat: from Egypt to the Marche

Food and Wine

In his book ”  An earthly future"  , written in 2005, wrote: ” I am forced to ask myself why there are more and more people suffering from celiac disease... and I wonder why too many doctors, both conventional and non-conventional, remove both bread and pasta from their patients' diets"
Here, let's all ask ourselves...

The story of wheat Graziella Ra is truly exciting: an Italian archaeologist finds a bag containing a kilo of wheat grains in an Egyptian tomb.
In itself the discovery has nothing exceptional, it cannot even be used for carbon 14 investigations that could reveal the age of the sarcophagus. The archaeologist, upon his return to Italy, participates in a meeting of biodynamic farmers and delivers the grains to one of them: "if you manage to multiply the grain, just give it the name of my daughter Graziella, who died tragically at a young age"
In the confusion of the moment, whoever receives the mysterious bag forgets to ask the guest for his personal details, but the ancient grain does not get lost, some of it arrives, no one knows how, even in Montebello, and precisely in Gino Girolomoni, the inventor of the "Alce Nero" brand and historical father of organic farming in the Marche.

Gino is a character sui generis, he is not only a farmer and entrepreneur, he is also a visionary mystic, a self-taught scholar who writes books and is in contact with all the Italian and European intelligentsia, in Isola del Piano, a few km from Urbino , Gino not only has the headquarters of his company, in that monastery that he slowly managed to recover in thirty years of industrious and silent life, Gino is a conveyor of ideas and proposals that arouses the curiosity of politicians and intellectuals from everywhere. In the panorama of nothingness that advances ever faster, Gino offers firm resistance, from him come figures such as Moni Ovadia, Vinicio Capossela, Sergio Quinzio, and Guido Ceronetti, Massimo Cacciari, Andreatta and Paolo Volponi.
By organizing conferences and cenacles, it has become a point of reference for all those who, with love and tenacity, have never wanted to abandon their lands and have remained as farmers.
The tenacious Gino begins to investigate the story of this Graziella. Unfortunately the undertaking does not turn out to be so easy but Gino is used to impossible undertakings: first of all he tries to discover the names of the archaeologists who have moved to Egypt in recent times and from which they have recently returned. Nothing. Every trace of the archaeologist has been lost. In the meantime, out of curiosity, try sowing, what a thrill! The ears, very long, are twice as long as normal and reach out high towards the sun, as in the Nile delta three thousand years earlier. It seems like a miracle that that seed has managed to maintain itself until now but it is easily explained: it was thanks to the low temperature present in the sarcophagus, i.e. 3-4 degrees, that it reached here, in the hills of Urbino. Now it can become a strong and resistant grain, rich in proteins and mineral salts and selenium, a powerful antioxidant, and this is discovered thanks to studies on the organoleptic contents of the product carried out by the University of Urbino.

Gino, who often goes to the Holy Land, in the footsteps of the Bible in the mountains of the Negev desert, to retrace the route of Moses together with his archaeologist friend Emmanuel Anati, often going to Har Karkom, the mountain of God, feels that that ear has something biblical, it reached him not by chance.
However, there is still no trace of the archaeologist's name, but, as you can imagine, he is a tough nut to crack. It seems strange, with all the things he has to do: following the farm, the cooperative that produces food products, the magazine, the inn and the monastery, his studies, the books to write, the daily reading of the Bible, politics , the associations, also finds the time and desire to discover the name and history of this Graziella and her father. But he believes in miracles, he wouldn't be Gino Girolomoni, after all. And finally the astonishing thing happens: it is Saturday 18 September 2004 and Gino, who, in the calm of the monastery immerses himself in reading the numerous newspapers at the weekend, comes across an article by Aldo Cazzullo, in the Corriere della Sera, by title:" Graziella, forgotten martyr, killed at seventeen by the Nazis, after 60 years a ceremony for her.”
And she ? Yes, she is. Something or someone tells him that Graziella Fanti, this is her name, killed by the Nazis in September 1944 on the riverbank while she was washing clothes, is the archaeologist's daughter. The Graziella of wheat. There is also a photo of the girl, a faded photo revealing all the tender beauty and grace of her years.

 This is the story, in short, just as his life was short: he lived with his mother and her partner, on the Pistoia Apennines, in a hut not far from the site of the massacre. The natural father, the archaeologist, seems to have emigrated to France, and it is not known why he could not make his name official. Her mother had been in service to a local aristocratic family. Nothing more. Yet her father, many years later, still remembered her imagining giving birth again in those ears of wheat: Graziella Ra, the name of a special pasta. Ra is the Egyptian term for the sun.
But Gino's plan goes further: he wants to make Graziella Ra wheat the leader of a series of productions linked to cereals that are far from the frenzy of capitalism and which have maintained all their molecular characteristics. Hidden in the sleeping belly of the sarcophagus, that cereal has avoided all the molecular surgery operations that all grains have undergone in recent decades to increase their profitability.
For Gino, a long-time farmer, it is precisely because of these improvement operations that the gluten index in wheat has increased to the point that our body cannot tolerate it. In his book An earthly future , written in 2005, wrote: ” I am forced to ask myself why there are more and more people suffering from celiac disease... and I wonder why too many doctors, both conventional and non-conventional, remove both bread and pasta from their patients' diets"
Here let us all ask ourselves, great immense Gino Girolomoni, a prophet of our time, born and lived in the hills of the Marche.

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