November 11, 2019
The official event for the presentation of the project STONEWALLSFORLIFE took place on the 11th of November, 2019, in the multipurpose room of Vernazza’s town hall. Representatives of all partners participated in the meeting.
“It is significant that today we are here in Vernazza, a village hit by the 2011 flood, to present STONEWALLSFORLIFE, a project that can represent a turning point for our territory and that offers us the opportunity to create a different governance model” said Fabrizia Pecunia, vice president of the Cinque Terre National Park. “Today we have reached awareness of the importance of maintaining and preserving our drystone walls and how important they are to tackling climate change, but awareness is not enough. The partners who are present today and who will support us in the project will be a valuable aid for us in providing us with the tools and in developing the right strategy”.
Before the technical presentations by the partners, Andrea Barrani, a young local farmer, shared his personal experience. His love for the territory was tested when his grandfather, winegrower and drystone wall builder, passed away: “his legacy was olive trees, old vines and drystone walls. When you realize the fatigue of our elders you cannot be indifferent and so I chose not to abandon this heritage and to remain”.
STONEWALLSFORLIFE benefits from the years-long activity of Fondazione Manarola, a local association that is already active in the territory and aims at restoring drystone walls and at assigning terraces to farmers for long-term maintenance and productive use. Fondazione Manarola has also already organized with the help of local experienced farmers training courses for migrants and unemployed people to teach them the drystone walls building techniques. The presence of Fondazione Manarola makes this village the ideal location for the pilot intervention, which will be then replicated in the municipalities of Vernazza and Monterosso and in the Parc du Garraf, in the province of Barcelona. Such replications will show not only the transferability of the approach proposed by STONEWALLSFORLIFE to different geographical areas, but also how the restoration of drystone walls can be effective against different effects of climate change, such as the increased risk of floods and landslides, which is a major concern in the Cinque Terre area, and the wildfires that threaten the region of the Parc du Garraf.