How to create a new perspective in a systemic crisis through bottom up self organization and mutual aid.

The talk will start introducing Recup and Emergency Volunteer Brigades:

Recup, is a project born in Milan in November 2016, where already many associations fight for social value and human rights. The action is pretty easy: just before the end of the market Recup volunteers collect all around the market a big amount of fruit and vegetables, still edible but impossible to sell because damaged or too ripe. Through this activity the project promotes an intercultural and intergenerational cooperation, everyone who helps in dividing rotten food from the good one has the right to have a part of what has been collected, with the aim of reducing the stigma of poverty and creating a new collaborative system of helping people in need. During Covid Lockdown, Recup was on the first line with municipality of Milano. Saving and collecting many tons every day.

2 months, 55 days, 270 hours, 70 people joint the project by themselves. We could raise and distribute with the Brigades 15 tons more or less of fruits&veggies.

The Milan Emergency Volunteer Brigades

were born during the first quarantine last February 2020 to address the health situation during the Covid19 pandemic. To start of the Brigades took care of accumulating and redistributing food and basic necessities to families and to those individuals who during

the pandemic were unable to work and thus unable to provide for their own livelihood. They created real food storage warehouses and thanks to large donations and the help of Emergency they have managed to reach all these people. Now their work is not only based

on the distribution of food but an actual real connective link has been created between the Brigades and the neighbourhoods where they work.

The importance of adding a fresh component within the alimentary aids pushed Emergency Volunteer Brigades to ask Recup to start a collaboration since they were active during Milan lockdown. Recup was working in the central market in Milan collecting many tons of

fruit and vegetables leftovers trying to create a distribution network and Brigades was the right practice at the right time. 

3 statements of questions related to the talk

Recup: Why Recup, and what are the most important changes that happened with his birth? How Covid Affected your reality and your work schedule?

Emergency Volunteer Brigades: Why having activated this project through bottom up and self organized spaces is particularly relevant for the project?

Recup + Emergency Volunteer Brigades: Which are the common pillars between the two practices and why they both fit together during covid lockdown?


Lorenzo Di Stasi – Recup 

European citizen who lived in Estonia, Germany and Belgium. I am a freelance journalist and for RECUP I am the head of communication and media relations. I believe in people who are willing to make the change happen. My favourite dish with saved food? There are two: fruits smoothies and banana bread. 

Ottavia Bonuomo

I am a collaborator with the Raffaella Cortese Contemporary Art Gallery in Milan.  I studied at CPM Music Institute, obtaining a three-year course in music writing and production. In 2020 I obtained and completed a master’s degree in music journalism at the same institute.  I have always been part of occupied spaces working in the social sector through mutualism from below. Attentive to gender issues, I am part of a group of women who collaborate with La Casa delle Donne in Milan with whom we have created a listening and guidance desk for gender violence.

Tallulah Aissa Rotman

I am a Franco-Russian-Chinese raised in New York and Italy.

I have a degree in Video Design and hosted gender fluid events in New York creating visual journeys to the events from 2010-2012.

Since coming back to Italy 8 years ago I have worked in kindergartens, taught English and became a birth doula.

I have two little boys and believe that new mothers need a supporting community to fully recover from birth and to be able to be fully present with their kids and family.

I am also part of a group of women that collaborates with La Casa delle Donne in Milan with whom we have created a support desk for gender violence.

3 recommended readings or other media

Article on

Articolo RECUP

Emergency Volunteer Brigades distribution video: