The Ottofile maze, a product from The Piedmont, almost extinguished as a consequence of the WWII, is an example of an important cultural cooperation that had obvious consequences on the food system. The collaboration between Italian and African refugees agricultors, in Villa Quaglina, a refugee camps in the outskirt of Asti, they have obtain the first production of Ottofile maze and Polenta. This maze, which colour ranges from yellow to chopped red and spike cylindrical eight files, is cultivated with traditional methods. The maze is harvested by hand without using herbicides or pesticides. The grinding stone enhances the organoleptic characteristics of the cereal flour and leave in all the components of the grain. In Piedmont, the polenta, until the ’50s, was an essential part of the daily diet. Farmers selected strictly corn, to get the most excellent organoleptic qualities. After the WWII, the Ottofile maze was replaced by hybrid varieties of American origin for greater simplicity in the cultivation and increased production. In the early 80s, the ottofile maze was saved from extinction thanks to the desire of local farmers like Nandino Destefani. Nowadays, local farmers and African farmers like Madimodi Dabo, a refugee from Mali are developing and expanding its agricultural activity. In this series of photographs, Quintina Valero uses the camera to show the resulting symbioses between the migrants and the locals. She portraits a beautiful cycle that has been influenced by violent conflicts outside of its own time and space. A corn variety was almost extinct by WW2 and nowadays the African peasants coming from countries immerse in wars are the ones helping to rescue those forgotten crops.

by Quintina Valero
Source: Food of War. Read the original article.