The following entries are from a trip our Director, Jonathan Harrison, took on behalf of Rubicon Bakery to San Patrignano, a social enterprise bar none outside of Rimini, in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. San Patrignano is so large; it is really a small town as well as an tremendously successful residential drug recovery program and community. The over 1000 people in recovery work are not charged for room, board and intensive therapies including free health care, but rather work in community-owned businesses including about a thousand of acres of vineyards, a world-class winery, high end Italian furniture, cheesemaking, and all of the operating principles of a sustainably managed farm system. The average “stay” at San Patrignano is 4 years, with a minimum of 3.5 years in residence. Their success is over 80% who do not relapse after leaving the program, (tracked at 1, 2, 3, and 5 years intervals). This is compared to shorter programs of 30-90 days where success rates hover in the 10-15% percentage rates.
Jonathan was joined on this journey by Jaime Cunningham, training manager of the Rubicon Bakery. The two of them were invited to participate in a trade pavilion at the San Patrignano Food and Wine festival called “Squisito” (Exquisite). Squisito was created five years ago as an event dedicated to the culture of good taste, good food, and to those who never tire of trying new flavor combinations and sampling long forgotten culinary traditions. Michelin starred chefs, experts, journalists and gourmets meet each year to redefine contemporary cuisine, creating an itinerary of taste that goes beyond our nation's borders. This 4 day event brought the best of Italian artisan meats, cheeses, breads, and wines and a little bit of everything (over 200 vendors in all) complete with all the culture and charm that is Italy and the Italian people. It was a very difficult assignment, but Jaime and Jonathan were willing to sacrifice their precious time for this great cause.