After the storm, reconstruction. This is the motto of the winter edition of the Biodiversity and Solidarity Economy Fair, which is scheduled for September 9 in Maquiné, a small municipality located on the north coast of Rio Grande do Sul and which was among the most affected by the extratropical cyclone that hit RS in last june. Resuming, strengthening and making the event grow is the challenge that the collective of stallholders who are in charge of the activity proposes. “Resprout!”
:: Popular School of Agroecology celebrates ten years and inaugurates new structures ::
The fair, held every season, is built on a self-management system, “without a boss”, as explained by Sarita Klassmann Moraes, a merchant and representative of the infrastructure commission, who spoke for the Brasil de Fato report. “We will have agroecological foods, seedlings, seeds, bioconstruction, craft beer, biocosmetics, handicrafts, cultural activities and much more”, she points out, with an excited voice and open smile, a characteristic that visitors will find in each event participant.
The fair includes initiatives by small agroecological producers, popular artists and artisans, social movements, popular organizations, cultural collectives, as well as representative segments of the ethnic diversity that make up the locality and region, such as native peoples and traditional communities. Sarita cites as a highlight the Guarani Mbya peoples who are in three territories in Maquiné with about 500 individuals and also have guaranteed participation in the space.
Collective organization and search for autonomy
Self-management is an aspect that becomes evident when one learns about the experience of the Biodiversity and Solidarity Economy Fair. Everything that is discussed and guided internally in the commissions is taken by the representatives to the sectoral groups, multiplying within the other commissions, circulating the information and building a joint decision through the large group.
“The stalls are formed by groups and not by individuals, in all editions we seek to collect money, in which the stallholders spontaneously allocate a 5% donation. With this resource, we are putting together a little box, the sales volume is not very large, but it is enough to build some autonomy for one-off expenses at the fair”, explains Sarita, who is part of the Balaio Agroecológico Maquiné group and produces agroecological pizzas.
The fair began in 2009, focused on biodiversity, when it was organized by ANAMA (Ação Nascente Maquiné) and having CONEMA (Municipal Council for the Environment) and the City Hall among its partners, having an annual periodicity. The event – as with other similar events in Brazil – was weakened during the period when the country was governed by the extreme right and ended up having its activities completely suspended during the pandemic. The return took place from 2021, already being carried out in a self-managed format, with the participation of the stallholders themselves in the organization, also including the principles and activities of the Solidarity Economy and proposing quarterly periodicity, in line with the seasons.
:: Bem Viver: contact with nature alters brain functioning and protects against microorganisms, says doctor ::
A new setback happened last June, when a very intense extratropical cyclone hit RS and very severely the municipality of Maquiné, causing flooding and roofing, damage to infrastructure, destroying agricultural production and leaving hundreds of people homeless. In the best spirit of “nobody lets go of anyone’s hand”, active solidarity was set in motion and just as the municipality is beginning its reconstruction, the fair also challenged itself to rebuild, or rather, “sprout again from its own roots”.
The cyclone’s scars are still felt
The destruction left by the cyclone is still felt by the inhabitants of Maquiné. Sarita explains that although the urban space is small, the rural territory is immense, with many branches of the river between the valleys. “There are many preservation areas, the Atlantic Forest, we are on the edge of the Serra Geral reserve, spread out in this space.” As the roads, bridges and footbridges are not yet recovered, it is being a resistance challenge to carry out the mobilization for the fair.
:: Why farmers and researchers argue that agroecology can cure hunger in Brazil ::
The possibility of canceling the winter edition was even discussed, which was soon discarded. The choice to keep the date – which was set before the cyclone hit – was debated, but the position of resisting prevailed. “We even took up this theme, because it is time for nature to regrowth and the people are also regrowth in this end of winter edition”, he says.
A fair with many faces and many colors
What motivation do people from outside the municipality and region have to travel and participate in the event? “The fair is a very pleasant moment of exchange, coexistence and sharing, it becomes a different atmosphere, as if we could envision a new world, another type of relationship, not only commercial but human relationships as a whole”, points Sarita.
For her, anyone who decides to travel to Maquiné will have “an opportunity to experience it”, as the municipality has “a unique preservation, very representative given the little Atlantic forest still has in the country”. Sarita also highlights the opportunity to visit numerous spaces of abundant nature, waterfalls and very characteristic inns to welcome visitors.
“The fair is not just a commercialization and consumption experience, the stalls are diverse, each one has a particularity, it is much more than having access to products, the issue of art and culture is greatly promoted, we have a stage with presentations and artistic interventions throughout the day”, he says. Although, according to her, the fair itself is not very big and the visitor passes through all the stalls quickly, people stay in the space all day long enjoying the presentations and socializing.
Motivation for the winter fair
As the event is not for profit, the organizers are asking for a non-mandatory personal contribution to help defray the expenses of the artists who will come from other cities to perform there, as well as the displacement of the indigenous communities that will participate. “Any amount is welcome and helps to guarantee another special day of sharing, presentations and good music to warm our hearts!”, expresses the message that is being shared on social networks. The pix to send the donation is 098.090.099-92 (key in the name of Natália Carolina Otto Tszesnioski).
The organization takes place autonomously and collectively and has the support of the City Hall, the Municipal Secretary of Agriculture and Supply and the Municipal Secretary of Tourism, Culture and Communication. “Come and celebrate this meeting with us, with lots of art, good food, diversity of cultures and all the common strength that the solidarity economy brings us”, motivates Sarita in her final message. Or initial, for those who, after reading this article, are going to include a visit to Maquiné in their September itinerary.
Service for participants and exhibitors:
For those who want to visit the fair and participate in the activities, prior registration is not required, nor is there any charge for access.
The meeting point for the popular celebration is Atílio Mansan square, in the center of the city, starting at 8 am and extending until the end of the afternoon, at 5 pm.
For those interested in setting up a stand, then you need to fill out a form by August 28, at the link https://forms.gle/vW9SfwewtXAjdC7C9 . It is worth remembering that the stalls should not be proposed by individual initiatives but by collective ones.
To learn more about the fair and see images from previous editions, just access Instagram: www.instagram.com/feiradabiodiversidade_maquine
Source: BdF Rio Grande do Sul
Editing: Marcelo Ferreira