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Milan Opens Italy's First Food Bank For Animals

Milan Opens Italy's First Food Bank For Animals

MILAN — The economic crisis isn’t affecting just bipeds. Our furry four-legged friends have also been struggling, as many have been abandoned or neglected when their families no longer had the resources to care for them.

Italy has launched its first food bank for animals to help with this problem, thanks to the volunteer group City Angels. The initiative, known as Balzoo, collects food donations for animal shelters and pet owners who are struggling to feed their four-legged loved ones.

Balzoo’s first collection was on March 6 with a gazebo set up on a Milan street, La Stampa reports.

“I love animals and I wanted to do something concrete to help them and their owners, who are often left abandoned by other institutions,” explained Balzoo’s founder Luigi Griffini. “In this case, Milan demonstrates that it is aware of the problem, and it’s a city that others can take an example from.”

Chiara Bisconti, City Council member, agrees with Griffini. “Animals play a fundamental part in family life. This project serves to help the most vulnerable families in need of help. For us to participate in this project is a point of pride and confirms the attention that we give to policies in favor of Milan’s animals. Our philosophy is to defend and extend the rights of all beings in this city.”

“We have many poor people who will be delighted to receive food for their animals,” City Angels founder Mario Furlan told Milano Free. “We’re not just thinking of the cats and dogs belonging to the homeless, but also of the families suffering from the crisis. They’re struggling to feed themselves, and getting help for their pets will be a comfort for them.”

Photo: Balzoo’s Facebook Page

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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