Luciana, Ischia

Your story in a very few lines, starting from the childhood

I was born on the island of Ischia, otherwise known as the “Green Island”, at a time when it was possible for a little girl to walk to school on her own. Every day was a new and different adventure. If you learn to get around at six, the world seems magnificent and your sole desire is to explore, make friends and discover those new things.

I left home to study anthropology and sociology and later moved around a lot for work, organizing courses financed by the European Union to aid independent workers to
gain their rights, claiming clandestine labour. Wherever I went, it was always a full immersion into the local life. In Sicily I was Sicilian, cooking Sicilian, living like a Sicilian and the same in Benevento, Salerno and Milano. I returned in Naples because I gained a scholarship for a Masters in Content Editing. There I met a friend with whom I started up
a communications agency.

A suspended life, between Ischia, Terra Tremula -“trembling soil” due to its volcanic nature and Terra Ferma – the “solid mainland” that was Naples. In the end, I decided to return to Ischia, my island. I returned full of baggage, of things to do and to tell about but above all, to share.

A globetrotter becoming each time a true, deep citizen. Can you tell us more about this aptitude – or better about this gift you have?

Discovery, knowledge, enrichment and growth; this is what travelling is all about for me.
Each journey has given me this: a story, the life of a person who spontaneously opened a door to me. I love mixing with people, blending into the surrounding reality, trying on new lifestyles and living my wanderlust as a protagonist, opening myself to fresh scenarios and perspectives.
Each time I return home with a new passion.  Those passions which capture me on the road and then permit me to continue my journey at home.

Why Ischia in your life now – and why Ischia as theatre – better, the heart – of Borsa Verde, Scambi e Baratti a cattiveria zero (Green Stock exchange, swaps and barthers without deception)? From where ‘without deception’ comes from?

I love eating fresh biologically healthy foods but, alas, even though I live on Ischia I have no fruit garden. For some time now I’ve milled my own flour and baked my own whole grain spelt bread and soon I began to exchange it for the fresh garden veg my neighbours grew. I love trying out different bread recipes.  My most popular loaf is yellow tumeric bread but my vitamin -packed spiruline bread is a close second. There is initial perplexity given that spiruline is a dark bluish green in colour and often mistaken for mildew. – “Hey Luciana the bread has gone bad!” is a typical refrain but once they try it they’re hooked.
One day a friend posted a photo of a duck egg on Facebook from his “happy” poultry coop.  I saw it. I wanted it and I proposed an exchange for my bread. He accepted and as a provocation he said “Why don’t you start a swap group? Only you could do it.” Well, I did it.
“ The Green Exchange 3.0 Without Deception “ -in Italian, “La Borsa Verde 3.0 Scambi e Baratti a Cattiveria Zero” was born.  Its mission, to exchange and barter fresh garden vegetables, fermented and leavened comestibles and beverages, all rigorously homemade.

Since its debut on Facebook in 2014 the initiative was received with enthusiasm and has grown, offering occasions to meet new people, by creating friendship and by discovering common interests such as a love for the land and healthy lifestyles with attention to nutrition and the environment.

The exchange process is quick and easy…just post a photo of what you want to barter and indicate what you’d like in exchange. If you obtain the desired response, you just set a time and place for the exchange.
The Borsa Verde has two sister groups, S-CAMBIAMENTO in Rome, with whom we organise cultural exchanges, bread-making laboratories, crate gardening and permaculture courses.
And another group at Playa del Carmen in Mexico, OM garage, where Yoga and meditation lessons are exchanged. With the Borsa Verde, professionals exhibit their “green streak”. Otherwise unexpected lawyers, architects, marine biologists, clerks, engineers and consultants show off their vegetable patches, gardens, chicken coops and barter home-grown products. Mothers wean their babies by exchanging naturally cultivated foods rather than stocking up at the supermarket. Oranges, cabbage, peas, chicory, lettuce, zucchini flowers, and fresh-picked seasonal fruits are swapped for yogurt fragrant homemade breads and gluten-free products for coeliac disease. Members often organize low or no cost birthday parties and even weddings receptions where the Borsa Verde provides bridal gown, favours and buffet.

Through the Exchange, Ischia is rediscovering its long abandoned agricultural roots as seen in the increased popularity of “ Sunday farming”. Not only, olive grove owners have opened up centuries old estates, inviting the public to join them in the harvest in order to reserve  their share of the genuine “deception–free” olive oil  produced. As a landowner if you are finding it difficult to manage and plan your estate and properties, it is advised to contact lawyers for estate planning to help you out. Other landowners have finally unlocked old gates, hosting get together and exchange by displaying in an once hidden panoramic Eden abounding in luxuriant plants, trees, fruits and vegetables. Public access to these fields is an occasion for locals and visitors to liberally exchange goods, seeds and advice.

The Borsa Verde has already crossed borders thanks to Ischia Review, a tourism promotion site targeting Anglo-Saxon and Northern European markets. It proposes the Borsa Verde as an “outside the box” holiday experience inviting visitors heading for Ischia to bring specialties from their own native areas and once in Ischia exchanging them with Ischians for island products  thereby getting to know locals on a more authentic level.

A small silent revolution is forming in the folds of the Borsa Verde, a virtuous reality ever more numerous which gathers together Ischians with a green thumb, families, children, friends and strangers who have chosen to live healthily, without fraud. We are used to passive events which tie us to a passive role; in the Borsa Verde members are protagonists, stimulated to fruitful activity ….an excellent and do-able  remedy for the progressive leveling of our society.  The Borsa Verde can take credit for the rediscovery of the humanizing benefits of the barter system among  modern day islanders with its valorisation of the land, its fruits and the pursuit of bio products. Not a bad result in a time in which serious alarms of all types are raised by the World Health Organization.

We collect and tell stories of a peasant island culture, stories of a land, of the past but also of the present and we hope of the future.


The main achievement of you as professional and the other, of the more intimate self?

I’m at my best in a team  setting.  I have a strong talent for motivation and am able to bring out  the will power and energy  in even the laziest and most apathetic people. I enjoy sharing experiences, I am creative and extremely practical.


A fantastic encounter you had recently

Everyday I meet special people and discover incredible lives and that is because I walk into vegetable patches, gardens and fruit orchards.


Your favourite food and drink

Black quinoa salad with apricots, mint, raw zucchini, sunflower seeds and goat cheese.
All bartered ingredients, of course!!!

My favorite drink is “La Bomba”, a specialty of the beverage stand in Sant’Angelo. It’s made with lemon and orange juice., lemon slush – all ice cold.   Delicious !!!… and even more so after a 10 km bike ride.  And if I bring the lemons it’s an even swap!


The book or the books and the music with you now

I’m on  page 12 of  Io di più, the first book by Romolo Bianco, a young Neapolitan actor and singer and finally I’m finishing The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Not bad for an extrovert like me!

As for music, I listen to old pieces like “Strana L’Estate” by  Milanese singer and songwriter Diego Mancino.


The talent you have, the one you miss?

I’m creative and engaging with others. Unfortunately I’m a wretched painter which is a shame. I’d have given any thing to be an artist.


Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Running around the world on my bike, organizing swaps and exchanges.


What did you learn from life so far?

Life is one big practical joke and you’ve got to have the sense of humour to appreciate it and laugh,… especially at yourself.

Leave a Reply