Five minutes and a hurricane. That’s all it took.
“After a frightening night, we woke up in the morning, and we noticed there was too much light coming through the windows. We went outside, and there were no more trees in front of our house,”recounts a member of our family who lives in the Fodom Valley.
In 2018, Storm Vaia uprooted 42,500 hectares (105,000 acres) of forest in the Dolomites. That’s the equivalent to 70,000 soccer fields. In Veneto alone, over 12,000 hectares (29,6000 acres) were destroyed. A real catastrophe.
When photographers made their way to the region to make a reckoning of the damage, it was beyond their worst imaginings. About 8.6 million cubic meters of trees were destroyed – a number so vast, it will take more than a century before they will return.
Forest animals have lost their homes and moved elsewhere. The Comelico Dam near Austria was choked with the descendants of trees that had once provided the foundations of Venetian palaces.
This was an enormous loss for us personally because we have family in the area. But it is an environmental disaster for Italy.
At least, we thought, the worst was over. But we were wrong.
Worse to come
Heavy snow from winter 2020 made the devastation even worse. Already weakened trees simply collapsed under the weight of two meters of snow, destroying the trails through the woods as they fell.
We personally witnessed the disaster when we visited our family in Arabba, the last village of Veneto deep in the heart of the Dolomites. It was a blow to the heart to see the destruction.
So, we decided to act.
We’ve created a project called The Kindness Project, which we’re going to use to give back to the natural world that has given us so much. Every euro cent from every sale of a Kindness Box will go to Arabba to restore the lost tracking trails.
Not a percentage of the proceeds. All of it.
What’s in a Kindness Box?
You get mountain flavors to share at your table. Every box is filled with quality food primarily made by artisan producers from the Dolomites: Fettucine ai Funghi Menazza, Sugo ai Funghi Porcini Tradizioni Dolomitiche, Renaz Vecchio cow cheese from Latteria Livinallongo, Radicchio in sweet and sour Rosa Alpina, to garnish your aperitivo with Figulì crackers.
For all EU orders, we also include one of our own wines, because you shouldn’t eat great quality food without a good glass of wine.
The Kindness Project will run until the end of September, and the boxes will ship in November, just in time for the end of the year festivities. The Kindness box is a perfect gift because kindness is a language everyone understands. (And also because the food will be good.)
Please help us share this message. The forests belong to all of us, not just the people who live there. The more Kindness Boxes people buy, the more we can do to help the forest return to its former glory.
Before and after pictures
Photos by Arabba Fodom Turismo