Neighborhood Oranges is a small social enterprise project which aims to give work experience and earnings, while helping to aid integration, of young African women in Rome.
Using the bitter oranges that grow all over Rome – some of which are given to us by the American Academy gardens and the Marist Monastery in Monteverde, others which we collect from parks and streets – we make a classic Scottish style bitter orange marmalade. (See www.fruttaurbana.org for information about how urban citrus is classified as organic, because the fruit does not absorb pollution from either the city air or soil). Making the marmalade gives the young women a chance to gain kitchen experience, earn some independent money and improve their Italian.
The project stated 4 years ago with two young men who have since found work, and now Pamela, Joy and Noemi take turns to make the jam. The girls are paid hourly for their work and any extras that are not covered by the sale of the marmalade are paid for by the studio.
The project is still very small but we hope to find other GAS groups and office groups that are able to support the project. Large orders (20 + jars) are great because the girls can work more hours in order to complete the order. In summer we make apricot jam and in autumn we make some plum and quince.
The (dream) is for the new studio to have a fully registered kitchen so we can continue, and grow the project. Label design by illustrators Haley Polinsky and Lucy Jones. Thanks to everyone who has supported the project and to all the volunteers who have come to make marmalade over the years. especially Emma Law, Anna Kovel, Katherine Garone, Katherine Kirby among others. To Brother Ben from the Marist Monastery who has helped with fruit and a temporary kitchen, Kyle Pierce from the Rome Sustainable Food Program for all the fruit!