The Fields That Feed Europe

by Diego Ravier | 03.02.2022

Italian Photographer Diego Ravier visits organic farms in Foggia, Italy, on the last days of the tomato harvest, and during grape-picking. Workers from Africa and Europe gather fruits which end their journey in the sauces, wines, pizzas and salads of Europe. The continent’s organic food market has more than doubled in value since 2009, to €45 billion.
The tomato harvest in Foggia runs from July to October, and fruit-picking is one of the hardest jobs in the field. (Prima Bio Farm, Rignano Garganico)
Many nationalities come to southeast Italy to work on the farms, from Senegal, Uganda, Burkina Faso and Nigeria, having taken different paths to arrive in Italy, such as traveling through the desert, or spending time in detention centers. (Prima Bio Farm, Rignano Garganico)
Italy is the second largest tomato producer in the world, after the USA, the Puglia region produces more than half of Italy’s canned tomatoes, and this business is centered on the region of Foggia, making these fields the tomato heartland of Europe. (Pictured: Prima Bio Farm, Rignano Garganico)
In the shanty-town of ‘Gran Ghetto’ in Rignano Garganico, Foggia, between 800 and 1,500 agricultural workers live during harvest time. This site has hosted migrant workers for 20 years.
A dog sleeps between shacks, where living conditions are crowded and basic in the Gran Ghetto in Rignano Garganico.
Agricultural worker Mor moved from central Senegal to Rignano Garganico, Italy in 2020. For five months he has slept in an abandoned farmhouse, while working on the fields picking every crop, from asparagus to tomatoes.
A worker returns from the town where he went by bus to buy water He lives in an abandoned farmhouse in Rignano Garganico that has no running water.
In Cerignola, the Aquamela bio farm is a family business that started growing organic food 20 years ago, and now employs between 12 and 13 seasonal workers.
Three generations work in the fields of Aquamela bio in Cerignola, Foggia. People from all backgrounds come to pick grapes in the farms - including the farm’s neighbors, foreign workers, ex-convicts, and prisoners, as part of a project in social reintegration.
A worker in the autumn grape harvest at the organic farm of Aquamela Bio in Cerignola, Italy.
Aquamela is spread over 23 hectares, and also grows cereals and olives, which are used to produce its own oil. The farm focuses on organic products, because they are more valuable and guarantee higher margins than conventional crops.