Alpine dairy farming

We are in a corner of Carnia that offers some of the most striking scenery of mountain pasture in Friuli. The key to a true understanding of the Alpine culture would be precisely the malghe (Alpine dairy farms), the centre of a delicate and complex system. The exploitation of the high pastures and the practice of summer pasturing are the most extraordinary invention of the mountain people, a difficult equilibrium between a harsh environment, scarce resources and community organization. It consisted in the integration of agriculture and cattle-breeding, of private property and collective goods, in making the best use of the play of the seasons that obliged the town to shut itself up in the winter and to open itself progressively higher up with the coming of spring. The Alpine dairy farming has been overwhelmed; that which remains of the ancient culture of the malga, however, is anything but a residual reality. The grandeur of these places and the quality of the dairy products are the guarantee of new possibilities and functions; the malghe require a reassessment. The bet of the Alpine culture is staked up high.

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