Imma, alias The Orange Girl
Inspired by my family farm's struggles with unfair local traders, I founded The Orange Girl, a sole proprietorship that serves as a Luxembourg-based food hub (a “connection channel”) for small producers in Eastern Sicily.
The existing industrial mode of food production and distribution have undoubtedly contributed to increased marginalization, inequality and vulnerability of small family farms and artisanal producers.
Our mission is to partner with small-scale, spatially dispersed and limited-resource producers across Eastern Sicily to increase community access to Sicilian sourced food. We provide the logistics and market opportunities that connect people from Luxembourg and surroundings with specialty products thoughtfully-grown in Eastern Sicily.
Vision and approach
Our vision is that conscious small producers gain a stronger economic foothold in the marketplace, and that people discover healthy eating and thoughtfully-grown food to embrace social, healthy, economic and environmental benefits. From our position in the middle of the food supply chain, we strive to create and connect solutions to facilitate a fairer, more transparent and personal food system.
Growing up on my family’s small orchard in a little town in Eastern Sicily called Francofonte, I gained an appreciation for seasonal fruits and vegetables and a fascination with what it’s like working on farm. However. since my childhood, I already knew that my desire to get our orange grove back into profitable shape would have led me to schools and workplaces I never could have predicted.
Between 1999 and 2006, I completed my graduate studies in Economics in Rimini (University of Bologna-Italy), and got the Master’s degrees in Cooperation & Development in Pavia (IUSS-Italy), and in International Finance in Luxembourg (IFBL-Luxembourg City). In September 2006, I began working as a tax advisor first, and as a knowledge management officer after, for a multinational in Luxembourg. At that point, with a permanent contract in my pocket, all I knew was that I had to do my best to help my father in direct selling our own oranges ando remove our citrus from the grip of the middlemen. After one year, I was able to offer the first 5 orange boxes to my colleagues and tell them about the story behind them. That was the beginning of my project to support small Sicilian farmers with a transparent approach, all while helping people discover and experience the connection between unique Sicilian products and their producers.
Imma Di Marcoinfo@theorangegirl.lu
The orange orders quickly grew from 160kg in 2009 to 2500kg in 2012, I thereby created the website mangialarossa.com to allow consumers in Luxembourg and surroundings to place orders online. With the precious help of my father, I spent the last five years building a customized seasonal delivery service, from December to March, while discovering small but talented small producers in the Catania and Syracuse areas who grow safe, high-quality products.
For thirteen years I continued my career path for the multinational and run orange deliveries as a side project to my permanent job. During this time while meeting consumers, farmers and communities, I noticed that the stress of my career in the multinational did not enter my mind. In 2019 I thereby made the decision to quit my permanent job and launch "The Orange Girl" food hub project.
Today "The Orange Girl" reflects my personal passion for farming traditions and an entrepreneurial streak. And of course, it’s an homage to my father.