NORTH FORK — North Fork native Amy Inman (NFS class of 1993 and Sierra High class of 1997) has become an international mover and shaker.
Amy moved to the picturesque Cinque Terre region in northwest Italy in 2003, married a local in 2009 and started her family in 2011.
In her 17 years as an expat she has become an active and deeply rooted member of her adopted community — and a high-profile advocate for maintaining the area’s cultural heritage as well as its beautiful landscape.
Amy’s voice has international reach via her popular blog called Cinque Terre Insider (www.cinqueterreinsider.com).
Travel guru Rick Steves asked for Amy to accompany him during his visit to the Cinque Terre last year and she has also appeared in documentaries on the area, including an episode of “Impossible Engineering” that highlighted the local railway line.
Amy’s latest project, which she has been working on with a team of volunteers, is a crowdfunding project on Indiegogo called Grapes & Heroes (http://igg.me/at/grapesandheroes).
In the fall of 2019, the Cinque Terre was hit particularly hard by back-to-back storms and incessant rainfall. In three short months, the area received more precipitation than the annual average. Many of the dry stone retaining walls, the backbone of this area that keep it erect and prevent it from washing to the sea, collapsed.
The guardians and caretakers of these walls are the Cinque Terre winemakers but the financial responsibility of repairing and rebuilding the walls is prohibitive for these micro-producers.
The Grapes & Heroes crowdfunding campaign was created to help lessen the financial burden by offsetting the costs to rebuild the walls, thus ensuring the safety of the five villages below.
“Most visitors to this area do not realize the importance of these dry stone walls, constructed over a millennium ago using a technique that pieces the stones together like a giant artisan puzzle, without the use of cement or mortar,” Amy says. “There are over 5,000 miles of dry stone walls in the Cinque Terre. This area became a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to them and the unique terraced landscape they create. These walls, constructed by hand by ancestors, created essential space for agriculture and made this steep and inhospitable place habitable. Without the dry stone walls, there would be no Cinque Terre.”
The crowdfunding campaign is live on Indiegogo from February 14 through March 25. In exchange for contributions to the cause, donors will receive “perks” like Cinque Terre wine, campaign t-shirts and professional photographs.