Agricultural biodiversity needs support through search and recovery operations: especially for organic farming, new seeds resistant to the climate crisis and suitable for organic farming are needed. This is the commitment of the Sowing the Future Foundation and of Nature Yes which, on World Food Day of October 16, open the doors of nine organic farms for collective sowing.
Also this fall over 2,000 people will scatter cereal seeds in the fields. Many of the seeds will be those produced in the catalog field that the Foundation manages together with the University of Pisa, where cereals are being selected that meet the needs of organic farming. These are seeds capable of producing plants with branched and deep roots, capable of going to look for the nourishment that is not provided immediately by synthetic chemical fertilizers. Seeds that give rise to tall wheat plants, able to compete with weeds.
“To reverse the course of the environmental crisis we need to intervene in the primary sector, we also need other seeds which, necessarily, are the result of specific research – he says. Fabio Brescacin, president of NaturaSì – Today part of the seeds used is not ‘reproducible’, or the self-reproduction by the farmer is not interesting because it is unstable and not very productive. Organic farming requires ‘local’ varieties, that is, linked to the characteristics of the production areasor selected specifically for an agroecological practice, able to develop fully in fields where synthetic chemistry is not used “.
In this context the first variety of durum wheat was selected for organic from the crossing of wheat varieties from the Mediterranean areas. The new variety ‘Start‘was born from a research that saw the collaboration of Crea di Foggia together with Peter Kunz, Swiss expert in organic selections, and financed by NaturaSì and Cooperativa Gino Girolomoni. The research started in 2016, then resumed by the Seminare il Futuro Foundation and the Agro-environmental Research Center of the University of Pisa, where crossings were made using modern and ancient varieties. The need for seeds suitable for Italian organic and biodynamic agriculture led NaturaSì to finance the project, destined to evolve and produce new varieties of durum wheat. “We called this ‘Beginning’ first variety of durum wheat suitable for organic farming precisely because it is only a beginning. The selection process is progressing to obtain other varieties with the optimal characteristics for those who carry out organic farming ”, explains Federica Bigongiali, director of the Seminare il Futuro Foundation.
“Climate is the most epochal challenge we face. Organic farming can be part of the solution to agricultural and food impoverishment. But it is necessary a strong commitment to research and innovation for the development and selection of seeds suitable for organic farming. For years we have been asking for research to improve the agronomic techniques of organic and also to increase yields, which are now about a quarter lower than the conventional one. We are putting our experience at the service of this goal, which now seems more important than ever. And it is almost unbelievable to think that it is not public research institutions that deal with a central sector for environmental innovation. It is difficult to think of an ecological transition that forgets agroecology, ”he explains Fausto Jori, managing director of NaturaSì.
The event has been held for 12 years in the NaturaSì ecosystem farms Sowing the future, which sees the participation of hundreds of people engaged in the ancient gesture of spreading seeds on a field. Among the companies participating in the initiative there are this year the Biodynamic Farm Cascine Orsine and the Carpaneta Farm (Lombardy), the New Agriculture Cooperative (Lazio), the Gino Girolomoni Agricultural Cooperative (Marche), the Fattoria Di Vaira Farm (Molise), San Michele Biodynamic Agricultural Society and La Decima Agricultural Society (Veneto), Corte San Ruffillo (Emilia Romagna) and Il Cerreto Agricultural Company (Tuscany).