Summer school on Agrobiodiversity in a Changing Climate

Collaborators of the SECOSUD II Italian Cooperation Project attended in the Summer School on Agrobiodiversity in a Changing Climate that took place between September 25th to October 5th of the current year at the FAO, headquarters in Rome.

The course focused on the importance of biodiversity in agriculture, paying special attention to its role in strengthening the resilience and adaptability of the cultivation systems to climate change. The purpose of the course was to provide professionals with the appropriate tools, knowledge and understanding to increase productivity and improve marketing strategies in sustainable and resilient farming systems.

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The course included joint lectures by speakers from various italian and international organizations and two field trips to nearby farms, which provided relevant practical experiences.

The first field visit was to the municipality of Vallepietra, where a small consortium of farmers (Azienda Agricola Mieli D’autore) is beginning to rescue the production of a traditional leguminous of the Valle del Simbrivio, the bean  “Ciavattone”, as well as apply the principles of Slow Food. Beans, honey and wine are locally marketed.

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The other field visit was in the Molise region, specifically in Fattoria di Varia, which is the largest agricultural company in the region. In the agricultural area (500 hectares) of this farm the natural resources and human presence have lived together for centuries with an exceptional ecological balance, applying the basic principles of biodynamic farming: the vision of the farm as an organism agricultural. The agroecosystem of Fattoria di Varia includes vineyards, olive groves, horticultural crops, cereals and fodder for dairy cows breeding, etc. The compost organic substance is used to fertilize the fields, crop rotations are practiced and the biodynamic method is the basis of production. Cheese, wine, oil, honey, tomato and tomato puree are processed locally.

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In short, during the first week, scientific-based presentations were made emphasizing the importance of biodiversity in agriculture and the role of farmers in their use in a sustainable way. In the second week of the course, case studies were presented in the context of the Mountain Partnership Initiative, as well as of organic farming and the transport and commercialization of crops, which seek to improve the diversity and quality of the diet, for its generating sustainable incomes for small farmers and assisting in the restoration and preservation of agroecosystem in the face of the effects of climate change.

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At the end of the course, SECOSUDS’s collaborators expressed the enthusiasm of bringing and applying the new ideas acquired, as well as rescuing traditional techniques and cultivars and harmonizing them to the modern context in a sustainable way for the benefit of the communities and preservation of the environment in the face of local and personal impacts of climate change.

The Summer school on Agrobiodiversity in a Changing Climate was organized by the University of Sapienza of Rome, Department of Environmental Biology; Bioversity International; Mountain Partnership Secretariat. With the technical support of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It was sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, NaturaSì, Slow Food International, IFOAM Organics International and the University of Torino.

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