What does the Provincial Director of Coldiretti of Potenza think about social innovation in agriculture and its implications for the agri-food sector?
Innovation in agriculture is possible thanks to the brilliance of young farmers, the recovery of the traditions and territorial features and by enhancing those environmental and naturalistic aspects that distinguish our region. Innovation is possible with farms run by women. Women are involved in the production of almost a third of the Italy’s agriculture. In most cases, they created their own business by starting from a traditional basis and transforming memories of the past into modern business ideas. Multifunctional companies allow entrepreneurs to innovate easily by associating new and different services to production. For example in the area of processing of agricultural products, the agri-wellness, the social and educational farms, etc. Campagna Amica has been connecting with entrepreneurs who believe in the region by investing and innovating businesses by using agronomic practices which are compatible with the protection of the environment and biodiversity. With Campagna Amica, farmers are required to commit to making quality products at fair prices, with products that represent an important material and non-material heritage. All this offers a valid response to the economic and social crisis. As a Land Of Stories project in conjunction with the Coldiretti, Campagna Amica gives Lucanian agricultural companies an opportunity to develop with new relationships and collaborations.
Is social and cultural innovation in the world of agriculture already practiced by Coldiretti? What are the recent experiences it has had at territorial level?
Through the drawn-up criteria , Coldiretti has chosen from its members examples of innovative and enterprising farms, which have at the same time maintained the link with the territory and looked to the future through a better use and exploitation of different and new technological tools. To enhance and give space to innovation in agriculture, Coldiretti Giovani Impresa introduced the Oscar Green national award which is now in its eighth year. This has the aim of bringing out and exploiting the experiences of successful entrepreneurs who have built sustainable and competitive enterprise projects by strengthening the bond with the territory to which they belong.
There is a Lucanian farm among the finalists of this year’s competition. This is because the award always goes to someone who can maintain their own roots but at the same time branch out into the future. Besides this more recent initiative, Coldiretti Basilicata is actively bringing forward the project Campagna Amica, which, at the local level, includes more than 120 farms. Campagna Amica builds a dialog between producers and consumers by promoting local development, enhancing the home-grown resources, protecting product quality and promoting the typical products and "made in Italy" food as an economic resource and a fundamental statement of identity.
What are the projects and actions being planned for the next few months?
One of the future objectives is to strengthen the network of companies by developing a short supply chain and using community resources and to provide suitable support for Lucanian farmers. We always try to form networks among companies. In the short term, we will be meeting with the local restaurant owners who use the goods from Campagna Amica to create menus based around those products.
As part of its promotion of the region and its unique qualities, Coldiretti will participate in the Chestnut festival in Tramutola and Melfi to promote a product that is normally enhanced only in the spotlight during the festival. With the participation of Alsia, it will involve and gather the producers with the objective of improving the traceability of product and its process.
Among the next events, there will be a food education project among local schools. This aims to create awareness among the teachers and parents about the quality of typical Lucanian products.
Coldiretti will also visit Expo 2015 with its own exhibition space that will show off local excellence.