“Agriculture is a world that arouses enthusiasm in young people, creates involvement and strong interest thanks to the opportunity of creating aself-employment by rediscovering local traditions and new ways of living protecting the environment”.
In Oppido Lucano lives Pasquale Polosa, a former personal trainer that at the age of 28 quit his job in Rome and decided to go back to Basilicata to be a farmer, restarting the cultivation of hemp, actually abandoned in the region. Apart from being perfect to regenerate and purify the soil, hemp is useful for producing a lot of goods, such as a healthy cooking oil, eco-materials lfor the building sector, bricks, paper, textiles, flour, cosmetics, medicines and even biofuel.
“It’s a plant that allows you to avoid to throw anything away.” It is owing to all these properties that Pasquale, the owner of the Polosa agricultural farm and member of Board of the Assocanapa Basilicata, has dedicated 12 hectares of land to the cultivation of hemp. “I worked and studied in Rome but I wanted to get back to a healthy lifestyle in contact with nature and with our origins, by reusing ancient cultivars and initiating cooperation processes in the region.”
Together with two friends, Pasquale has decided to focus on the restoration of the ancient tradition of hemp, a forgotten plant, the cultivation of which seemed no longer viable. In Basilicata hemp had been used for centuries, so that in Oppido Lucano there is a place that takes the name of “Canapaio” from the hemp cultivation. Basilicata was very active in producing textiles, paper and string derived from the plant. Prohibited during the fascist period, supplanted by the market penetration of synthetic fibres , after the Second World War hemp began to disappear. Now in Basilicata the ancient cultivar has reborn to new life.
Pasquale Polosa’s plantation extends between Oppido Lucano and Genzano. By cold pressing the seeds, the Polosa company gets oil and flour for the production of biscuits, bread, pasta and chocolate. But the cultivation of hemp is part of a larger experiment that aims to introduce, promote and implement new manufacturing processes in Basilicata. Pasquale is working on a real cultural change, which brings young and old to discover several aspects related to the cultivation, processing and marketing of hemp. With the association Assocanapa he informs, supports and provides assistance to local farmers interested in cultivate hemp as an alternative to traditional crops. Hemp, as well as offering benefits in terms of environmental sustainability, is a veritable treasure trove of production possibilities. Thanks to the involvement of farmers, producers, processors and artisans a short supply chain is taking shape in order to use seeds and other hemp products in other industrial processes. In Oppido Lucano, a passion for agriculture and for the territory of a young farmer is giving life to a laboratory for experimentation that allows to innovate by cooperating.