In Italy, an innovative partnership between organic farmers, local governments, catering and hospitality industries have led to the creation of Bio-districts – regional networks that promote short supply chains, preserve local traditions and resources, and support rural development. The Agrispin team will explore how this partnership works in practice during the next Cross Visit from June 21 to 24 in Cilento, Italy.
Bio-districts or Eco-Regions
To understand how the Bio-districts work, partners will talk to the founding fathers of the first Bio-district in Cilento. Initial activities focused on creating a network of organic farms, producer associations, municipalities, caterers, eco-tourism operators, and consumers, through short supply chain initiatives.
In only a few years, the Cilento Bio-district attracted a large number of local actors and produced results that had great impact on the region in terms of creating a market for the production. Inspired by this experience, AIAB promoted the establishment of “bio-districts” in other Italian regions.
To date 14 bio-districts have been constituted in 10 Regions.
The multifunctional approach of “Felice Maio”
The organic farm “Felice Maio” combines agriculture with other farming activities such as eco-tourism, education, culture, leisure, and landscape preservation. The farm was a founding member of the Bio-district Cilento and has been actively involved in its development. In 2009, it became the headquarters of Cilento’s AIAB branch.
Tenuta Vannulo is an organic farm certified by ICEA (Ethical and Environmental Certification Institute) with 600 buffalos for the production of mozzarella cheese at “Km 0” and derived products. Vannulo extended the production of mozzarella to include yogurt, puddings made of buffalo milk, transforming the skins of the animals and creating a signed line of bags and crafted objects. The farm’s entrepreneurship has resulted in thousands of visitors a month, thirty employees, four robots for automatic milking, and new age piped music. Also, 200 ha of soil are devoted to organic agriculture to relaunch local traditional craftsmanship.
The Mediterranean Diet “Angelo Vassallo”
The International Study Centre on the Mediterranean Diet, “Angelo Vassallo”, is the organization responsible for the dissemination, training, research and study on the Mediterranean Diet. It is a cultural and life style innovation started in Pollica in the 60s with the studies of Ancel Keys.
Since 2009, the Bio-district Cilento has been actively engaged in the promotion of the Mediterranean Diet, and has among other events participated in the Festival of Pioppi-Pollica. In recent years, it has worked closely with the International Study Centre on the Mediterranean Diet “Angelo Vassallo”, for example, by collaborating on the EXPO 2015 in Milan.