A model for multifunctional and sustainable development of marginal areas.
The case study is based on an integrated supply chain project funded under the EU’s rural development policy, which involved research centres, private companies, farmers and public administrations to promote sustainable rural development through new cropping systems and management innovations. The inland and hilly areas of the region of Tuscany are marginal areas characterised by conventional extensive agriculture, mainly based on cereals and of low agricultural value. Soil erosion, nutrient leaching and soil carbon depletion are undoubtedly the main critical issues in these areas. The key concept of the project was to transform the existing agricultural systems of the inland and hilly areas of Tuscany, mainly based on annual cereal crops, by introducing perennial medicinal and aromatic plants (such as lavender) and by converting from conventional to organic farming models. The combination of an innovative agro-ecological cropping system and the adoption of conservative agricultural practices reduces the impact of tillage on soil erosion and nutrient loss, contributes to improving soil structure and increasing soil organic matter, thus maximising soil fertility and health, productivity, resilience and landscape enhancement. At the same time, the project has made it possible to develop new supply chains with high added value of final products, supporting the territorial multifunctional development of the hilly area. In the NOVASOIL project, we will focus on learning from the experience of the project by studying the effectiveness of the actions taken in terms of improving soil fertility and health, increasing productivity, resilience and landscape enhancement. We will explore the possibility of developing business models aimed at adding value to agronomic management to maintain soil health with innovative plant products through certification and production standards.
Competition from lower-cost products from other countries,Market changesExtreme weather conditions (extreme rainfall, floods and droughts)
Local, organic certified organic and fully traceable final productsSocial awareness interested in high quality and healthy productExisting farmer networkHigher revenue for farmers compared to previous cropping system
Tuscany Region – Regional administrationPrivate companiesFarmersFarmer associationAccademia dei GeorgofiliNon-profit association (Chimica verde Bionet)CREA-ABP (Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l’analisi dell’economia agraria-centro di agrobiologia e pedologia)RE SOIL FOUNDATION (https://resoilfoundation.org/)
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