Originally published on Slowear Journal on Nov 21st
Thanks to Francesca Stignani for translation
More cereals, less meat, and a lot of fruits and vegetables. The sustainable diet, which is good for our health as well as for the environment, has a lot in common with the vegetarian diet, starting from the huge consumption of cereals.
Yet how sustainable is it to grow cereals? As with any other kind of extensive farming, thanks to phytochemistry and integrated farming there have been quite a few improvements in the pesticide containment rate. However, we need to do more, which is exactly what is happening today.
Italy has been the first country to ever patent a method called “Riso secondo natura” (nature-wise rice), developed by Molinia farmers. The method includes a series of “natural” techniques allowing the firm to spare around 50% of the water needed for irrigation and up to 80% of greenhouse gas emissions. Along with the use of three innovative machineries, the only real innovation brought along by this method lies in following the rhythms of nature and its cycles.
As for wheat – the most common cereal in our diet – the search for sustainability starts already from the seed. A famous Italian pasta manufacturer has been examining the farmland and the atmospheric conditions near its plants and mills, selecting the most suitable wheat plants in order to obtain a good yeld with very limited artificial interventions. Moreover, since the fields are very close to the factories, these experimental crops are super-sustainable.
Another example of natural farming comes from Poggio del farro, a formerly abandoned farm surrounded by the Tuscan hills which has recently been renovated and currently produces organic emmer. The crops are so excellent that they get sold before they have even grown!
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[New Sustainable Agriculture Model]