Newsletter n.50

This is our 50th Newsletter!

 We can hardly believe it. And we feel as though we’ve only just begun.

Thanks to Meri, Lorenza, Emily, Elizabeth, Mario

 and thank you especially to all our readers

 

16/08/2018

1.EXPRIENCES : Ogigia Wood, communication starts from the land

2. NEWS FROM SIP FORUM :

3. NEWS ABOUT THE SOIL AND EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS: As Galileo said: … eppur si muove … (and yet it moves)

4. WE ARE NOT ALONE!

Annunci

Ogigia Wood, communication starts from the land

Ogigia Wood, a project to communicate on matters relating to the environment, farming and sustainability, is the brainchild of two journalists, Francesca Della Giovampaola and Filippo Bellantoni. The starting point was their personal account of cultivating a small plot of land (see photo), on the principles of permaculture. The land is being used to develop a food forest, which is a form of mixed cultivation that imitates the woodland ecosystem, in which there grow trees, bushes, vegetables, and everything that is needed to satisfy human needs, not just for food. Communication about the project on environmental themes is carried out through social media, mainly through videos that reach a large audience, with the aim of increasing public awareness of protection of the natural world.

The project arose out of Francesca Della Giovampaola’s interest in permaculture, a system which originated 40 years ago in Australia with the aim of halting the degradation of natural ecosystems caused by human activity. The word is a blend of the two words “permanent agriculture”, but can also refer to “permanent culture”. In the early days, permaculture was focused above all on farming, whose modern methods were accused of causing irreparable harm to natural systems. Soon, however, the attention of permaculturists widened to include other aspects of people’s lives, from the places we live in to social relationships. At a time of acute environmental, social and economic crisis, the messagge of permaculture is a positive one: our planet can continue to sustain us, provided we stop putting so much effort into opposing nature and instead start working in harmony with it. The application of the  principles and ideas of permaculture offers concrete answers to many of the urgent questions posed by our age: from the prospect of fossil fuels running out to climate change, from the population explosion to poverty.

Francesca Della Giovampaola says: “I like writing about the natural world, farming, healthy food, and respect for the environment and I thought that to do it better I would have to get my hands dirty because theory needs practice just as practice needs theory. In 2015 I took the Italian Academy for Permaculture’s 72 hour course, and I have carried on learning by doing a Diploma in Permaculture Planning. Ogigia Wood is my outdoor lab, my escape, my larder, my gym, my library and above all a place that is close to my heart”.

The preservation or recovery of the soil’s fertility is at the heart of every permaculture project. In Ogigia Wood, before cultivating plants, they cultivate the soil.  On this plot of land, which is located in the province of Siena, they are trying out new and old methods for increasing the humus and the vitality of the soil. The skills gained on the land are useful for the work of communication. The website www.boscodiogigia.it deals with subjects of great interest today: how to produce high-quality food, protecting health, the energy crisis, climate change, pollution and so on. There is expertise, but also humour. Using videos, articles and other content, the site suggests ways of changing individual behaviour that can gradually be scaled up to achieve the much-hoped-for environmental sustainability. To support the project and follow the progress of Ogigia Wood you can follow them on Facebook, YouTube e Instagram, where they already have around 50,000 followers.

To contact Francesca Della Giovampaola and for further information: boscodiogigia@gmail.com

Text of the Forum’s draft law in French

The proposed directive on soil protection put forward by the European Commission in 2006 never succeeded in overcoming the obstacles placed in its path by member states and their vested interests. In 2014, the then Commissioner for the Environment decided to withdraw the directive in order to put forward a new one, but only a few months later the new Commission, which is still in post, blocked all initiatives relating to the environment.

The parts of the voluntary sector that work to protect nature have also failed as regards the soil. In 2017 People4soil, an initiative by EU citizens, succeeded in gathering only 200,000 signatures instead of the one million required.

In this context, the draft Italian law AC 63 takes on an importance that goes far beyond the borders of Italy. At the same time the European channel needs to be activated in order to obtain a directive for the protection of the soil. The many parallels between what is discussed in Italy and what will be discussed in Europe could lead to constant synergy and a consistent comparison between national policy and that of the EU. The two should move forward together.

The SIP Forum can present this draft law to the European institutions, representatives of civil society and the business world (construction firms, representatives of building workers, farmers, administrators, planners) to encourage them to reopen the conversation about creating a European directive on the soil. In order to widen access and aid understanding, the Forum has produced an English translation and now one in French as well, which can be seen below.

 

Deeds not words!

Some readers questioned our decision in the last Newsletter to discuss the International Forum on Food & Nutrition and not for example the Forum for the Future of Agriculture (FFA) which took place in Brussels on 27 March 2018. We can assure readers that we were not encouraged to do so by Barilla! We thought the final document with recommendations for a new CAP based in part on food was a concrete step that added interest to the debates and talks held during the conference on 6 June.

 

But we also have a confession to make: we no longer have the energy to attend conferences/showcases where the platform is occupied in turn by representatives of international and/or European organizations, with opening remarks by some queen or prince or head of state.

Streams of self-aggrandizing words that recount, recommend, advise and then … see you again next year at another meeting where the whole thing happens all over again.

This is what it was like at the FFA in March 2018, the 11th in a series http://www.forumforagriculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/FFA2018-final-agenda.pdf. But the same goes for the EU Green Week, “held” this year from 21 – 25 May (https://www.eugreenweek.eu/). And for the two EU Development Days (EDD) on 5 and 6 June (https://eudevdays.eu/).

As we observed last year, Green Week (https://angelidelsuolo.wordpress.com/2017/07/01/notizie-su-suolo-e-istituzioni-europee-tempo-di-conferenze/) has been emptied of its meaning as an opportunity for encounters, debates, and yes, “clashes” that gave rise to synergies, options and opportunities.

In our opinion, the EDD retains some interest not because of the platform and the speeches, but because of the dozens of independent stands where you can find new ideas, concrete solutions and practical suggestions.

 

To return to the FFA it offers – in our view – a magnificent chance to showcase opportunities and possibilities … however it lacks any sort of buzz, you don’t sense the emergence of energy capable of showing us a real way forward.

So instead we will pass on the words of the Chef Massimo Mottura (proprietor of the Osteria Francescana in Modena and founder of “Food for Soul”) in his talk at FFA: “Enough of words! We need concrete, tangible deeds that show the change we need is possible.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=26&v=zGlSfbS_NSw)

 

This does not mean that we no longer intend to speak at European and international conferences on the soil, farming and the environment. We will do so, especially if our readers encourage us to.

As Galileo said: … eppur si muove … (and yet it moves)

Recent years have seen an exponential increase in criticisms of the European institutions. We always expect substantial changes from Brussels …  But often we forget that the EU institutions act on the mandate and under the control of member states, and that the latter do not want to give EU institutions any autonomy. Nevertheless the EU machine does move and when something positive happens we should be pleased and show our appreciation.

On 5 July the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) acquired greater powers over the process of reform of the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy). In future, the Committee will be able to intervene directly with its own amendments along  with the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) on matters regarding the environment. Technically this relates to article 54 of the rules of procedure of the European Parliament (Procedure for Associated Committees).

Until now the procedure was this: AGRI would send texts on the CAP to all the parliamentary committees with an interest in the subject, and they would read, discuss and send the text back to AGRI with their comments. The latter could decide whether or not to take them into account and it was always AGRI that presented the final version to the European Parliament.

As a result of the change made on 5 July, the comments and texts produced by ENVI will form an integral part of the text that is made available to the full assembly. AGRI and ENVI will therefore work together on the preparation and presentation of the text on agriculture in the EU.

Environmental organizations are pleased with this new situation, which recognizes their efforts to make agriculture more responsive to environmental concerns. Farmers’ organizations are less pleased, as they see the risk of limits being imposed on their farming activities, which are already difficult enough.

We should in any case recognize that Parliament has shown its desire to stress the fact that agriculture is no longer just about farming and that the AGRI committee must accept that agricultural production and environmental protection are equally important, especially in relation to ongoing climate change.

Text of the Forum’s draft law in French

The proposed directive on soil protection put forward by the European Commission in 2006 never succeeded in overcoming the obstacles placed in its path by Member States and their vested interests. In 2014, the then Commissioner for the Environment decided to withdraw the directive in order to put forward a new one, but only a few months later the new Commission, which is still in post, blocked all initiatives relating to the environment.

The parts of the voluntary sector that work to protect nature have also failed as regards the soil. In 2017 People4soil, an initiative by EU citizens, succeeded in gathering only 200,000 signatures instead of the one million required.

In this context, the draft Italian law AC 63 takes on an importance that goes far beyond the borders of Italy. At the same time the European channel needs to be activated in order to obtain a directive for the protection of the soil. The many parallels between what is discussed in Italy and what will be discussed in Europe could lead to constant synergy and a consistent comparison between national policy and that of the EU. The two should move forward together.

The SIP Forum can present this draft law to the European institutions, representatives of civil society and the business world (construction firms, representatives of building workers, farmers, administrators, planners) to encourage them to reopen the conversation about creating a European directive on the soil. In order to widen access and aid understanding, the Forum has produced an English translation and now one in French as well, which can be seen below.

Def DDL Consommation du sol 31_01_2018 – Version FR

First symposium in Africa and a meeting in Poland

Preparations are underway for two particularly exciting events that relate directly to the 4 per 1000 Iniziative.

We start in Africa, where the first symposium on the Initiative will be held in Johannesburg from 24 to 26 October 2018. The event will have a unique character because it is organized jointly with NEPAD. For those who haven’t heard of it, NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development) is a pan-African organization for socio-economic development, created to tackle the challenges faced by the continent, such as poverty and the exclusion of Africa from the global economy. Created in 2001, since 2010 NEPAD has been an Agency of the African Union with a remit to coordinate and enhance development programmes and projects for the whole continent of Africa.

NEPAD’s direct involvement in the 4per1000 Initiative is a concrete sign of the will to integrate carbon capture techniques and the maintenance of the soil’s natural fertility into African agriculture.

 

The second event is a day organized by the Initiative on 13 December 2018 at Katowice in Poland concurrently with COP 24, the climate change conference (which runs from 3 to 14 December). It is too early to know what the agenda will be or who will take part, but it will be a day for comparing notes and study, followed by the Initiative’s AGM.

 

It is worth noting that agroecology, which lies at the heart of the 4per1000 Initiative, is gaining ever-increasing importance. People are coming to undestand the need to produce food using natural methods that respect the soil and the ecosystems that contain it. National and international institutions are slowly realizing that we have overshot the limits of the planet’s resilience. Governments must now listen to their citizens and institutions and enact the political choices that are needed.  Ogigia Wood, which we showcased at the start of this Newsletter, is not “just a small example”, but a further indication of the road we must follow.

Bollettino n. 50

Siamo arrivati al numero 50!
 Non ci sembra vero. Anzi ci sembra di avere appena iniziato.
Grazie a Meri, Lorenza, Emily, Elizabeth, Mario
 e grazie soprattutto a tutti coloro che ci leggono

 

01/08/2018

1.ESPERIENZE: Il Bosco di Ogigia, comunicare partendo dalla terra

2.NOTIZIE DAL FORUM SIP:

3.NOTIZIE SU SUOLO E ISTITUZIONI EUROPEE: … eppur si muove …

4.NON SIAMO SOLI!