Newsletter n.66


1.EXPERIENCES: The Gardens of Pomona


3.NEWS ON THE SOIL AND EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS: Something is moving … for the soil…



The Gardens of Pomona

It’s no accident that Adam and Eve are shown in many images as “covering” themselves with fig leaves. The fig is an ancient plant: remains have been found of plants that lived around 23,000 years ago! Furthermore, humans have always prized the fruit of the fig tree. Today it is gaining renewed attention, because every part of the fig tree can be used: leaves, sap, bark, shoots, and of course the fruit, both fresh and dried.

In the municipality of Cisternino (province of Brindisi), in the centre of Valley of Itria (best known as the home of the unique Puglian houses known as “trulli”), can be found the “Gardens of Pomona”. This botanical garden combines the conservation of biodiversity with research and scientific education programmes aimed at schools of every type and level, as well as professionals, amateurs and tourists.  This living genetic bank was born out of the desire and duty to pass on to future generations the precious inheritance selected over millennia by countless generations of farmers. In pursuit of this aim, the existing drystone walls, terraces and water tanks, as well as the buildings, have been restored in keeping with local  building traditions, and the place has been transformed into a park-garden, which is open to the public all year round. Continua a leggere “The Gardens of Pomona”


Citizen Science

In our October newsletter we wrote briefly about the Grow Observatory initiative, a research project based on the participation of citizens – in this case farmers  –  in the collection of data about the soil. We believe that this connection between researchers and citizens should be used to the full and if possible strengthened.

From the outset, our own SIP Forum has been able to involve and empower our members and affiliated groups. One example is the campaign on the concrete census. In order to involve younger people, the Forum can now make use of the tools for participation that use new technology. We can create a tool for democratic control based on the responsible participation of individuals, to identify and assess soil degradation. How? With a phone app. Such an app would allow the systematic collection of data and information about the soil, to be recorded on dynamic maps with the possibility of differentiated functionality.

The data is collected by individuals who are attuned to the question of the protection of the soil / land / landscape and who can provide – through photos, descriptions and information – details of situations in which a certain soil is being degraded. We are not talking about soil science data in the strict sense, but rather about easily obtainable information about pollution, soil sealing, misuse and so on. The participating individual fills in the spaces in the app and adds photos and comments. Continua a leggere “Citizen Science”


Show your stripes

It is not unusual these days to see someone wearing a piece of clothing carrying the image of what looks like a kind of coloured barcode. The first thing you notice is that the columns range from a pale blue to an ever more intense shade of red. The idea came from Ed Hawkins – a researcher at the University of Reading in the UK  – who decided that this was a good way to display the increasingly worrying data on global warming. Ed took the average annual temperatures recorded around the world between 1850 and 2018 and placed them next to each other in columns, colouring them blue (for the coldest ones) and gradually through the different shades to deep red for the hottest ones. This produced an image similar to a barcode, in which we can take in at a single glance the significance of the increase in global temperatures.

What is important here is not the data per se, which anyone can find in the information provided by national weather centres. The striking thing is the realization that in the past few decades there have been no “cold” years. In other words, we can easily see that the world is burning. The technique and methodology were repeated for all the areas and countries for which data exists, and were made publicly available from 17 June 2019 on this website .

Not all areas of the planet are heating at the same rate, but if we look at the image for Italy, for example, we can see that the situation is extremely critical. We have been stuck on crimson for almost a decade. We are heating faster than other countries.

In the meantime, the images are spreading: they have been discussed in the media, reproduced in newspapers and used at many conferences. They have even been adopted by the world of fashion to produce t-shirts, bags and other items.




Something is moving … for the soil …

After years of silence and waiting, something is moving in relation to the soil at the European level.

Let’s have a look at the reasons for thinking this:

Continua a leggere “Something is moving … for the soil …”


Soil Care Network (UK)

In December 2017 a workshop was held in Sheffield UK, with the title Rediscovering soils. This led to an analysis of the importance of observing soils from various points of view, innovating and broadening soil science.

Organized by researchers working across the social sciences and the humanities, this workshop set soils on the agenda of the social sciences and the humanities, but did so by reaching across the social sciences/natural sciences divide. At the heart of this effort was a desire to establish a constructive, critical, empirically-grounded exchange about soil and scientific practice.

One outcome of this workshop was the creation of the “Soil Care Network whose sole guiding principle is the protection and care of the soil. Continua a leggere “Soil Care Network (UK)”


4 per 1000 Initiative :The Initiative’s third meeting will be held in Madrid

Due to political instability, COP25 is being held in Madrid, rather than in Chile, as originally planned. In parallel, 11 December saw the third all-day meeting of the 4per1000 Initiative, which will be held in the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture. The purpose of this meeting was to set the Initiative’s agenda for the coming year.

In the meantime and in preparation for the December meeting, the 6th Newsletter has been published (it is available in EN-FR-SP), crammed with information, dates and events. It includes a map showing the locations of over 400 partners and members. We recommend reading it because it contains useful information for actions at international, European, national and above all local level.

Continua a leggere “4 per 1000 Initiative :The Initiative’s third meeting will be held in Madrid”