The Neorurale area: “La Cassinazza”
The Cassinazza is an area that includes about 1400 hectares of lands and 7 old farmhouses, neighbouring with each other. Since 1996, the management of this agricultural area has been aimed at recreating a balance between natural and human elements, which had been lost due to industrialization of agriculture. This purpose is achieved today by complementing biodiversity with crops yield.
In agreement with the European Agri-Environmental policy, we accomplished many naturalization maintenance in the area: for instance, about a million of indigenous trees and bushes were planted. Furthermore, the complex now includes 107 hectares of wetlands, 78 hectares of forests, 65 hectares of woods, 50 hectares of grasslands and 110 kilometers of hedges.
The creation of these habitats has allowed a regeneration of the biodiversity that was present on this territory about a thousand of years ago: for example, the increment of birds species reached 170%.
Every year, about 700 hectares of rice and 250 hectares of other crops are cultivated in such natural context. The crop cultivation techniques (from tillage to harvest, from crop protection to fertilization) are aimed at reducing the impact on the agricultural ecosystems. In order to verify the efficiency of this crop cultivation system, an external certification authority attests yearly the biodiversity and the biological quality of the soil.
Due to the necessity to create a sustainable agriculture, we decided to apply new techniques, such as the blue agriculture (conservative agriculture). This method is capable of stimulating the soil microbial biodiversity and fertility.
To further improve the soil fertility, one of the company target is the enhancement of soil organic matter. In fact, Cassinazza complex is located in an area where livestock farming, so manure, is not present. Those particular farm conditions assign a new relevance to the organic matter coming from the near urban area. The compost and organic wastes have to be strictly checked, treated and deodorized before agricultural use.
The opportunity of using organic fertilizers has limited and, in some cases, canceled the use of chemical fertilizers. Moreover, this technique of fertilization has reduced the GHG emission of 35%.