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We Plant Biodiversity

This is an important project launched in 2017 to help small businesses and farmers. The goal? To guarantee the survival of highly endangered varieties.

The landscape is the seat of our collective soul”, in the words of Carlin Petrini.

In 2017, we launched the We Plant Biodiversity project with the aim of helping small businesses and farmers register certain varieties of vegetables at risk of extinction in public catalogues, allowing them to independently sell their seeds, and guaranteeing the survival of highly endangered varieties.

Registering traditional seeds in public lists means protecting them from the hoarding of multinationals, ensuring their survival and allowing them to be marketed legally. Another purpose of the project is to raise awareness among the general public about the importance of seeds. The sachets containing the vegetable seeds registered in the public lists and protected by the We Plant Biodiversity project were then made available in the Eataly shops to involve everyone in the campaign.

Seminiamo la biodiversità

A partnership for biodiversity

We Plant Biodiversity is the result of a partnership between Eataly, Arcoiris, the only exclusively organic Italian seed company, Francesco Sottile, exponent of the Slow Food executive committee and professor of the Departments of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences of the University of Palermo, and the non-profit Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity.

Why do we plant biodiversity?

As we know, biodiversity is being threatened by industrial agriculture, which tends to homogenise production and increase yields without considering pollution, soil impoverishment and energy consumption. The agro-industrial changes of the last 70 years have drastically reduced diversity to the point that, according to the FAO, 75% of plant varieties are now irretrievably lost. Of the 80,000 edible species that can be consumed, only 150 are cultivated today, eight of which are marketed all over the world.

Arcoiris - Lofiego

The importance of seeds

As the farming communities teach us, seeds are a symbol of life and bearers of hope. They are a gift of nature. For this reason they cannot be the exclusive property of a few (in 2017, 95% of the vegetable seed market in the EU was controlled by the top five companies in the sector), but must be considered a common good. They are the first link in the food chain, the basis of the planet's survival, selected and produced for 10,000 years by peasant communities around the world who traded them with each other.

Selecting and producing seeds means ensuring the possibility of a good harvest the following year, therefore food sovereignty and economic independence, and it means conserving biodiversity in a natural way. Like a language or a gastronomic heritage, as the first link in the food chain seeds are the expression of cultures and knowledge that have deep roots in the territory of origin.

Seeds are therefore the foundation of our biodiversity, inextricably linked to a community's culture and gastronomy. This is why we want to protect them, conserve them and fight to preserve the right of today's farmers to exchange and reproduce traditional seeds, avoiding leaving control over our food in the hands of a few. We Plant Biodiversity is therefore an ambitious project that sets important objectives by spreading information about seeds from a political and cultural point of view and giving farmers a voice.

Seminiamo la biodiversità: fagioli

Back to basics

Today the young people returning to agriculture, and returning convinced and competent, are re-learning how to make their own seeds. And so, little by little, the biodiversity which can no longer be found in most seed shops is returning to some farms.

We Plant Biodiversity is a first, fundamental step towards a completely new production paradigm.