Wildflowers valorise sustainable agriculture, local cultural identity, and territorial development

S. Scaramuzzi, F. Bretzel, F. Papini, S. Gabellini
Wildflowers are receiving growing attention as a significant component of the identity of rural territories and of biocultural heritage. They can be used to promote agricultural sustainability and territorial growth. Wildflowers can favour the implementation of bee-friendly low-impact practices, promote biodiversity preservation, and contribute to the valorisation of cultural and tourist experiences. Our study aims to design, test, and promote a new model of agricultural transformation and sustainable rural growth, based on local wildflower cultivation and enhancement, through both market mechanisms (new supply of related goods and services) and non-market mechanisms (new Common Agricultural Policy – CAP – eco-schemes contribution). This paper presents the ongoing participatory action-research (PAR) project Ecoflorland, funded by European Union Rural Development funds, involving a collaboration among public and private key local stakeholders. The project focuses on the case of the San Gimignano territory, a rural area of Tuscany (Italy), well known for its quality wines and the beauty of its landscape, characterised by small vineyards nestled on gentle slopes. Local organic wine farms, typical products, and the richness of local culture and traditions attract tourists from around the world. The four project actions focus on: i) surveying agro-ecological biodiversity on farms; ii) establishing beneficial cultivation practices linked to Common Agricultural Policy Eco-schemes 2 and 5; iii) co-constructing an authentic identity of the San Gimignano territory, through the production of baskets of wildflower-related goods and services; iv) qualifying, marketing, and valorising an integrated territorial offering, combining vertical supply chain innovations with horizontal multifunctional territorial growth, through the development of a dedicated collective mark. As a result, a process of development can be fostered, based on a synergic connection between rurality, local, typical products, and tourism development, leading to increased incomes and diversification of agricultural businesses.
Scaramuzzi, S., Bretzel, F., Papini, F. and Gabellini, S. (2023). Wildflowers valorise sustainable agriculture, local cultural identity, and territorial development. Acta Hortic. 1383, 289-298
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2023.1383.35
native flora, agroecosystems, biodiversity, bee-friendly, San Gimignano, biocultural heritage, rural territorial development, rural landscape, eco-schemes

Acta Horticulturae