Although today is Thursday and I promised I would write about Italian indigenous varietals, I want to write about a subject that kept coming up throughout my Italian trip – biodiversity.
Back to biodiversity in Italy. Italy is among the most cultivated of European countries with over 200+ products that have the protected designation of origin (PDO) or protected geographical indication (PGI) status. There are over 500+ wines that have the DOCG, DOC or IGT designations as well.
Italy also has the highest number of unique flora and fauna in Europe. No mean feat. What does all of this mean? It means that attending to the health and biodiversity of these products is important for the Italian economy and Italy’s international reputation. It seemed to me that this year more than in the past, this was considered a strong point by the authorities, the agricultural ministry and producers. I am quite pleased at this renewed attitude.
More than ever they seemed to be seeking organic certifications. In the past, I have found that the Italian producers as opposed to the French were somewhat loathe to get the certification. Sometimes it was for the bureaucracy that it entailed and sometimes because of the stigma attached. I think that is no longer the case.
I also discovered that a number of food products in the Agrifood pavilion held the symbol Biodiversity Friend from the World Biodiversity Association. The organization, located in Verona, is attempting to make it’s voice heard and looking at the fair, it seemed to be making a difference. We shall see but everyone seems quite concerned about protecting their products. It seemed fitting to write about this right before Earth Day 2011.