Becoming an Organic farm in Italy, with certification, its a process
We always wanted to be farming in the way known as BIO, or Organic so without pesticides, and using organic methods, so it was with this mindset that we started our farm, and look after our crops, be they grapes, olives or vegetables.
When we started talking to our agronomist Francesco, we discovered that our land had been certified BIO, so farmed organically, however unfortunately the yearly payments to keep the application on the land, had stopped meaning that the land was just normal farmland again, and we would need to start the application process from the beginning.
Three years of monitoring
Yes, three years of organic logbook keeping to document the seeds we use, the trees we plant and the applications of spinosad on the olives, and of copper on the the grapes. When organic farming you are trying to use as little organic authorised products as possible, you want the ecosystem to look after itself, insects, predators etc.
We are heading into year 2 now, things are going well, we have had some failures, but mostly the olives and grapes did well, our veg grows well, and we are eating seasonal veg, nothing forced.
With regard to our organic application, we will keep the logbook filled, and work to make sure we try to treat our ecosystem with care, in a year or so, we will receive our organic certification, and we will both be very satisfied that we are doing our part in making our farm produce organic produce that is enjoyed by our friends, family and customers.
2 Year site visit by Valoritalia
As the new 2023-2027 PAC is not in place it seems that many regulations will more strictly enforced, particularly in relation to plant protection products or PF (prodotto fitosantario) this is all to ensure that any products that can affect human health or the environment are used only by registered and licensed users and that ultimately all this is good for the environment, our ecosystems and us.
For our recent site visit we needed to ensure that;
- PF containers were stored correctly in their locked, ventilated cupboard in a locked ventilated dedicated room
- PF containers that are empty are stored correctly in the locked area, to be disposed of via certified waste management companies when possible
- Our register of treatments was all up to date
- All receipts for PF products purchased were available
- Personal protection equipment was available, suits, mask, gloves, eyewear, boots
- First aid and eye wash stations were in place
- Fire extinguisher in place
- Our sprayer was either less than three years old, or if older was certified after its last health check
- We had the ability to have a licensed person purchase and apply the PF products
After working through the documentation all seemed well, and we look forward to receiving the account of the site visit via email in the near future.
We are working with VALORITALIA to gain our farms Organic certification