The regenerative farmer Matteo Mazzola,, after many years of working with leading regen farmers from around the world, has set up a beautiful farm, Iside Farm, with his partner Paola Archetti, in Sulzano, on the Iseo Lake.. Next to developing their farm, he is creating his vision for how regenerative agriculture in Italy could and should evolve into a system where city and countryside meet and ecology and landscapes lead the way.
Matteo Mazzola is a coordinator of rural development projects, a consultant and trainer in the field of agroecology and a farmer.
After working in various farms, thus acquiring experience from the dry plateaus of the Spanish chalk deserts, through the English moors, the Mediterranean sands of Western Australia, he ended up in the mild climates of the pre-Alpine lakes.
He created TerraOrganica, an organization that offers training, advice and services in the field of agroecology and environmental regeneration.
In October 2016, with Paola, his partner, he started Iside, a farm with integrated systems, a future production and demonstration centre of applied agroecology, regenerative farming practices, ecological architecture and appropriate technologies on the Iseo Lake in the North of Italy.
TEXT SUMMARY OF THE INTERVIEW:
Matteo Mazzola: Creating my own university has allowed me to go much faster in the understanding of certain principles, not stressing myself about learning something that I would have never used in the future, as well as something that would have moved my understanding of certain things in a different direction than going into a more natural flow of things, which sounds a bit naive. But again, it’s about time efficiency as well as results reaching results in that fast, but good way without wasting energy, without wasting too much money, without wasting too much time.
Matteo Mazzola: The possibility that I had of observing landscape through perception, not just by looking in the landscape, but with all the senses to live the landscape that I was sort of passing by and doing this for twelve, thirteen hours a day, for months or for years because these what has been. It really teaches you something that then will help you in anything you will do, because it is about functional observation. But at the same time, observing and proceeding without expectations, without judgment, which again, it sounds something very naive, very unscientific, but basically is the base of science. It’s like not giving to your ideas too much importance and just especially observing ecosystems, changing consortium, of species dynamics and behaviours of nature in certain parts of Europe. In certain other parts of Europe, maybe you don’t get it straight away the connection. But little by little, when you work in agriculture, you work into everything that is connected to ecology and managing the ecosystems.
Matteo Mazzola: Basically the key is to understand that everything comes from either stored energy or potential energy or. Most of the time it comes from sun and energy photons, which are transformed as nature needs in different shapes and behaviour.
Matteo Mazzola: First of all, and if we look at a more ecocentric and non anthropocentric reality is extremely important to take into account energy behaviour and energy flow because that is what dictates, it’s what gives the rule of the game. You can’t really either go and buy energy from outside and you will create a certain amount of social or environmental unsustainability or you manage to work with what you have. And what we have is stored energy. If there is any and potential energy that we can use.
Matteo Mazzola: So basically, when we choose to use more carbohydrates and simple sugars, we basically choose unsustainable type of agriculture because it is based on annual crops.
Matteo Mazzola: And basing our diet on the more vegetarian diet, we should really think what nature would do if it was in our position on this field. Of course, nature will never choose to keep some annual cereals, some annual legumes, some annual vegetables, some annual weeds for more than two years. And we should learn from that. The alternative is simple is it based on millions of years of evolution and these either pasture land managed by a consortium on orchestra of animals or again forest which is again managed by animals and other elements.
Koen van Seijen: So if you would be tomorrow head of an investment fund or head of a portfolio of one billion dollars, that has to be invested with different returns, but invested not granted, what would you do?
Matteo Mazzola: For sure. The first thing, as I said before, I want to create the substrates, the base in order to multiply the potential of this billion of dollars.
Matteo Mazzola: This means to me, again, to do education, to prepare the mass, to understand The change. This would be one of the first thing or one of the most important beginning and then connected to the bioregional idea. I would start many different pilot farms in many different bio regions where research and functional research.
Matteo Mazzola: Functional experimentation should be taken very seriously in order to reach results that will help the farmers of that area where the pilot farm is to allow these farmers to modify, to renew their productive system. Towards more regenerative regime in order to from one side, decrease the costs of production, from the other side increase the quality of the produce that will be then flooding into the market.
Matteo Mazzola: And at the same time understanding how to create ecosystems services that will allow the whole bioregion to increase general health and genetic potential of living beings that are participating.
Matteo Mazzola: In fact, a consistent amount of investments should go in the direction of lobbying and new policy making that sees the farmer as the most important element of the human society and not the most important slave of human society.
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