La Vialla and Nature
The Fattoria has always - for over 40 years now! - cultivated the land using Organic Methods and since 1997 also Biodynamics.
Organic agriculture doesn’t just mean not using chemical pesticides and fertilizer, it promotes the soil’s natural fertility, certifying and guaranteeing: crop rotation, periodic rest of the soil, the choice of selected varieties of plants and seeds (organic seed register), green manuring and the ban on GMOs (genetically modified organisms). It requires ample space in barns for the animals, insists on the use of grazing, prohibits the use of hormones and only permits antibiotics in the actual event of illness, safeguards the dignity of life and likewise the way it ends.
Biodynamic agriculture enhances the organic quality by improving the soil’s fertility and the biodiversity: it considers an entire farm as a single organism, in which the land, plants, animals and man can live in a harmonious, closed cycle - from cultivation, to production, to recycling waste through composting. This circular system foresees the use of Biodynamic Preparations, concentrated compounds (also produced at the Fattoria) to be sprayed periodically on the crops; of a biodynamic compost heap and macerated plants and flowers; as well as having a lunar calendar for the main operations of cultivation. Biodynamics is essentially the good, wise, meticulous agriculture of our forefathers, who managed to produce healthy fruits and look after the environment for centuries without wastefulness and without chemicals.
At La Vialla 742 hectares of vineyards, fields, olive groves, vegetable and fruit patches are cultivated using Biodynamic Methods, and they are all Demeter certified... this corresponds to 64% of the Fattoria’s land. The rest is land that has only come under La Vialla’s management recently, 197 hectares of which are already certified organic, and another 222 hectares are undergoing conversion; the produce made with crops from these areas is labelled with the specification “in conversione all’Agricoltura Biologica-Organica” (= in conversion to Organic farming) for the period foreseen by European regulations.
To the certified Organic and Biodynamic methods we add La Vialla’s method: it’s more a way of being and of doing things, which pervades the hearts of all the “Viallini”, both staff and family, with the common intent of respecting people, animals and the earth.
La Vialla’s method
Giuliana and Piero Lo Franco’s dream was to see abandoned countryside come back to life. They began by getting an old farmstead back into operation and didn’t have to think about which method they would use for cultivation. For them, the only way that existed was the organic method (which, in 1978, was not yet defined by law; it was only officially recognised various years later, giving it the importance it deserved). Twenty years later, driven by the desire for continuous improvement, together with their sons, they began to “try their hand” at biodynamics. La Vialla is certified biodynamic since 2005.
Giuliana, Piero and then their sons - Gianni, Antonio and Bandino - have always been inspired by the idea of good, healthy food, and the consequent (and at the same time antecedent) protection of nature and its fruits. Today Fattoria La Vialla is an example of what it means to be ecological and sustainable and, with the help of the Lo Franco Family Foundation, it has made it possible to convert a total of 787 hectares of land to organic and biodynamic agriculture.
- The latest “ecological footprint” balance sheet, regarding 2018, shows that the amount of CO2 fixed in the ground or avoided through careful resource management, photovoltaic systems, constructed wetlands, carbon dioxide absorbed in woodlands, crops and the soil thanks to organic agriculture, as well as emission compensation through environmental projects, exceeds the quantity of CO2 emitted by the production activities, for a total of 5,282.43 tonnes of CO2e. In the last five-year period, from 2014 to 2018, the figure amounts to 20,605.75 tCO2e. The data for the 2019-2021 period will be published as soon as it’s ready.
- In 2009 La Vialla participated at the Copenhagen United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15), as an example of sustainability in Italy.
- In 2017 it won the B.A.U.M. (German Environmental Management Association) Environmental Award for “outstanding commitment to environmental protection and sustainable development”.
- In 2020 the Fattoria was promoted from “Carbon Neutral” to “Climate Positive” by natureOffice, the German company that implements environmental and climate protection projects, with which La Vialla has been collaborating since 2010.
- In 2022 the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), together with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) chose Fattoria La Vialla as one of the #GenerationRestoration Partners for the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. The Programme aims to create a global movement to prevent, halt, and reverse the degradation of ecosystems, in which sustainable and regenerative agriculture plays a key role. Read more at www.decadeonrestoration.org