The Gastronomic Sciences, as a new academic discipline dedicated entirely to food, represents a set of scientific and humanistic knowledge that outlines a systemic approach to the subject of food. The University of Gastronomic Sciences of Pollenzo takes this approach to research a new definition for the concept of food quality, where the social, environmental and economic impact of production, transformation, and distribution methods are also worthy of evaluation.

To better examine these issues, ecological gardens have been created on the university campus, so the students of the University of Gastronomic Sciences of Pollenzo can learn to become food professionals not only in the classroom.

UNISG gardens are a model of sustainability with ecological goals: (genetic, specific and ecosystem biodiversity, soil fertility, water and air quality, no chemical pollution), economic (self-production of vegetables and herbs for the Academic Tables), and social (education/learning, creation of a community, physical movement, consumption of organic, local, seasonal and fresh food, sensory biodiversity, conservation of local seeds).

The garden is also the educational headquarters for some courses. It’s the ideal laboratory for the concrete application of the theoretical agronomic and ecological principles developed in the classroom. The direct experience with cultivation allows students to get closer to the complexity of the agri-food system, starting from the richest sector of social, economic, cultural and environmental implications of agriculture.

By working the land, they will learn to know it and respect it. Using the biological and biodynamic methods, they will know the technical differences between the different production methods; they will understand the value of biodiversity and sustainable agronomic techniques; they will recognize concepts such as seasonality and freshness; and they will learn the value of manual skills and agricultural work.

Educational goal

The main objective of the ecological gardens of the University of Gastronomic Sciences is to contribute to training students to become gastronomes who are informed and critical of the diverse methods of food production, capable of having a more effective dialogue with the actors of the agricultural sector, able to independently manage sustainable food production, able to develop a social/educational project connected to an ecological educational garden, understand the quality of food production and what are the factors that affect it.

The ecological gardens at UNISG include the following:

The garden of the University of Gastronomic Sciences, located in the Agenzia park of Pollenzo, has an area of ​​1500 square meters divided into different areas: a surface for the cultivation of vegetables, a greenhouse, an area for composting, a covered structure for the first processing of vegetables, a mixed orchard, and an area of ​​aromatic and spontaneous herbs, with a shelter shed for tools.

This garden functions as an educational demonstration for all the students of the University who collaborate in the project of the Garden, which is coordinated by the Technical Manager, and based on experimental research (varietal comparison, comparison of methods of management of soil fertility, of spontaneous plants, control of damage and illness).

The production is around four tons a year of different vegetables that are used by the Academic Tables for daily recipes and the surplus is sold fresh internally, or transformed from the “Orto del Pian Bosco” an organic farm into compotes, pastes and jams, according to recipes made by the chefs of the Academic Tables.

We use agroecological practices and organic farming such as wide crop rotations, green manure, composting; coverage and minimum soil disturbance, without using external products (not even copper and sulfur). The main goal is to increase the fertility of the soil, with particular attention to its vitality, also through the use of mycorrhizae, and biodiversity with plants that are useful for beneficial insects.

Carmelo Ferraro, collaborate in the realization of vegetable garden

Inside the brick structure is the The House of Biodiversity, a germplasm bank with 50 local varieties of common wheat species (Triticum aestivum), in collaboration with AIAB, in Piedmont and partly financed by the Piedmont Region with the GerMonte Project.

Every year, they are grown in a demonstration field in parcels, reaped and threshed; they are selected, cleaned, vacuum-packed and stored in the freezer.

Located in the Agenzia park Pollenzo, it’s used for preschools and primary schools of Pollenzo to carry out environmental and food education activities, in collaboration with Slow Food and the Municipality of Bra.

The courtyard of the Academic Tables in Pollenzo offers a journey of the 5 senses: a beautiful environment to look at, fragrant scents, the ability to touch the plants and listen to the rustle of the leaves, and eat the plants that are cultivated for culinary use by different chefs. The garden includes: fruit trees, climbing roses, aromatic plants, edible flowers and vegetables that are grown in a raised flower bed.

Even the garden furniture has been co-designed with the students to make the time in the dining hall an all-around gastronomic experience.

The vegetable garden, located on the terraces of the Gastronomic Society in Bra, is cultivated with vegetables, vines, and orchards for recreational and cultural purposes. The SG horticulture group is currently aimed at all UNISG students who are keen to implement sustainable farming techniques, in order to observe, learn, research, experiment and produce.

The group’s philosophy is based on the proportional distribution of work and sharing of food through common dinners and events, while at the same time, creating a cultural activity that foments a more sustainable lifestyle.

The garden is supervised by Nino Boi.

Contacts

Dr. Alieksei Taran, Technical Manager of the project: a.taran@unisg.it

Dr. Natalia Rastrogueva, Project Supervisor: n.rastrogueva@unisg.it

Prof. Paola Migliorini, Scientific Director: p.migliorini@unisg.it


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