The family farm is located in Olevano, surrounded by the rice and cereal growing landscape of Lomellina. The farm has been growing organically since 2002; the DICRISTIANA brand was born in 2018 and took my name, the soul of the company.
Having graduated in agriculture, I took over this 30-hectare piece of land from my family, which belonged to my great-grandparents, and I immediately decided to convert it to organic farming with passion and resilience. My grandparents and great-grandparents were lawyers who were also farmers for generations, so I thought I would immediately become a farmer and acquire the specific skills to be able to follow in their footsteps, but with a more modern twist. It took courage and creativity, but I persevered and never gave up on the challenge I set myself! Innovation is successful when it builds on the solid foundations of tradition; we cannot look to the future without knowing and treasuring our past. Regenerative organic farming starts from the desire to introduce the winning agronomic techniques used by our grandparents, taking advantage of advanced mechanisation technology that did not exist before.
We sow the rice in May and harvest it in September. We produce the rice and store it with external collaborators. Every year I experiment with innovative techniques that preserve limited natural resources such as water. For example, did you know that rice is NOT an aquatic plant but a terrestrial one? Water has the function of a thermal flywheel and therefore protection against temperature fluctuations, as rice loves heat. So why not apply the same techniques suggested by Master Fukuoka to rice? This is the new challenge that has been underway since 2021. I will grow rice in a clover meadow without the use of water. The clover will act as a green, living mulch that will replace water in protecting the rice. The field is only irrigated in emergency conditions by drawing water from the water channels adjacent to my fields.
As mentioned earlier, I cultivate my crops following the teaching of Master Fukuoka, agriculture, which involves minimal tillage to preserve the soil's microbiota. I practice a 'non-doing' agriculture. My main concern is to take care of the soil and preserve it. In fact, to increase the fertility of the soil, I grow primaviril/high summer grasses that give nitrogen to the soil. This means I don't have to buy fertilisers. Furthermore, my fields are 'laboratory' fields, where I experiment with low environmental impact techniques. I am actively involved in a research project with the University of Pavia, Faculty of Environmental Engineering, studying the storage of energy in waste from rice husks and other organic cereals from my farm.
Nettle grows wild around the edges of my field, which I then use as a condiment for my rice. In order to promote biodiversity in the field, I am active in moving and implementing new reforestation projects. The aim is to regenerate a natural landscape by planting native shrub and tree species that can increase the biodiversity of the fields. By increasing biodiversity we will create natural habitats for beneficial insects that can combat pathogens.
I look forward to seeing you in the field to see how this natural approach, which aims to safeguard the "Essence of the Invisible", has evolved.