This site was optimized for desktop or tablet viewing. Mobile devices will have some viewing difficulties, but will retain functionality.


AT THE AGRICULTURAL INSTITUTE OF FLORENCE Synergic agriculture, developed by Hazelip, is a cultivation method that originates from adapting Natural Farming principles to the Mediterranean climate. The principles of synergic agriculture draw inspiration from the adaptation to the Mediterranean climate of Natural Farming principles (formulated by the Japanese microbiologist and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka and Mark Bonfils), permaculture by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, and the American agronomist Edward Hubert Faulkner (1886-1964) in his book "Plowman's Folly."

In her writings, Emilia Hazelip highlights how she incorporated the studies of North American horticulturist Ruth Stout, a pioneer and advocate of ecological agriculture without soil tillage, the article on the oxygen-ethylene cycle "The Living Soil" by Australian scientist Alan Smith, the article "Protecting Your Soil Microorganisms" by American scientist William R. Jackson, and the studies of American soil biologist Elaine Ingham, a researcher of the Soil Food Web. Additionally, Hazelip points out that she identified precedents in the cultivation methods of protohistoric Indo-European populations described in "The Civilization of the Goddess" by archaeologist and linguist Marija Gimbutas. The four principles of synergic agriculture are: 1) no soil tillage; 2) no addition of fertilizers; 3) no synthetic treatments; 4) no soil compaction.

The initial approach to the land aims to delineate areas designated for cultivation, clearly distinguished from pathways dedicated to walking. The cultivated soil portions are commonly referred to as 'beds' or 'terraces,' created in dimensions that allow easy access to their central parts. Beds can be constructed at ground level or at a raised (convex) or lowered (concave) level, depending on the climate and soil composition. In heavy soils (clayey and/or loamy), it is advisable to create ground-level beds to limit spontaneous cohesion (compaction); in arid climates, concave beds are recommended to promote moisture accumulation within the bed; in very rainy climates, convex beds are advisable to encourage runoff and prevent waterlogging beneath the cultivated area. The beds are then covered with biodegradable mulch, and there are various material options to choose from. Once the raised beds are prepared, the garden is filled with plants and seeds, following the season. The results of a 4-year experimental comparison between lands cultivated using organic farming and synergic agriculture techniques showed an increase in the amount of organic matter in the soil, promoting better resistance to erosive processes and reducing soil instability.

BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE The relationship between democracy and the natural environment can be explored through the concept of "environmental democracy" or "ecological democracy." This concept emphasizes the importance of involving citizens in the decision-making process regarding environmental issues and the sustainable management of natural resources. Here are some key elements that can contribute to formulating a concept of democracy and the natural environment:

Public Participation: Environmental democracy should promote active participation of citizens in decisions related to the environment. This includes involvement in the planning, implementation, and monitoring of environmental policies.

Access to Information: To enable informed citizen participation, it is essential to ensure transparent and comprehensive access to environmental information. This may include data on air and water quality, resource management practices, and more.

Environmental Education: Sustainable democracy requires educated citizens on environmental issues. Environmental education can help people understand environmental challenges, their causes, and possible solutions, enabling them to actively participate in public discourse.

Institutional Accountability: Representatives and government institutions must be accountable for environmental decisions made. This can involve fair accountability mechanisms, with clear electoral and reporting mechanisms.

Precautionary Principle: Environmental democracy can embrace the precautionary principle, suggesting that, in the absence of scientific certainty, protective environmental measures should be taken to prevent significant harm.

Equity and Environmental Justice: A concept of environmental democracy should consider equity and environmental justice, ensuring that decisions do not lead to socioeconomic disparities or negative impacts on vulnerable groups.

Sustainable Development: Environmental democracy should promote the concept of sustainable development, balancing environmental needs with economic and social ones to ensure long-term prosperity without compromising the environment.

International Collaboration: As many environmental issues have global dimensions, international cooperation is essential. Environmental democracy should encourage international collaboration and negotiation to address common environmental challenges.

These elements can contribute to creating a concept of environmental democracy that integrates citizen participation, institutional accountability, and attention to environmental issues to promote a sustainable approach to natural resource management.
Environmental Democracy