I giardini di Pomona is a biodiversity banking located in Cisternino, in valle d’Itria (Apulia).
I was so curious to find out more about this project. So, I kept in touch with Paolo Belloni, its founder.
I went to visit him few days ago.
I reached him at 10.30.
We shake hands and sit down under tall pine-trees.
I’m struck by his gentle smile.
“I have established the association i giardini di Pomona in 1993.
We have created an informal network to exchange information about biodiversity.
We have travelled a lot around Italy, coveringaround 20.000 km”. Paolo says.
“In 1950 take place the introduction of chemistry in agriculture. That’s the begin of the end”. He adds.
Paolo continues: “The first great event promoted by I giardini di Pomona is held in the monastery of Torba (Lombardia), where around 200 kind of fruits are displayed.
Unexpectedly, 3000 people come to visit us during the week end”.
“We saw people, especially elderly one, being touched at the sight of fruits which they thought was disappeared. Fruits which reminded them the old times, when they were kids.” He says.
“The richness of biodiversity belongs not to me or to Pomona but to anyone”. Especially, the next generations.
Paolo was looking for a place to settle down and continue his experience.
Paolo adds: “Last but not least, the new things happen always in what can be considered the border of an area. Apulia is a border region, the most Eastern Italian region”.
Since he is in Cisternino, Paolo is working on figs and pomegranates.
I giardini di Pomona hosts one of the biggest Mediterranean figs collection.
Indeed, figs (like banana and persimmon) do not require pollination by bees. As you are aware, the risk that bees disappear from the planet is real.
“We have lost the pleasure of taste”. Paolo says.
Fruits imply social relations, technique of manufacturing and storing.
In June 2006, Science has published a research carried out by three archaeologists, who had discovered dehydrated figs of 11.000 years ago.
Therefore, this would mean that are older than green peas and grain.
Paolo has travelled a lot across India.
India has changed his life.
He shows with pride his botanic conservatory.
That could be an opportunity to discover I giardini di Pomona and shake hand with Paolo.