BRESOV Winter School a great success

On 14 and 15 December 2022, the BRESOV “Winter school 2022” was held as part of the BRESOV project.

The event was attended by a total of 119 people from 15 different countries (Italy, Tunisia, Spain, Greece, England, Romania, Croatia, Portugal, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Malta, Turkey, Austria, Switzerland, Germany), both in presence and online.

The first day started with welcome addresses from the Vice-Director of the Department of Agriculture in Catania (host of the conference) and Prof. Simona Consoli, followed by Prof. Ferdinando Branca who presented the BRESOV project as the Project Coordinator and outlined the results achieved.

In the first session of the day, Dr. Riccardo Bocci presented Rete Semi Rurali and the new HORIZON project based on breeding on organic farming called LIVESEEDING. He was followed by Dr. Edwin Nuijten (Kultursaat & De Beersche Hoeve), who presented the European Consortium for Organic Plant Breeding (ECO-PB). Then Professor Jaime Prohens of the Polytechnic University of Valencia introduced tomato breeding, Dr. Nadia Ficcadenti of CREA breeding of Brassicaceae and Dr. Creola Brezeanu (Vegetable Research and development station) bean breeding. After the introductory session Dr. Edwin Nuijten discussed the ethical and practical aspects of organic breeding. After this session, Dr. Riccardo Bocci, who spoke on behalf of Antonio Lo Fiego of ARCOIRIS, talked about access to genetic resources by introducing the case study of the RSR community seed bank, before discussing the changes and production strategies for seed production in organic farming, while Prof. Roberto Papa (Marche Polytechnic University) conferred about the conservation and use of phylogenetic resources.

During the break, the participants of the Winter School had the opportunity for an “aperi-sprouts”: they took part in a Panel test where different organic heterogeneous materials of B. oleracea sprouts were evaluated.

In the following Brassica session, Prof. Ferdinando Branca spoke of the diversity of Brassica oleracea, both as regards cultivated species and as regards to B. oleracea wild crop relatives species, Professor Peter Walley (University of Liverpool) presented the case study on the genotype of the Brassica collection of the BRESOV project while Dr. Roberto Lo Scalzo's (CREA) presentation dealt with the nutraceutical aspects of the crop.

For the Tomato group, Professor Jaime Prohens of the Polytechnic University of Valencia presented the tomato hybridization programs and the main results of the BRESOV project as well as the QTLs and molecular markers individuates for several traits of biotic and abiotic resistances of tomato, Professor Maria Josè Dièz pointed the attention on the use of wild tomato for hybridization, pre-hybridization programs, and Professor Salvador Soler (University of Polytechnic of Valencia) explained the practical case of study for selection and breeding of the traditional Valencian tomatoes by participatory approach.

In the Bean group session, Prof. Roberto Papa (Marche Polytechnic University) explained the origin and the evolution of the common bean and the case study of the snap bean. Dr. Lorenzo Rocchetti (University of the Polytechnic of the Marches) and Dr. Romina Beleggia (CREA-CI of Foggia) respectively presented the analysis of agronomic traits and the related identification of the candidate regions for snap bean by multi-local field trials and the variation of the nutritional and nutraceutical traits of snap bean.

The second day of the Winter School took place in Agrigento. The morning was dedicated to visits to the UNICT experimental field at the farm “Terre del Barone”, and particular attention was paid to the experimental field of the organic heterogeneous materials of B. oleracea crops established and evaluated in the frame of the BRESOV project. In addition, the participants visited the other evaluation fields of broad artichoke, garlic, faba bean, onion, and of citrus crops, and also had the opportunity to appreciate the old history of this farm and its Greek water caption system in the calcareous rock for human and agriculture uses. In the afternoon, the members moved to one of the core areas of the Valley of the Temples, precisely to the gardens of Kolymbethra, where the agronomist Giuseppe Lo Pilato illustrated the Greek agroecological approaches which exploit different ecological niches for growing several horticultural crops, for adopting several wild species for consolidating slopes and for increasing the biodiversity of the garden.

Back in the conference room of the Hotel Dioscuri, Dr. Carlo Murer introduced NaturaSì company, founded in Verona in 1992. It currently brings together around 300 organic shops in Italy, some in franchising, some under direct management, and deals with the wholesale and retail trade and distribution of organic, biodynamic and natural products, through a circular economy approach – from the farm to the fork. Dr. Pagliarulo, manager of the “Terre del Barone” farm, introduced the ongoing project with the University of Catania and the Institute of Bio-economy of the National Council of Research (CNR-IBE), presenting the recent video that shows the activities carried out for evaluating and for selecting the landraces of Sicilian traditional horticultural landraces as well as for innovating the regional organic vegetable food supply chains, implementing the agroecology of the Valley of the temples of Agrigento and the human well-being.

The Winter School ended with the tasting of Black Broccoli juice during the “Aperi-Juice” moment.

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