Happy New Year to us!
It is November 11, St. Martin’s Day: the New Year’s Day of Agriculture.
At a time when the health of our planet is increasingly at the center of global concerns, this date takes on an even deeper meaning for us, reminding us of the vital importance of agriculture and respect for the Earth. Farmers, the primary custodians of our soil, celebrate the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new agricultural year, a time of thanksgiving and reflection on our interdependence with nature.
The tradition of St. Martin’s Day, in the powerful words of Joshua Carducci, evokes images of rural communities united in celebrating the fruits of their labor. This feast, which once marked the cycle of usufruct of farms, takes on an even broader meaning today. It is an invitation to recognize and renew our commitment to sustainable and environmentally friendly agricultural practices in line with the vision of integral ecological development.
November 11 reminds us of the culture of sharecropping: an agricultural system that, although largely outdated, reflected a deep connection between the land and those who worked it. This connection is fundamental to understanding our relationship with the environment and the importance of agricultural practices that respect and nurture the land, rather than exploit it.
The celebration of the Agrarian New Year in Italy, with its local festivals, is an example of how important it is to value and pass on the Living Heritages that, just this year, UNESCO is celebrating with the 20th anniversary of Intangible Heritage and also reminds us of the “revolutionary” Faro Convention that today makes us understand how the alliance between #culture and #agriculture is strategic to promote the sustainability and health of our planet and humankind.
The responsibility and courage of farmers at this moment in history are more crucial than ever. In an era of unprecedented environmental challenges, climate change, and a growing demand for sustainability, farmers are called to be not only custodians of the land but also pioneers of innovation. They are women and men at the helm of an unprecedented transition because, as Prof. Teresa del Giudice, President of the Portici Center Science Association at Federico II University in Naples, says, “digital, 4.0, A.I. and big data management will be more revolutionary for agriculture than the advent of the tractor”. This requires ethics, long-term vision, generosity, a sense of responsibility, and great openness to the new, but starting from the roots and preserving core values, sustainable technologies, and approaches that can ensure our planet’s and future generations’ health.
Ethics in agriculture today means adopting practices that respect the environment, promote biodiversity, and ensure the long-term sustainability of natural resources. Farmers are called upon to balance productivity with ecosystem protection, a challenge that requires courage and innovation. Adopting sustainable agricultural practices, such as organic farming, permaculture, or agroecology, is an ethical choice and a step toward a greener and healthier future.
In parallel, those who design rural development policies are responsible for supporting farmers on this transition path. Creating an environment conducive to innovation is critical, providing access to innovative training based on the same principles, resources, and incentives that facilitate adopting practices that promote agroecology. Rural development policies must be designed with a long-term view, considering today’s decisions’ environmental, social, and economic impacts.
This November 11 is more than just a date on the calendar; it is a powerful symbol of the interconnectedness between humans, the Earth, and our collective responsibility to care for it. It reminds us that the planet’s health is directly connected to our own and that respect and care for the environment are essential to our future.
So, Happy New Year to us and the future Earth, the one we know how to leave to our children!
It’s Saturday, see you at the “super” market, the real one, the root market, the Earth market!
Author: Sara Roversi