Biodistretto | Italian term which in English translates as a geographical area where farmers, citizens, tour operators, associations and public administrations form an agreement for the sustainable management of local resources, starting from the biological model of production and consumption (short chain, buying groups, public canteens) bio). In the Bio-district, the promotion of organic products is inextricably linked to the promotion of the territory and its peculiarities, in order to achieve full development of economic, social and cultural potential. The first Bio-district was activated in Italy in 2009 by the Italian Association for Organic Agriculture in an area that is part of the National Park of Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni in Salerno province in Campania.

Biodistretti in Italy | 2009 Cilento (Campania). | 2012 Greve in Chianti and Panzano in Chianti created. | 2013 Bio-District of the Historic Chianti, Gaiole in Chianti (Tuscany) created. | 2013 San Gimignano Biodistretto created (Tuscany). 2016 BioVenezia (Il Biodistretto della Venezia centro-orientale) created. | 2016 The Greve/Panzano and Gaiole ‘biodistretti’ folded into the Biodistretto del Chianti as of September 2016. |  2019 Other Biostretti in Tuscany (as of 2019) included Montalbano, Fiesole, Monte Amiata, Valdichiana, and Casentino.

Why Biodistretti? Roberto Stucchi Prinetti of Badia di Coltibuono told me ‘It’s difficult to summarize in one aspect what’s best about a Biodistretto. I would say that it’s the creation of a strong network that originates from the Organic growers and over time grows to include other actors in the territory. To express it differently, working together across property lines to spread good practices and influence policies of the local governments. An essential part of the Biodistretto is also the “pact” with the public administrations, where the ‘Amministrazioni Comunali’ agree to cooperate towards the goals of the Biodistretto.’

Montalcino | A meeting of organic producers from Montalcino was held on 26th May 2015 at the Col d’Orcia winery. This discussed the possible creation of a ‘Biodistretto’ for Montalcino along the lines of the ‘biodistretti’ already existing in Tuscany at that time (in San Gimignano, Greve in Chianti, and Chianti Storico). Attendees | Francesco Marone Cinzano and Giuliano Dragoni from Col d’Orcia. Biodynamic producers attending included Stella di Campalto from San Giuseppe, Caroline Pobitzer from Pian dell’Orino and twin sisters Francesca and Margherita Padovani from Campi di Fonterenza. Organic producers attending included Luca Marrone from Poggio di Sotto (oenologist for the Colle Massari group), Riccardo Campinoti from Le Ragnaie, Francesco Leanza from Salicutti, Ornella Tondini from Cupano, Roberto Rubegni from Bolsignano, Elia Palazzesi from Collelceto, Marino Colleoni from Sante Maria, Marcello Bucci from Collemattoni, Fabian Schwarz from La Magia, Carlo Cignozzi from From Il Paradiso di Frassina, and Andrea Mantengoli from La Serena. Also attending were ? and Cecilia Leoneschi from Castiglion del Bosco which has already implemented organic practices but as yet is not certified. | Other organic estates in Montalcino (not able to attend) included Camigliano, Casa Raia, Cava d’Onice, Il Cocco, Col di Lamo, Cordella, Le Chiuse, Le Macioche, Loacker Corte Pavone, Piancornello, Piombaia, Podere Le Ripi, San Polino, SassodiSole, and Fabio Tassi (Franci). The group should organize itself around: 

– defining the norms/objectives of the group

– the need for experimentation and exchange of ideas eg what works and what does not work for example regarding strategies to control common pests like rot, mildew, spider mites in an environmentally acceptable way;

– how incorporating animals (to plough, to provide manure for compost etc) on vineyards can be achieved.

– co-ordinating when buying cover crop seeds, bio sprays, machinery like ploughs by finding the best suppliers and to avoid duplication

– education (training, helping other growers wanting to become organic whether they are olive growers, cereal farmers, wine-growers etc).