New Member Introduction: Ancient Grains Foundation
The “Associazione Grani Antichi di Montespertoli” is a non-profit organization founded in 2010. Its mission is to promote the conservation and sustainable cultivation use of ancient Tuscan grains through information sharing, farmers education and sponsoring its diffusion in the local community. The association works to make sure that the grains preserve their qualities, controlling the chain of production and transformation and protecting its unique products using a trademark.
All Tuscan indigenous varieties of wheat, called Ancient Varieties, may be traced back to the work of a group of geneticists in the early 1900s, who selected varieties already present in Tuscany. The selection of new varieties and research in all fields of agriculture were essential to the success of Tuscan food through history. In the 60s and 70s, all the native varieties were abandoned to introduce new ones, more productive and worse for the environment as they were and are cultivated with the use of herbicides, pesticides and fungicides. In addition, with globalization of wheat production, prices collapsed and farms started to abandon wheat and cereal cultivation in the area.
The Ancient Grains Association has reintroduced ancient varieties with the help of the University of Florence. A fair price is paid to the farmers who can in exchange follow the association's guidelines including organic cultivation, respect for biodiversity and the environment. Both demand and production are booming as it was discovered that ancient varieties are better for human health. The association also supports the production chain from milling to baking and making pasta.
For more information, please see Ancient Grains website here.