Respect for life in our everyday actions
Organic and GMO-free are Damanhur's nutritional principles
Damanhur's organic agriculture can currently handle about 50% of the food needs for its 600 citizens. In addition to production, the goal is to preserve the quality of the food. After all, it's important to eat healthy foods, and they should also taste good! All forms of agriculture, animal raising and food conservation are carried out according to organic criteria, avoiding any risk of GMO contamination. These days, perhaps the only guarantee of food authenticity comes from knowing where and how it was grown.
Damanhurians have created a large agricultural cooperative, Punto Verde, which is responsible for extensive crops, horticulture and livestock on behalf of the entire community. Smaller initiatives also exist in the various communities: orchards, vegetable gardens, vineyards and beehives, as well as raising pigs, chickens, fish and so on. Other agricultural activities also take place in Tuscany, where many non-resident citizens of Damanhur live. Some produce their own organic and biodynamic wines, others caretake an olive grove that is owned by Damanhur. In general, Damanhur produces grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, eggs, different kinds of meat, cheese, olive oil, baked goods, wine and honey...and all of it is nutritiously delicious!
In order to distribute these food products to both Damanhurians and a wider customer base, the Tentaty market was opened in 1998. Tentaty is currently located in Damanhur Crea, where it serves as a distribution center for natural products-both Damanhurian ones and others that are certified organic. The Damanhur analysis laboratory does periodic random testing on the foods for sale in the market to ensure that they do not contain traces of GMOs.
Biodiversity, an essential value for practicing agriculture
The objective of the Seed Bank project is plant biodiversity, as well as self-sufficiency with the production of seeds.
The increasingly common term "biodiversity" refers to both varieties of wild plants as well as those cultivated for food. Many plant species have been developed over the centuries through selective intervention by humans and the environment. Today, intensive agriculture uses only a small variety of species because it is more profitable.
For human nutrition, only 150 major species are cultivated and, among these, just a few of them account for 90% of the food produced. By 2050, an estimated 40,000 species will have disappeared, compared to the variety available at the dawn of agriculture in the beginning of human history. Basically, this is a disaster of epic proportions. Fortunately, many seedsavers are working worldwide to conserve seeds that would otherwise be lost forever.
In 2004, an organization of Damanhur called Associazione Mil signed an agreement with the City of Vidracco in Italy for management of the Seed Bank, an initiative of the Vidracco municipal government. The Seed Bank's activities include researching local food varieties and their cultivation, and the production and conservation of seeds. These cultivations are spread over various areas throughout the hills and plains, including the Valchiusella and Caluso areas, while conservation takes place in premises provided by the City of Vidracco.
Currently, the Seed Bank has about 50 varieties of vegetable species, or a total of about 10,000 seeds-most of which are local.
Over the years, Damanhurians who have been involved in managing the Seed Bank have collaborated with various seedsaver organizations, particularly with the "Associazione Civiltà Contadina" (Association of Rural Life), by creating working groups and exchanging seed species at a local and regional level.
Delicious and natural, ingredients of good, wholesome food
Food that is grown and produced at Damanhur is all superb in quality and taste, because the Olio Caldo philosophy values naturalness and self-sufficiency, but never forgetting about quality. Damanhur citizens love good food! After all, Damanhur is in Italy! We have recipes with the highest quality natural ingredients, always taking into consideration taste, aroma, color and presentation of each product or dish. Many of the products represent examples of excellent local cuisine. For example, Scarabeo Rafano, the Damanhur cheesemaker, creates cheeses with milk fresh from cows in the local valley, and it is also integrated with other organic milks. Scarabeo recuperates traditional ways and also creates new recipes. He works with his partner, Visone Magnolia, who produces healthy and nutritious organic ice cream.
Honey and propolis produced by Merinos Timo Serpillo is obtained from bee families that are spread throughout the Damanhurian communities, where there are many varieties of plants and flowers that these industrious little insects can access.
Other local gourmet products include the cold-pressed olive oil from the Rimaggio olive groves made by Damanhurians living in Florence, Italy and the organic and biodynamic Tuscan wines made by Fattoria Castellina and Fratelli Falzari. Speaking of wine, red and white varieties of Erbaluce Aval wine are vintaged by the Aval nucleo community. The Pan mi Piace bakery makes fresh bread daily using various grains, and also delicious pastries and organic panettone cake during the holidays, as well as other treats.
Many of these products are available at Tentaty, while others are decidedly niche and not on the market. If you would like to make reservations to eat at the Tarassaco Agritourism on our farm, you can enjoy some of the products. We are sure that you will appreciate their taste and substance!