The aim of the Educational Farm is to share the knowledge about the territory and the agricultural landscape where rare ecosystems have been re-created. All this has become the subject of visits, seminars, workshops and labs, for groups or individuals. Therefore, the whole agricultural territory (about 250 acres) sparks educational interest thanks to its various characteristic aspects.
All the agricultural territory is subject to biological control regimes, which lead to a fully organic production. The origin of the word “biological” refers to the Greek word “Bios”, which means life, living being. The biological control technique respects the life of the ecosystem, by exploiting the antagonistic relations between living organisms in order to limit the population of harmful entities.
The whole agricultural production is therefore obtained through biological control techniques; all the organic crops are managed through agronomic criteria which respect the ecology of the agro-ecosystem, aimed at reaching the balance of the organic materials in the field and the maintenance of the existing fauna. The regime justified the presence of leguminous crops, which usually do not even lead to any economic gain but ameliorate the structure and bring nutrients to the field.
Moreover, the priority is given to the crops which allow for a mechanical combat against broadleaf weeds, with the goal of maintaining a natural balance and avoiding the use of pesticides. It is very important for the ecology of crops the role of the hedges and mixed stands; which are not considered as occupying useful territory but rather as a value added for the agricultural business.
In the last decades, (from 1994 onwards) many initiatives have been put in place in order to re-naturalize the agricultural landscape, gradually departing from the traditional schemes of intensive agriculture. 15% of the area is composed of multifunctional mixed stands, hedges, scrub and clearing areas. These natural elements are essential for the recovery and the shelter of the fauna, and allow also for the reconstitution of the dense network of ecological corridor able to connect the different environments, creating a so-called ecological network, which ultimately increases the biodiversity.
The hedges and stands are to be considered a very important element through which the fauna moves, including entomofauna, invertebrate and vertebrate fauna, and are able to host predators of disease-causing organisms possibly present in the adjacent agricultural lands. This further reduces the need to intervene with the use of pesticides.
Finally, it has to be mentioned the role of these elements within the landscape, as it contributes to identify the typical area of the Po Valley Plain.
The principal orientation of the agricultural production is towards cereals: we produce grain sorghum, soft and hard wheat. The cultivations plan also foresees a sequence of soybean and sugar beet.
Finally, we have a typical production: the IGP Emilia Romagna Pears, considered as excelling for quality and taste. We also have a niche production of lime honey and polyfloral honey.