Metaponto: the circle is closed

Metaponto is the place of the beginning and the end of this journey around Basilicata through Agricultural products, cultural and human landscapes, natural sceneries and tastes and agricultural excellences. We left from here where the story of agriculture seems to be never ending, where agriculture was born. Agriculture has developed so much that it has gone back to tradition so as to recuperate the preciousness we were on the brink of abandoning and to give it more value through innovative processes of quality, focusing more on the authenticity and the identity of typical Lucanian food.

The history of Magna Grecia, that which opened this whistle-stop tour, is the excuse to introduce the research and innovation undertaken in this land. Near the still visible remains of the rural village of Magna Grecia in Pantanello there is, in fact, Metapontum Agrobios – the research centre managed by ALSIA (Lucanian Agency of Development and Innovation in Agriculture). The centre has been working for more than 30 years in the field of R&D and the transfer of innovation to the agro-industrial food system, mainly focusing on the development of biotechnological procedures and, more recently, on precision farming.

The centre works on lots of important research projects in biotechnology which allows for the development of procedures to produce nutrients as well as biological/antioxidant substances, vitamins and microelements. Some procedures are aimed at obtaining proteins from thermal shock in farming, including medical herbs used by the pharmaceutical industry to improve the immunity systems of both people and animals. Other activities are aimed at treating the vegetable biomass deriving from farming residues, or the production of oils for biodiesel plants. In this centre, technological platforms are created and are used to trace food, select vegetables and characterise biodiversity to make new industrial crops.

The centre’s procedures and processes are all very important and greatly innovative, often being shared with institutional partners and an extended network of national and international institutes.

2,200m2 of laboratories, 3,620m2 of machines and general departments, 5,400m2 of conservatories and 5 hectares of experimental field: these are the statistics of a place which explains why today agriculture in Basilicata is continuously aimed at productive processes resulting from tests, research and the constant work of those who aim to invest heavily in the future.

It is for this reason that Metaponto is the starting, arrival and the summary point of this journey, where we have tried to highlight the ongoing farming work of men and women, past generations and young business people who desire, today more than ever, to build their future – here on this patch of land – based on the solid foundations of the past.

There are a lot of Lucanian people in the world, but nobody can see them, they aren’t exhibitionists. Lucanian people – more than any other people – live well in the shadows […] They are people of few words. When they work, they don’t talk, they don’t sing. It is difficult to imagine how much patience and endurance they have […] They are persecuted by the devil of dissatisfaction. Talk with a farmer, a shepherd, a vine grower, an artisan. Talk with them about their work. They will tell you they had in mind something else, something different. And they will do it one more time. Like Hindu people, like Etruscans, Lucanian people think that perfection does not belong to this world. […] They think about accomplishing the Work in another life. When they will rest in peace. They cannot find in life the right conditions to make their own its best. Weird morals. A Lucanian person will never find the last touch, the touch of the Grace. But you may glimpse their work when their plan is clear

(L. SINISGALLI, Gente della Lucania, from Il ritratto di Scipione e altri racconti.)