WHITE PAPER

1. THE PLANETARY PREMISES AND THE SOIL-FOOD RELATIONSHIP

How is it possible to grow endlessly in a closed system like our planet?

How long can we still go on wasting non-renewable resources?

Hasn’t the planet maybe begun to show us the first symptoms of its intolerance?

Is it morally and ethically fair to leave the task to future generations?

Can the market and the mechanism supply-demand answer our health and evironmental needs?

Somebody maintains that climate changes are cyclical and they do not depend on human activities, but isn’t it more correct to assert that the planet has never been so crowded before, the well-being so widespread and unfortunately obtained to the detriment of the environment?

Is it possible to go on entrusting the air, water and ground quality, also called “the triangle of life”, to consumers and farmers, who are not always aware of the consequences of their choices?

Given the alarms launched by almost all scientists, isn’t it high time each of us began to do something more to contrast or to remove the notorious “point of no return”?

At today’s rate of consumption, we are burning more resources than our planet can regenerate every year. The coefficient is between 1.4 and 1.7; therefore, we would need 1.4 or 1.7 planets to be able to sustain this rhythm.

Agriculture, with forestry and other farming uses, today is responsible for 24% emissions which alter the climate. 

In the past the soil was considered a living organism. Now it has become an element to exploit. We have no longer adapted ourselves to nature and its time, but we have tried to revolutionize it. 

Traditional farming practices are damaging this vital resource, which houses a quarter of the planet’s biodiversity. The exploitation of the soil, the lack of a rotation of cultivations and inappropriate inputs have caused 30% loss of our soil over the last 150 years: an erosion which has caused numerous vital species to disappear and which increases climate changes.

A healthy soil actually has the ability to hold CO2, which would otherwise be dispersed in the atmosphere in the form of emissions.

A healthy soil, and in particular its first gold centimetres of depth, retains the organic substance which generates life.

A healthy soil holds water reducing its corrivation time thanks to a higher capacity of absorption, participating in the washing away and in desertification.

A healthy soil preserves the sea heritage from the phenomenon of eutrophication, the pollution of water due to the overabundance of nitrates and phosphates.

Nowadays, the state of farming soils is in widespread dramatic conditions, both in the physical and chemical state. This is demonstrated by the systematic presence of substances harmful for our organism and by the nutritional shortage in food, which become more and more deprived of its components, including flavour.

Noxious substances have an impact on the organisms we want to contrast, but at the same time they damage the physical and chemical properties of the soils, the whole ecosystems and public health. 

It is clearer and clearer and more and more evident indeed the relationship between soil, food and health. Food can act in a preventive or destructive manner on our organism: there is indeed an association, scientifically supported, between contamination through pesticides and neurodegenerative diseases. 

Our diets are no longer adequate to what is good for us and for the planet and they represent the main cause of climate changes and of the loss of biodiversity.

The soil is a great connector of our life, the source and destination of all of us. Wendell Berry

Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food”. Hippocrates

2. THE ARCA VISION

A planet where the land and man are in balance, where a farmer is the primary guardian of the life of the soil and where everyone, with their choices in buying food, from consumers become conscious regenerators of the environment.

3. THE ARCA MISSION

To represent an experimental laboratory of a bioetic thought for a new humanism, where the different communities can share values and actions tending to increase the awareness on the role and on the responsibility we all have, as regenerators, in determining the salubrity of our food, connected to the preservation of the environmental resource.

To reinterpret the concept of waste focusing on the assumption that waste does not exist.

To think again of a bioconservative regenerative agriculture to offer people excellent quality food, food which gives joy, food which fosters human connections. Food with the highest possible quantity of incorporated services, from the protection of the soil to the local art of cooking, guaranteeing an improvement of life and health, ensuring a fair income and a new status to the farmer, seen as the primary guarantor of the environment and guardian of the area.

To retrieve the knowledge and the good practices which protect the soil, taking inspiration from the model of circular economy of the sharecropping and hilly farmhouse, improving its performances with the aid of new techniques and technologies.

To give back to the future generations, through a concrete and responsible committment, the knowledge and the continuity in the appreciation and safeguard of the cultural heritage and of the beauty, inherited from old farming.

4. THE ARCA MANIFESTO

Good soil, healthy food.

Healthy soil, good food.

We grow a new future with our head, with our hands and keeping our feet on the ground. Agriculture has values useful to the present (committment, solidarity, respect for the eco- system and for the biodiversity); we grow them in the future, to improve the environment, nutrition, health and economy. Everything starts from the Soil: what we eat, what we drink, what we breathe.

Soil, water, sun, seeds, animal life and knowledge are the first matters of life. Our soils ask for help, the biological life which should animate them is prey of a progressive impoverishment. We want to improve the consequences of our acts towards a better world. 

We love Seasons. The soil, the agricultural and the vegetable garden culture are time machines, they transfer old knowledge, they are nourished by living elements, they offer flavours and high-value experiences and a teaching: keeping ourselves in health means to eat well, in tune with the rhythm of nature. The vegetable world and the animal one are a partly unknown universe, although we we have been living here for thousands of years.

We are good neighbours. A renewed solidarity among farmers has become essential in order to manage the soil and the land in common and through common biopreservative regenerative practices. The following step to carry out is the complete and total synergy between the community of farmers and the various communities of the final consumers of food, no longer passive consumers, but co-producers and conscious regenerators of the land, to be eventually able to achieve an olistic view, whose final objective is to restore an accomplished and permanent well-being for a better quality of life.

Agricultural goods and products have a ritual function: drinking wine, eating local food has always been the language of social and community networks, a value which can be added to nutritional aspects. Basing agriculture on the regeneration of soils re-energises that fertile culture which overcomes the dependance on synthetic or pharmaceutical shortcuts, with a marked consequence on the quality of health, on the environment and on the well-being, even social, of people.

We like to know, to let people know, to eat consciousness. Meeting, exploring the origins and the stories of places and of food; we love tasting, chatting and telling things which have quality and, above all, which have true stories. Real tales convey the evocative and identity value of traditional farm products; we want to know the quality of things, the health of the soils, to have and convey the awareness of the land which houses us.

The Soil perpetuates itself: do not exhaust nature, but regenerate it. The well-being of the people and of the planet depends on 30 centimetres soil which, if measured in their characteristics, if cared and respected, can preserve and improve our eco-system. The matters which nourish us are the main components of our life. ARCA draws inspiration from the biological processes and from the biodiversity of nature.

5. THE ARCA INSPIRING PRINCIPLES

ARCA: Agriculture for the Controlled Regeneration of the Environment.

ARCA is the acronym for Agriculture for the Controlled Regeneration of the Environment.

Agriculture: the good bio-preservative regenerative practices, which reduce the phenomenon of erosion, for the protection of the life of the soil.

Regeneration: excellence food as a crucial element in the regeneration of the soil, taking inspiration from the old model of the circular economy of the sharecropping farmhouse of the hilly areas.

Controlled: a river basin area approach, a well-defined and therefore measurable area. The new techniques and technologies, the research, monitoring, experimentation in the field. Nothing can be improved without the objectivity of measurement.

Environment: the safeguard of the area and its beauty, according to an olistic bio-ethical thought, generating a fair value for the proactive and communicating communities of farmers and food users. 

ARCA is a business project and, by its nature, it produces income, without distorting the ‘benefit’ core and corporate form. A benefit company produces benefits which have ripercussions on different communities linked by a mutual interest.

The inspiring principles of ARCA are: 

  • The regeneration and the health of the soil as a foundation of agriculture and nourishment
  • The food and everything else directly or indirectly connected to its construction, distribution and use, from agriculture to agricultural industry, from trade to services;
  • The hilly area meant as a set of river basins, enclosed as well as measurable entities, and its economic, social, tourist and cultural development;
  • The improvement of the environment as far as the activities connected to food can and must contribute;
  • The adoption of the model of circular economy as a guarantee for all the actors of the food and agricultural ARCA supply chain. For the farmers a fair income based more on production costs than on market prices, getting out of a distorting logic. For the regenerator co-producer of food a fair value and a high qualitative and nutritional content;
  • The coming back on the territory of culture, beauty and qualified employment. Therefore, a regeneration not only of the soil, but also demographic and of intelligence.

ARCA redesigns the concept of agriculture carrying out new practices regenerating the soil and contributing to the safeguard of the living underlayer, to preservation in relation to the erosion of hilly soils, to a new introduction of biodiversity and to the implementation of excellence food chains of production. 

ARCA favours a direct contact without intermediaries between the farmer and the food user who, from a passive role, with his behaviour and choices, becomes an active regenerator of the environment with a remarkable impact on the salubrity and on the quality of food.

ARCA wants to revolutionize the present way of farming, in a way destructive, by introducing new techniques, awareness and scientific knowledge without forgetting the healthy part of old methods.

ARCA farming techniques develop and keep in good health the soils in terms of microflora, microfauna and humus available. Earthworms, bees and flowers, as biological indicators, are the other ARCA “poster elements”.

ARCA is agriculture as it was in the past. Farm agriculture, or better the man who has protected and modelled the soil and the landscape, has left us a great legacy: the organization of life and the productive capacity of mixed farming. A civilization to retrieve, ro reinterpret and to modernize, a regenerating element in itself.

ARCA is the answer to transform an urgent state of universal necessity into a great business opportunity for our area.

ARCA is a set of processes, which transversally include the route of food changing the role of the actors of all food and agricultural supply chains.

ARCA focuses on the planet, the people, the performances of excellence and an ethically fair profit.

6. THE ARCA GENESIS

The ARCA idea was born in 1988, in the Marches, thanks to a visionary food and agriculture entrepreneur, Bruno Garbini, the memorable founder of the rabbit and poultry Group with the same name. ARCA lay on too feasible and revolutionary principles at that time, distant from the feelings of the communities and of local politics in a period when environmental sustainability was not a central theme yet and when the capacity of production and consumption appeared limitless. Nowadays, the economic, social, cultural and bioethical context has made the re-birth of the project possible.

In 2015, with his lifelong friend Enrico Loccioni and the memorable contestant Giovanni Fileni, respectively founders of the Loccioni Group, international excellence in measure, automation and energetic efficiency, and of the Fileni Group, forerunner as well as first national player of biological poultry farming and third national player of conventional poultry farming, an unimaginable spark fires and the three farm entrepreneurs, in love with their region, give again life to ARCA.

In 2016 ARCA Ltd. was born, one of the first Benefit Companies in Italy. 

The cultural legacy the associate founders of ARCA take inspiration from is the one of the old endemic model of the multi-purpose farmhouse, archetype of the circular economy, when agriculture and environment were in perfect harmony. When the care for the land was guaranteed, as well as the absence of waste and the re-use of the resources in a fragile hilly context, respecting the time, the seasonability and the good regenerative practices.

An agricultural, biological, bioethical and biopreservative ante litteram (ahead of its time) act which has matured today becoming a possible and above all necessary market.

A shared dream?

To give back to our hills and to the countryside of our Marches the beauty and the healthy aspect of the past to obtain the acknowledgment of UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE.

Ipse dixit:

Thanks to the example of my parents’ work, share-croppers of the Esino Valley, I have learnt to know and respect the soil, its natural rhythms and its produces. Poultry farming in the Marches for almost 20 years as a pioneer in a biological way has been and is an agricultural act, a way to contribute to the development and to the respect of the area where I live. In ARCA we put our biological supply chain and our unique expertise to service our area”.    Giovanni Fileni

Today we can demonstrate how a wide range of agricultural and industrial products, and not only, of a new generation can have an embedded service of environmental regeneration. Let’s imagine the supply chains or productive systems located in a constantly monitored river basin, mainly made of hilly areas, which adopt innovative production techniques, re-interpreting tradition. The products of these supply chains enable the Controlled Regeneration of the Environment and they can respond to the needs of a market of regenerators, people sensitive to environmental issues and aware to support in this way a new economy. Buying and consuming ARCA products not only means to create wealth in an area, but also to regenerate the natural environment of that area, to contribute to a new social service, to develop a future of preservation and promotion of the hilly ecosystem”.  Bruno Garbini

I’ve been lucky I was born in this wonderful area, where I’ve picked the values of the monastic and share-cropping culture I’ve applied over these 50 years of business. Let’s give back these values to the area now, employing technologies, innovation, energetic efficiency and the intelligence of networks, giving ARCA the objectivity of measure”.    Enrico Loccioni

7. THE ARCA COMMUNITIES: RGENERATION

ARCA talks as much with the rural community (producers and farmers) as with the different urban communities in order to create a network extended to the local social, environmental and cultural system.

ARCA aims at evolving the concept of consumer moving on to the one of regenerator co-producer in order to reach the community of Rgeneration.

The key words of Rgeneration are:

Regeneration, Renovation, Restoration, Recycling, Re-Use, Resilience, Respect, Rotation, Relationships, Rediscovery, Renaissance, Roots, Responsibility.

The target? All of them! 

The Market? The Planet!

People, consciously informed about the potentiality of their food choices, become active regenerators of the soil, thus creating a direct line between food and the environment and acquiring a well-defined fundamental role.

With ARCA a farmer is concerned with the nourishment of the soil, retrieving his history, his culture and the old knowledge, producing healthy food, traceable and without using Chemistry.

ARCA recognizes farmers a higher added value, which is based not only on market laws, but on real production costs.

Food is seen as the driving force of development of the area and of its values, so both the farmer and food users become guardians and regenerators of the land, of its beauty and health.

8. ARCA FARMERS AND CONTRACTORS

Are you a farmer who has already started a biological choice?

Are you a producer of excellence food?

Are you ready to choose ARCA practices?

Are you willing to invest and be involved as a protagonist in the direct relationship with the people  who consciously choose ARCA food?

ARCA farmers and contractors love the soil and their work, they know traditional agriculture, nature’s mechanisms and they want to go deeper into them, they want to study them more deeply in favour of man and for the preservation of nature itself.

ARCA farmers and contractors are aware of the significant beneficial consequences due to the adoption of bio-preservative farming practices: to regenerate the soil also means to regenerate the entire environment, to regenerate themselves and above all to regenerate the place where the farmer lives and works daily, making it better, that is, exactly like food, a healthy, clean and also beautiful place. Choosing to adopt ARCA agronomic practices, farmers avoid their own and their family’s exposure to highly toxic chemical products. 

Conventional agriculture, in estimating the value of a piece of land, does not consider as parametres of esteem the soil vitality, the speed of corrivation of waters and the ability to hold carbon. According to this perspective, the soil is only considered as an element to exploit and this might cause a significant depletion of the soil resources.

Instead, with the ARCA regenerative practices, which are deeply rooted in the assumption according to which the soil is the first productive factor, a soil increases its value in proportion to its fertility. First of all, there’s an increase in the soil’s productive potential and in its related economic value; in addition, conditions are imposed for the reactivation of biodiversity, beauty and excellence employment. 

The bio-preservative regenerative techniques of ARCA, official partner of the Global Soil Partnership, are defined in the ARCA Regenerative Soil System, that is the technologies and the good agronomic practices which can be utilized by farmers and described in the following Charter of the Farmer and the Contractor.

9. THE ARCA CHARTER OF THE FARMER AND THE CONTRACTOR

1 He is a modern man, aligned with his time but conscious of the value of tradition. He is a real businessman, who not only aims at getting public funding, but who has also found out an alternative and virtuous way to earn a decent quantity of money with the company, as today the real value derives from the quality of its production. His company will anyway enjoy the public funding due to him especially for the social service, carried out through the care of the soil and the environment.

2 He sows, between one cash crop and another, the cover crops in order to seize the atmospheric carbon and to store it in the soil, to limit its erosion, to enrich it with minerals and organic substances, to improve its structure, to give back its vitality, scent and productivity. Making also bees happy, which find a new flourishing and now outdated essences available, such as sulla (coronoaria), veccia, mustard, oil seed rape.

3 He flanks old practices to new techniques and technologies, essential for real regenerative agriculture: crop rotations so as not to stress the soil, organic fertilizations to enrich it, intercropping, that is the simultaneous farming in the same space of two different species which interact between them (for instance, wheat and proteic pea, or barley and lentils).

4 He uses machines covered by patent and techniques deriving from a long scientific research which cause a minimal inconvenience to the soil by processing at 5-6 cm depth, ventilating the soil, avoiding reversing the pedological horizons and without overturning clumps, thus creating the best conditions for the processes of humification and the consequent regeneration of organic substance. Moreover, that is how we favour the management of the soil carried out both by the root systems of cultivations and by the microflora which is associated to them.

5 He preserves over the years the soil fertility also through a correct optimization of surface waters, decreasing the corrivation time, increasing the soil’s power of filtering and making groundwater cleaner.

6 He uses tractors of precise power, not too heavy, in order not to compact the soil excessively, instead of oversized tractors, useless fossil energy heat sinks. Moreover, he limits to the minimum the traffic in the plots, providing the vehicles used with adequate rubber wheeling.

7 He appropriately uses all the technology available and through a correct relation with Universities and Research Centres he wants to renovate his knowledge repeatedly.

8 He is a partner at a systemic level to his colleagues and the local institutions; he is integrated in acknowledged excellence agricultural and food supply chains and has shares of capital of the business company which places his products. His market is the world. 

An ARCA contractor is also aware, in terms of effectiveness and efficiency, with respect to:

  1. Deep knowledge of agronomic principles.
  2. Talent for innovation and new techniques and technologies.
  3. Sensitivity and meticulous care of the techniques.
  4. Qualitative approach.
  5. Rapidity of intervention.
  6. Income generation linked to the performances of excellence of the job.

10. THE ARCA REGENERATORS COPRODUCERS

Have you ever wondered who or what your choice of food will damage?

Are you a person who pays attention to the salubrity and the goodness of food, considering also its role in the protection of the soil and the environment?

Do you want to develop your growth and your inner regeneration also through some food which in its turn qualifies and regenerates natural resources and the beauty of the territory?

Are you ready to evolve from passive consumer to active co-producer and regenerator aware of the soil?

Are you a new mother or a new father and you would like to have a support in the complex decisions concerning your child’s weaning, food and nutrition? How can you choose food, considering also its emotional and relational role, its learning and self-esteem? How can you build a relationship of real confidence between parents, food and child?

Do you follow alternative diets, as organic, macrobiotic, vegan and you want to do even more?

Do you follow specific diets as a sports person or because you have achieved the full maturity of your body?

Do you love seasons and the seasonality of food?

Do you want to rediscover old knowledge, flavours and smells?

Are you looking for healthy food which also gives joy and which is truth and expression of an area?

Do you wish to take care of your pets, too, guaranteeing them healthy, nutritious and genuine food?

In a worldwide scenario where pollution depletes the soil, the choices people make when they sit down to eat become important. Hence the possibility to choose healthy, safe food with a better nutritional profile and which improves everybody’s life.

ARCA offers the chance to choose products which are good not only to health, but which regenerate and enrich the soil, too.

ARCA starts from the premise that today people match products, pay more attention to and are more conscious of what they buy.

People wonder more and more about food: where it comes from, how it was produced and how long it has been travelling to arrive at the selling point or through a delivery channel. The concept of tracking food from the producer to the table is today a key point. 

Food doesn’t represent only a form of sustenance any longer; it has become a symbol of the personal values of those who choose it and a form of expression of ourselves. For this reason fresh, genuine, original and regenerating food is searched for.

11. THE ARCA CHARTER OF FOOD

What are the characteristics and the trends which make food “perfect” today?

Food linked to tradition but also careful about health, a “reconsidered tradition” which best satisfies the needs for healthy food.

Food which also responds to the needs of the people who suffer from very diffused food and nutritional diseases or of people who pay great attention to what they eat today more than ever.

According to ARCA philosophy food is:

  • Obtained with farming practices that regenerate the soil
  • Controlled, tracked, certified at any level
  • Connected to the local area, typical
  • Linked to tradition
  • Seasonal 
  • Simple and natural
  • Healthy and tasty
  • Highly serviced, easy and fast to prepare
  • With low-cholesterol index
  • With low-glycemic index
  • With low-inflammatory index
  • Recommended to vegetarians
  • Recommended to vegans
  • Ideal for sports people

12. THE ARCA RESEARCH NETWORK

“Healthy soil, healthy food, healthy people, healthy planet”. 

Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania (USA)

ARCA draws inspiration from the guidelines on bio-preservative agriculture worked out by the Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania, the centre of experimentation and research among the first in the world to start the road of sustainability and regeneration already from 1947.

Since 1981 the Rodale Institute has been applying the techniques of organic farming on its 333 acres in Pennsylvania and has been studying the results of the transition from conventional farming. Their Farm System Trial has been going on for 35 years to show through scientific data the superiority of organic agriculture in terms of improvement of profitability and of the soil’s well-being, which are the keystones of regenerative agriculture.

From this experience and from these premises a partnership for the research is originated, which involves the Agricultural Department of the Polytechnic University of the Marches (D3A) and of the University of Udine, in addition to the Rodale Institute, which actively collaborates with ARCA.

In the ARCA research network there are also the Consortium AASTER and the University of Camerino.

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