The “Fondazione Italiana per la Ricerca in Agricoltura Biologica e Biodinamica” in English
The Italian Foundation for Research in Organic and Biodynamic Agriculture
was set up in 2007 by organic and biodynamic farmers, environmental and labour associations with the financial support of private organic companies, farms and not-for-profit organisations.
FIRAB is the fruit of merging energies from the organic sector organisations (Associazione Italiana per l’Agricoltura Biologica – AIAB – and Associazione per l’Agricoltura Biodinamica, the main national environmental association (Legambiente) and one labour union (Unione Lavoratori Italiani dell’Agroalimentare – UILA) meant to enable the Foundation to operate on innovation with and for organic farmers within the larger framework of agroecology and social respect.
FIRAB promotes applied research in low input farming through a participatory approach, and through farmer-to-farmer exchange too, and operates technical and scientific dissemination. FIRAB competencies range between agronomic and economic research in the field of organic and sustainable farming.
FIRAB has a national structure with regional chapters (linked to its founder association decentralised structures) to act closely with farmers on specific local needs. Most of its activities are thus focused on supporting local organic farmers through regional and national projects.
FIRAB has a specific know-how and project responsibilities in assessing agroenvironmental performance of organic agriculture. It is carrying out in the Lazio region a quadrennial programme meant to implement conversion of conventional farms to organic and biodynamic farming, combined with pertinent dissemination activities in various Italian regions. It provides scientific coordination of research activities in organic wine productions. Moreover, the Foundation has been carrying out economic surveys and assessments on Italian organic produce export in Europe, on organic product prices in different distribution channels and on economic impact assessments following market shocks, commissioned by the ISMEA (the Italian Institute of Services for the Agricultural and Food Market). Recently, FIRAB has also coordinated a monitoring project on experimental and training regional centres And finally, FIRAB acts as consultant for the pasta company Barilla on sustainable wheat farming.
At European level, FIRAB is the scientific coordinator of the GLAMUR project (Global and Local food chain Assessment: a multidimensional performance-based approach) and the dissemination coordinator of the STABIWINE project (use of biopolymers for sustainable stabilisation of quality wines) both funded by the EU 7th Framework Programme for Research.
FIRAB is a member of the EU and Italian organic technology platforms and its experts contribute to policy analysis issuing specific policy recommendations. FIRAB runs an annual MSc thesis award on organic and agroecology farming.
At international level, FIRAB operates as an administrative hub for the Civil Society Mechanism, the international network of NGOs and civil society organisations active vis-à-vis the Committee on World Food Security.
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