Terre AbbanDonate. The Biella platform that brings together those who have and are looking for uncultivated land

Nov 5 2020, 10:36 | by Livia Montagnoli
The project's objectives promoted by Let Eat Bi are manifold. Enhancing the land and defending it from total abandonment; stimulating cooperation within a community; favouring a genertional shift in farming, This is how the exchange platform works, and why it should be replicated elsewhere.

The idea behind Terre AbbanDonate

Terre AbbanDonate is a formula that immediately conveys the idea of the handover desired by those who created the project. The link between the abandonment of a land and its new life, in this case, becomes donation. Or rather the dialogue between those who own uncultivated land and those who are looking for a piece of land to cultivate, but have not yet had the opportunity to find it. Facilitating this step is the Let Eat Bi association. Located in Biella, where the reality that borrows one of the most famous works by Michelangelo Pistoletto to realize the Third Paradise in the Biella area has long been concerned with implementing responsible change projects by inviting people to collaborate. The ultimate and recurring goal is caring for the land, the natural and social landscape, to promote sustainable economic development and social inclusion. Terre AbbanDonate puts all this into practice, acting as a meeting platform between supply and demand for agricultural land. Simply, the online platform collects a map of the abandoned lands available in the Biella area, while showing the farmers interested in adopting an abandoned land.

The Cadastre Land Registry and the Register of Farmers

Equally simple is the articulation of the database in the Land Registry and in the Register of Farmers, which facilitate immediate exchange between those who donate and those who receive. In this way, the association explains, it's possible to promote the care, defense and enhancement of the local area, while encouraging the creation of lasting social bonds and the exchange of knowledge between different generations and cultures. Without prejudice to the intention to consider the land a common good and therefore to try to activate its productive and aggregative potential. The concepts of cooperation within a local community, sensitivity to reuse and protection of the territory as a collective identity are included in the discourse. This is why it's important to save uncultivated land from abandonment, so that it becomes a resource for newer generations (and we know how in recent years there are more and more young people willing to undertake new and well-structured agricultural projects). The result is the desire to bet only on environmentally friendly agriculture, which does not use chemicals and rather aims to regenerate the soil. The test in the Biella area also aims to provide a model that can be replicated elsewhere.

How Terre AbbanDonate works

The members of Let Eat Bi can register in the Land Registry or Register of Farmers, upon payment of an annual membership fee of 15 euros, which, however, will only be required if the exchange of an abandoned land is successful. An aspiring farmer looking for land, therefore, will be able to register with the Register of Farmers after ensuring compliance with the association's Manifesto; will become visible on the platform through a profile page and will be able to search for the land that best suits their needs in the Cadastre registry section, which indicates the location, size, advice for use of each uncultivated plot. Once the land has been identified, by filling in the appropriate form, the exchange procedure will be activated, followed in the online phase by the association and then finalised by the parties who autonomously establish the effective methods of legal agreement with which to regulate land use relations. The procedure is similar for those who want to make land available, who with the help of Let Eat Bi will draw up a description of the area, also providing photographs attached, and then wait for the requests of the interested parties or move in search of profiles in the register of farmers. It's important to underline that the land must not actually be donated: the donation desired in the name of the project, in fact, does not involve a transfer of ownership, but the entrustment of the land to another subject, for the period agreed together (in this regard the association provides a suggested form of private agreement).

Cassette di ortaggi

Who are the aspiring farmers?

Everyone can freely explore the platform, to get an idea of the available land and its characteristics: ranging from a vegetable garden with a forest, a grassy patch with an orchard, or an aromatic garden with a well, to a former equestrian centre with large wooded areas, to the plot with old farmhouses to be recovered. Among the profiles of aspiring farmers, however, we can find people who want to devote themselves to production for their own consumption, students with the dream of creating a multifunctional farm, people with a passion for beekeeping or the desire to open an educational farm. But also associations that need land to carry out projects to reintegrate migrants into the work funnel. But there is also room for medicinal herbs, vineyards, permaculture systems, hemp cultivation. A variety of interests or goals that demonstrate the willingness of an increasing number of people to care for the earth. And to make it a sustainable income resource.




by Livia Montagnoli

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