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A day in a biorefinery for middle school students at Cupidi Farm in Italy

may 23rd 2024

The visit is part of the project's activities, all of which are aimed at increasing knowledge and promoting the bioeconomy and its economic, social and environmental benefits.
Cupidi Farm has developed sustainable and circular agriculture approaches in recent years by embracing all the principles of the bioeconomy, including energy generation. Students were introduced to the methods of biological farming, which respects the nature of animals, and the circular approach to resource management. This method not only minimizes the amount of waste, but turns it into valuable resources that are commonly considered discard.

One aspect that particularly impressed the students was the innovative use of wood from tree prunings. On many farms, these scraps are simply burned for disposal. At Cupidi Farm, however, this wood is first dried and then turned into wood chips that power the water heating system. This process not only supports the farm's production needs but also domestic needs, representing a concrete example of a biorefinery.
The farm gets its electricity needs supplied through a photovoltaic system. Students had the opportunity to see a photovoltaic panel up close and understand the process of converting light energy into electrical energy. This experience gave them a practical understanding of renewable technologies and their positive environmental impact.

Next, the process of wood chip production and storage was explained, demonstrating how each stage of the production cycle is carefully planned to maximize efficiency and sustainability.
The final part of the visit was devoted to a hands-on workshop. In the farm's walnut grove, students took measurements to determine the amount of wood obtained from tree pruning. This exercise emphasized the importance of considering each resource for its potential, turning an unavoidable waste into a central component of a sustainable production cycle.

During this activity, the farm's founder, Alessio Cupidi, a former researcher in the field of biology, transferred his scientific passion into the practical application of the concepts of environmental sustainability and bioeconomics, seeing in them the possibility of bringing tangible benefits to the community. Cupidi shared his vision of sustainable agriculture with students and teachers, highlighting the importance of the concepts of circularity.
Matteo Anzalone, GenB Ambassador, interviewed Cupidi to gather his experience and testimony and it was posted on the GenB project's social media.

The visit to Cupidi Farm provided students with a concrete understanding of how innovation can be integrated into one of the world's oldest professions. Students could see directly how a sustainability and innovation-driven approach can improve production efficiency and positively impact the environment and the community.

This hands-on field experience has the potential to inspire students to consider career paths in fields related to sustainability, bioeconomy, and renewable energy, and also demonstrated that modern agriculture can be a fertile ground for scientific and technological innovation, promoting a more sustainable and conscious future starting with the next generation.
The success of this activity will be reported at the European level by the GenB project with the hope of being replicated and integrated into the educational models of schools in all member countries of the European Union.

Author: Matteo Anzalone, GenB Ambassador