The historical roots of modern cereal farming: technical-archival guidelines for the transfer of agronomic knowledge

The project funded by the University Competitive Project for Researchers and Fixed Time (years 2020-2021) of the University of Florence, starting from the Tuscan territory, in a chronological period ranging from the mid-eighteenth century to the full twentieth century, aims to the full potential of the documents and information stored in the archives. The aim is to create a support mechanism for cultural policies aimed at improving the conception, perception, and evaluation of national/regional research and innovation strategies. Therefore, one of the objectives is to build effective cooperation between science and society (represented by the archives) so as to associate scientific excellence with awareness and social responsibility. The research aims to integrate the community in the themes, policies, and activities of science and in those cultural basins and documentary evidence that can be traced in the archives, integrating the interests and values ​​of citizens and increasing the quality, relevance, social acceptability, and sustainability of research and culture results. One of the fundamental characteristics of the Tuscan territory is the richness and diffusion of the archives as depositories of cultural values, both material and intangible, which in fact constitute its identity theme. The project aims to create an archival-agronomic process of shared planning within which the different needs and potential, expressed and unexpressed, can be made effective within the framework of a new research model and, why not, management. The management of agricultural heritage from a cultural point of view, increasingly today, must have as its ultimate goal the enhancement of the quality of products and landscapes, in order to support the overcoming of economic decline and social impoverishment by bringing together different experiences united but from the bet on quality. In this sense, it is essential that development and culture proceed integrated, keeping tradition together with innovation, in a constant relationship between territory, community identity, and global competition. The first objective was to create a map/guide of the archives present in the area and of the archival series attributable to the purposes of the research (by way of example only: entry and exit; grasce registers; etc ...), recognizing their role in the close relationship with the territory and dividing the structures by legal nature (state and non-state public archives, private archives). The census was the starting point for managing the archival documentation of the agricultural heritage both with a view to recovery and subsequent enhancement of the quality of products and landscapes and from a purely cultural, social, and identity point of view. This new approach to agronomic studies allows both interested parties (sector professionals) and scholars to integrate the more purely scientific and technical data with a wealth of historical information (recovered from archival sources) in order to create a conceptual model and of innovative and conscious work. The idea of ​​the archive not only as a self-documenting memory and source memory but also as a basin of information and data for the rediscovery and enhancement of territorial identities is the focal point from which to move to invest in the past in a programmatic and future. In this sense, the proposal of a methodology of territorial analysis that is no longer just occasional, but generates a scientific criterion that can also be applied to other areas and contexts, is the basis of the entire research process. It is, therefore, a historical reconstruction, but also a reinterpretation of the peasant methods of cultivation, not so much through a generic recourse to memory, but by identifying and analyzing the archival and publicists documentation available at various levels over a chronological period that goes from the middle of Eighteenth-century rural exodus from the twentieth century and contemporary agrarian transformation. An interdisciplinary perspective, close collaboration, recognition, and criticism, between the units involved, perfectly complementary while respecting their own scientific skills, has allowed us to broaden our gaze by using the sources and knowing how to read them on diachronic, diatopic, and even "diametic" axes.

The research unit saw the participation of two researchers from the University of Florence: Annantonia Martorano (Principal Investigator - SAGAS Department) and Marco Napoli (Partner - DAGRI Department) and made use of two research fellows identified in the people of Irene Rossi (SAGAS Department) and Carolina Fabbri (DAGRI Department).

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