History of a recovery project: Lungavilla’s pumpkin landrace

Introduction

 

In Italy the variety of climatic, environmental and cultural conditions favoured the selection of a large number of local crops. Over the years many projects have been planned to recover the original traits of landraces which were facing the risk of extinction. Here we report the results of the project aimed at rescuing a pumpkin landrace named “Berretta di Lungavilla”. The recovery work started in 2007, involving volunteers, farmers and researchers.pagina-14

Lungavilla lies in the Po floodplain (Northern Italy). In the past it was known as “the village of vegetable crops”. This denomination is related to particular properties of the soil, that is rich in clay and suitable for vegetables growing. The pumpkin landrace traditionally grown by Lungavilla’s farmers is called “Berretta” because it is capped, resembling the shape of the hat worn by priests. For a long time pumpkin has represented an important symbol that gives its name to the main event the local community identifies with. Indeed, the yearly recurrence which was born in the past as a religious occurrence and a celebration of earth fertility is called “pumpkin celebration”.