Circular Economy, Energy Sustainability, and Ornamental Horticulture

7 December 2023

by Renato Ferretti

We can no longer discuss economic development without addressing the concepts of circular economy and sustainability in production processes. Ornamental horticulture and floriculture, in general, are not exempt from this paradigm shift. Therefore, the opportunity presented by the energy transition, incentivized through funds from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), becomes crucial for making the sector sustainable and competitive. Government projects for photovoltaic projects have been released, and those for agrivoltaic projects, integrating ground-mounted photovoltaic systems into agricultural productions, will follow shortly.

Container horticulture, especially, lends itself well to this integration, both due to the characteristics of the production process and the varied sunlight requirements of the cultivated species. Additionally, on-site renewable energy production can enable a genuine circular economy by powering irrigation systems, electric machinery, and equipment essential for cultivation and plant handling, as well as general uses.

According to the PNRR directives and forthcoming calls, these systems must ensure a certain percentage of agricultural (in this case, horticultural) production while integrating seamlessly with the surrounding landscape. In the case of utilizing arable land, both productive and ecological infrastructures must be established, requiring the planting of trees and shrubs to aesthetically enhance these installations.

All these aspects will be discussed at the Green Agorà event scheduled for January 18th at the Fiere di Parma, specifically dedicated to these topics in the perspective of Flormart – Green Italy 2024. The event will feature the presence of the University of Florence, which has a startup focused on agrivoltaics, the National Council of Agronomists and Forestry Doctors, Floriculture Associations, and Professional Agricultural Organizations.