VERA – Sustainable agricultural models for biodiversity preservation


The agricultural biodiversity of Puglia and Dalmatia is not sufficiently researched and protected. Due to the dominance of monocultures, intensive agriculture and urbanization, traditional varieties of fruit trees are increasingly disappearing, with a devastating impact on our ecosystems. This problem is also accompanied by a lack of supply of the same species in nurseries. Moreover, due to an increasing alienation from nature and a lack of educational content, the local population is not familiar with the diversity of forest fruit trees and their benefits, especially the younger generations.

In order to preserve agricultural species from extinction, increase food sovereignty, strengthen resistance to climate change in agricultural production, and promote the importance of traditional varieties of fruit trees, it is necessary to take action starting from the added value of cooperation.

The VERA  project promotes sustainable agricultural models and practices aimed at preserving biodiversity and increasing organic farming by carrying out a comprehensive program of activities at cross-border level: research and transplant of domestic agricultural varieties, joint itinerant training for Italian and Croatian students, collection and digitalization of ancient fruits’ genetic material, educational workshops and events for the local community, in a spirit of exchange and transfer of good practices.

Project goals:

The project’s overall objective is to enhance the protection of agricultural biodiversity in the Programme area by promoting sustainable agricultural practices among local farmers and increasing awareness and education about benefits of biodiversity conservation among youth and community. VERA also aims to digitally preserve the genetic material of the most ancient local biodiversity, protecting it from the threat of extinction and passing it on to future generation thanks to technology.

Project specific objectives:


  1. Increase the cooperation and exchange of good practices between participating regions in the field of agricultural biodiversity conservation and sustainable farming.
  2. Increase knowledge and understanding of the benefits of sustainable agriculture practices to preserve biodiversity among farmers, agronomists and other partners’ stakleholders.


  1. Engage the local community of the involved regions, especially the younger generationn, to preserve domestic agricultural biodiversity and adopt more sustainable practices in agriculture.
  2. Raise awareness among citizens and in particular among young people of the involved regions on the diversity and richness of local agricultural biodiversity and the importance of preserving it. 

Project activities:

A 1.1. Cross-border exchange on sustainable innovative farming methods
A 1.2. Joint cross-border training for youth on agricultural biodiversity and organic farming
A 1.3. Cross-border pilot transplant of fig samplings
A 2.1. Workshop to increase pruning skills of agricultural operators in Molise
A 2.2. Educational activities for the local community on the agricultural biodiversity
A 2.3. Digitalization of Pomona’s collection of ancient figs

Expected project results:

O 1.1. Final cross-border conference jointly organized
O 1.2. „Grow together“ joint cross-border training scheme on agricultural biodiversity
O 1.3. Cross-border pilot exchange and transplant of figs samplings
O 2.1. E-booklet of best practices developed within the project educational activities

Lead partner: Municipality of Larino

Project partners: Permaculture Dalmatia, Demonstrative Farm company „I Giardini di Pomona“ of Paolo Belloni , Association for Nature, Envinroment and Sustainable development Sunce

Duration of the project: 16 months (1.9.2023. – 31.12.2024.)

Financing: Interreg Italy-Croatia 2021/2027 (PRIORIT AXIS 2 – Green and resilient shared environment), total project budget 246.687,22 EUR.
Project is co-financed by the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs.

Official project website: LINK

Project manager in Sunce:
Margita Radman, Head of Department of Education and Information
[email protected]

Related news

What natural treasures does the Italian Molise hide? We discovered the answer on our study trip (2024)

Italian students first time in Croatia: they learn about Croatian agricultural practices (2024)

Where nature conservation and rich diversity come together in sustainable harmony – VERA kick-off (2023)