On November 12, 2021 in Castelluccio Superiore (Italy), the first European Conservatory of Ethnobotany was inaugurated. This prestigious scientific project, with the goal of environmental protection and enhancement, focuses on the conservation and cataloging, research and study of plants, seeds and all the flora of the Pollino National Park (UNESCO heritage site) located in Basilicata region, and then extends it to the entire area of the Mediterranean.
“Ethnobotany,” refers to the study and enhancement of the agricultural customs and traditions of a specific geographical area. In other words, it is the study of a region’s plants and their practical uses through the traditional knowledge of a local culture and people. Richard Evans Schultes, often referred to as “the father of ethnobotany,” explained the discipline as the following: “Ethnobotany simply means investigating plants used by societies in various parts of the world.” In particular, the Pollino National Park has historical and millenary traditions linked to the Basilian Monks and their activities and knowledge of plants and their use in various fields.
The ribbon was cut by Dr. Vincenzo Salamone (president of the VOS Onlus Foundation) and his wife, Ornella Salamone, who were the promoters of the ambitious project. “It is an important initiative, and we wish to emphasize that our community can become the coordinator of this environmental project. The Foundation, and therefore the Conservatory, was born practically to crown activities that were already structured, and which already existed within the VOS Group, and thus we wanted to give a solid aspect also from the educational and dissemination point of view. For this reason, the Conservatory seemed to us the most functional form to give life in a structural way to what is already in place within the Group.” – Vincenzo Salamone (CEO of VOS Group and VOS Foundation).
“Everything was born here from the Pollino National Park, and the Foundation is a will of this group of companies, to want to leave a testimony of the proximity of the territory of VOS Group, and through the pursuit of objectives such as the enhancement of biodiversity, the spreading of ethnobotanical cultures, creating better conditions for the territory, for the enhancement of this priceless heritage.” – Francesco Fanelli (CEO, Evra s.r.l Benefit Corp – VOS Group).
“The VOS Foundation goal, which is providing all those services that are complementary to all activities of the companies that are part of the VOS Group, is to spread all our initiatives first in Italy, then in Europe and to the rest of the world. Thus we thought it appropriate to set up this Foundation precisely to concentrate all the complementary activities. We strongly believe in this initiative and we believe it is essential for the development of all the Group’s activities. ” – Mariano Farina (Commercial Director at VOS Group)