PISTOIA, Italy: The Ornamental Nursery District of Pistoia (Distretto Vivaistico Ornamentale di Pistoia) has today announced the appointment of Francesco Ferrini to the position of President. Ferrini is a renowned professor of Urban Arboriculture at the University of Florence.
Pistoia is Italy’s epicentre of nursery stock production. The region boasts more than 5,000 hectares of nurseries specialised in outdoor plants.
Ferrini will aim, through a strengthened dialogue with institutions and associations from home and abroad, to put the needs of nurseries at the centre of the urban forestry plans that are emerging in Italy and in Europe.
In his first speech as president he stated that following the pandemic, “the way of looking at urban greenery has completely changed” and now “selling plants is almost like selling medicines”.
The District’s newly elected president is full professor of “Arboriculture” at the University of Florence, winner of the 2019 ISA Award of Merit and the 2009 Fabio Rizzi Award. The latter recognises ‘commitment in research and dissemination of technical-scientific knowledge in the field of nursery and ornamental arboriculture, in constant contact with producers all over the world’.
Francesco Ferrini succeeds Francesco Mati, who has been president of Pistoia Nursery District for two terms, from 2015 to today. Mati has been able to overcome various moments of crisis. So much so that from the second half of 2020 the District took off again, capitalising on the growing trend in demand for plants by both private individuals and public entities in Europe and, despite the losses of the lockdown months, closed 2020 with a + 5.1% of exports over 2019 (data of the “Monitor dei distretti della Toscana” di Intesa Sanpaolo).
Pistoia Nursery District is the largest Italian plant production district with about 1500 nurseries that mostly grow outdoor plants on a total area of over 5,000 hectares. The employees are about 5,500. Production exceeds 500 million euros, of which around 200 million euros (40%) for exports.
Luca Magazzini is president of the Associazione Vivaisti Italiani AVI (Italian Nurserymen Association) – an association with a membership base in Pistoia but with some nurserymen members also from other regions which has the function of the managing body of the Nursery District of Pistoia in accordance with the regional law on rural districts of Tuscany. He said, “We are happy to have Prof. Ferrini on board. We expect a further leap in scientific quality in the dissemination of knowledge about the nursery sector and the benefits of plants for health and the environment.”
“Those who preceded me”, said Francesco Ferrini, after being elected. “have made it possible to implement the many activities of the District that have guaranteed its growth, even in a context of crisis like that of recent years. So my personal thanks go to them. But there are many things to do, not because they haven’t been done, but simply because in the last year and a half everything has changed: the perspective from which we look at urban greenery has changed.”
Ferrini went on to say that “the nurseryman must be increasingly aware that when he sells a plant, he sells a medicine. I don’t want to exaggerate, but it is as if he were selling organic, zero-impact medicine that is not only good for the body but also for the spirit. A nurseryman does not sell a simple product but much more, that is, a whole series of direct and indirect benefits for human life that count more than the mere aesthetic value of the plant. He/She sells something that absorbs CO2, intercepts particulate matter, reduces pollution, creates shadow and therefore mitigates the effects of climate change.”
Ferrini announced that he will take some time to draw up the program. But he anticipated some of his fundamental objectives for the Pistoia Nursery District. Among these, the involvement of nurserymen in urban green planning, also in order to be able to promptly meet the demand for plants, and greater visibility and internationality of the District.