Sicilian Family’s Silver Lining Amid Climate Crisis: Homegrown Coffee

This story was initially released by the Guardian and is replicated here as part of the Climate Desk cooperation.

For more than 30 years the Morettino household had actually been attempting to produce their own coffee on a little piece of land in Sicily. And for 30 years they had actually stopped working.

But last spring 66 seedlings produced about 30 kgs of coffee, in an advancement that might turn the Italian island into the northern most coffee plantation on the planet.

Experts state the environment emergency situation is irremediably tropicalzing the Mediterranean farming of Sicily, where in August a tracking station in south-eastern city of Syracuse took a temperature level of 48.8 C# AEEEE (120 F), the greatest ever taped in Europe. For Andrea Morettino, whose household has actually been in the coffee company for a century, it is the awareness of a dream.

““ In the ’90s, after numerous journeys throughout the world, my daddy chose to attempt planting some coffee plants in our little garden on the borders of Palermo, on land 350 meters above water level. Normally, coffee plantations grow around 1,500 meters above water level,” ” Morettino stated.“

. “ The plants grew in the open air, without the help of pesticides or greenhouses. Completely natural.”For us it might be a clean slate.“”.

“ At the starting it was an easy experiment however after numerous efforts we started to observe the coffee beans were growing in number, up till last spring when a plentiful harvest permitted us to procedure, dry, and toast them.

““ Do you understand what is a lot more unbelievable?” ” he included. “ The plants grew in the open air, without the help of pesticides or greenhouses. Completely natural. For us it might be a clean slate.””


In the homeland of espresso and coffee, the growing of Made in Italy coffee has actually constantly been a fixation. As far back as the early 1900s a group of agronomists from Palermo’’ s arboretum, a research study institute for the University of Palermo, attempted to cultivate coffee. The dream was shattered in the winter season of 1912 when, owing to the especially low temperature levels that year, the plants passed away.

““ It is clear that the environment emergency situation and the following increase in temperature levels have actually played a definitive function in the blooming of the coffee plants in Sicily,” ” stated Adriano Cafiso, who has actually invested the last 15 years circumnavigating plantations in South America and Africa and is now teaming up with Morettino.

““ The issue of the growing of coffee in Sicily is not the cold however the heat. For this factor we are currently dealing with a series of greenhouse plantations. The concept is that the so-called children or granddaughters of these plants will have the ability to slowly adjust to the Sicilian environment to the point of even having the ability to thrive outdoors, as has actually currently occurred in the Palermo plantation.””


The job will take years prior to it can reach massive production, however Morettino is figured out to produce brand-new coffee plantations on the island.

.” Sicily has actually been developing towards other crops that appeared unimaginable till a years earlier.”.

““ Our dream is to produce a 0 kilometer coffee and generate coffee production for the very first time within kilometers of continental Europe ,” ” he stated. “ In current years, due to environment modification, Sicily has actually been developing towards other crops that appeared unimaginable up until a years back, and which likewise require us business owners to progress.””


Sicily was for centuries among the significant manufacturers of lemons and oranges, initially imported by its Arab conquerors in the early ninth century. In current years citrus fruit production has actually dropped significantly: land in usage for oranges has actually reduced by 31% in the last 15 years, and that for lemons has actually dropped by nearly half as dry and progressively hot summertimes suggest the plants can not take up adequate water.

The indications of modification had actually currently been felt prior to the mercury struck 48.8 C in August: in the summer season of 2020 there was no rain for 90 successive days. Information gathered by the Balkans and Caucasus Observatory put the typical temperature level increase on the island over the last 50 years at practically 2 C, increasing to 3.4 C in Messina on the north-east coast.

Scientists state the environment emergency situation might sweep standard farming crops from the Mediterranean, leaving growers to look for tropical options. In the last 3 years the production of avocados, mangos and papaya has actually doubled in Sicily, while in Palermo’’ s arboretum scientists have actually signed up for the very first time the flowering of welwitschia, a local of the southern African Namib desert.

““ There is a impending and extremely high danger of desertification on the island, with lots of historical vines predestined to vanish,” ” stated Christian Mulder, a teacher of ecology and environment emergency situation at the University of Catania. ““ In the long-lasting worst-case circumstance, the entire southwestern part of Sicily will be climatically identical from Tunisia. This is requiring farmers to adjust to brand-new crops. It is a procedure currently under method. We should combat to prevent the worst.””


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