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From materials for eco-friendly buildings to shoes made from apples, from cosmetics made with honey to innovative textiles for Italian fashion that re-establish crops previously thought to be extinct. There is a branch of functional agriculture that feeds new industrial sectors where science, technology and nature work together to (re)build a good world. Italy has proven itself to be in the forefront of scientific advancement where the third dimension, that of creativity, supported by technology and sustained by ever more evolved and specialised agriculture, becomes the new horizon for sustainable development. Development that values intuition over size, ability over power, and substance over finances. And as for alternative substances, or should we say substances as old as man, they are what feeds this green factory which is, based on the Italian example, a widespread factory organised according to the region, where expertise, ability and production work in synergy. This is so-called “soft chemistry” which we would do better to call natural chemistry or, even better, the “alchemy of sustainability” whereby the waste products of production, biomass, low-impact and even lower market value cultivations, become value-enhancers thanks to research and the creation of integrated production chains that allow for the optimisation of production processes. The third road that has been undertaken by Italy in “soft chemistry” lies not so much in the destination of a part of the crops to non-food uses as happens in other parts of the world where the production of biomass for bio-fuels and bio-energy is becoming a dangerous competitive factor in food agriculture, as in the exploitation of the waste products of agro-food production or marginal crops cultivated on marginal land in order to obtain new materials that can boost the overall efficiency of the agro-industrial production chain. All of this while supporting a true green economy project: that of incorporating the concept of threshold and discovering infinite applications for finite resources.