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"Il Filo d'Erba" Altaura e Monte Ceva - Padova - Veneto - Italia
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The story of the farm

My parents believed in an eduaction that was both formal and rigid. But, for a single month each year I was sent to live in the countryside.

During that one month a year, I enjoyed the freedom to do even that which was normally forbidden to me. I would crush grapes with my barefeet and ‘swim’ inside a huge tank of warm corn - thresh for hours - with only the suns rays to dry me after. I took fishing trips. On one such trip, I caught three fish - which I then transplanted into a hole I’d dug in the earth near our house. I remember having to refill that hole with fresh water every half hour (while being on constant gaurd angainst cats and birds) to keep those fish alive.

On one particularly hot day, I wished to find a little fresh air. With the help of a friend, I lowered myself down into the depths of a well. Today, all those same wells all have security covers.

Maria Dalla FrancescaI ate sandwiches in the open air, plopped upon the grass rather than sat properly at a table. I was allowed to get dirty. Rainy days were no less beautiful to me, because I found great fun in playing barefoot among the puddles. I would use the rain as it fell to wash myself free of any mud. The dry holes left after a summers drought would suddenly fill with water from that rain, and soon my inagination would be taking me away aboard ships bound for marvelous adventure. My play companion and I were free to follow the path of our own creativity.

Even as a child, I recognized my immense good fortune. The ability to taste and experience all of those sensations that only nature could provide was a privilege indescribable by words alone. Like a baby bird first cracking its shell and openning a pathway to life - such was my feeling of those days spent in the countryside.
With such an abundance of stimulus at our disposal, that single month never seemed long enough to include all that we wished to do. Great quantities of day-dreams would remain in storage until the following year. And, if I ever felt any sorrow in the months that followed, I would submerge myself in those memories of the countryside and find great comfort there. It was a sacred experience, my time in the country, and perhaps it is exactly this that truly matters most inside us all.

I have followed a normal scholastic curriculum: elementary and middle schools with university after. My degree as a nuclear physicist came as the result of much hard work, and throughout my studies, I never strayed far from my personal interest in the nature that surrounded me. Subsequently, I am convinced that I grasped most clearly those concepts from books which I read while stretched upon fields of tall grass over those read in any other setting. A concept of particular emphasis in my life became that of mans relationship with nature and his role as a part of the whole. I learned that the Greeks had a single term for this vast network; Physis.

Blade of GrassLike nature itself, the profound connection I shared with my environment has evolved and matured over the passage of time. I find the same relaxation in releasing my curiosities upon an open countryside that most other people find in spending a whole day lying in the sun. Allowing myself to get caught - up in anything - while wanting to explore everything that is taking place in the nature around me, personally, is a sensation of ‘fun’ which is far different from all else. The busy-buzz of excitement that may accompany an exihibition openning, for example, is quite unlike the intellectual stimulation I have long felt from nature. For while my mood may evoke in me great pleasure or satisfaction upon seeing a work of art for the first time-in that moment, those sensations invariably leace me feeling drained. Yet, I have never felt so when stood before the boundless intrigues and beauty of our own Mother Nature.

It is now my inner-most wish to share those feelings of fun and well-being by inviting people of all ages to join me in the countryside. Over the course of years, I have begun to view my sentiment towards nature as a useful objective, for I now feel it is necessary to provide people with the same opportunities to be distracted and stimulated by nature as I have had in my own life. The countryside is a font of inexhaustable knowledge that I wish to assist people in experiencing.

After my graduation from university, I began a teaching career. I taught for 20 years. My work during those years took me both far and wide. Through a variety of job opportunities, I was able to experience new arts, environments, and other ways of life. I never took an ‘organized’ trip, and once more I was free to follow the path of my own creativity. But more importantly, over all these years, my feelings towards the countryside remained unchanged.

In the meantime, my families 100 year old farm property ‘Dalla Francesca’ was run by my father, and he took care to farm the land using the traditional methods. Then, in 1997 - after many years of suffering - my mother passed away. My father followed her a few short years later in 2002. He was 95.

With the death of my mother, I had been passed the reins of the family farm. I had a decision to make. The family farm was also a company that I now needed to decide whether I would create an administration for, sell, or make a career-change and run myself. I have decided upon the third option. Consequently, I have retired from my teaching career of 20 years - without pension. And, in 1998 the conversion to organic farming was initiated...

In the year 2000, the farms were opened to the public as ‘Educational Farm Schools’.
The activities and courses offered to the farms visitors are intended to contribute to the diffusion of patrimonial knowledge in the areas of environment, agricultural landscape, and the traditions associated with them. Through experimentation, we gain appreciation and enjoyment of the values and sensations stemming from the agricultural world.

Here also we have the possibility to concretely verify that which would be lost to us if those proclamations and resolutions made at international, national, and local community levels regarding environmental stewardship were not to be followed. At the ‘Educational Farm Schools’, adults and children of all ages are invited to realize that todays enviromental problems are better faced through collaboration between all interested citizens - each contributing to their own abilities. (Principles 9 and 10 from the Rio Declarations) And, that all interested citizens are best served by promoting conservation and stewardship in the agricultural territories of their homelands having now personal convictions stemming from their direct experimentations had with us upon our farms.


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IL FILO D’ERBA - AZIENDA AGRICOLA BIOECOLOGICA ALTAURA E MONTE CEVA
Sedi: ALTAURA, Via Correr 1291, Altaura, 35040 Casale di Scodosia, PD   |   MONTE CEVA, Via Cataio 68, Cà Vecchia, 35041 Battaglia Terme, PD
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