So we had our introduction lecture at Cook The Farm (CTF) this afternoon, in it Fabrizia, our host, teacher, and guide here, spoke of agriculture, food, cultivation, and laid out before us her beautiful vision…it was thought provoking and set a nice tone for the upcoming week on Wheat. She wove through the lecture questions and quotes that have moved me on all levels- mind, body, heart, and soul.
In this lifetime I have strived through various ways and means and jobs to take care of the land, myself, and the world around me- from my days as the president of our college environmental club, or a vegan, or studying wildlife in Kenya, studying birds across north America, a carpenter and cabinet maker, diving deeply into the mystical realms of meditation, or learning the art of healing oneself and others- I have strived to make what I touch and the space around me better.
Fabrizia shared with us an Italian quote that meant a lot to me,
“L’idea che coltivare I campi e coltivare se stessi e coltivare il mondo sia la stessa cosa”
“To farm the land, to take care of yourself, and to take care of the world is the same thing”
In the end what I have been is a farmer of sorts, participating in agriculture and cultivating the land on all the levels I have experienced thus far in this lifetime.
The definition of agriculture is: the science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other products. It is a late Middle English term that came from the Latin word agricultura, from agr ‘field’ plus cultura ‘growing, cultivation’.
And cultivate means: prepare a use (land) for crops or gardening, to foster the growth of. Which comes from the Latin word cultivus, and what’s totally cool is the root of that is cult: with words of care, labor, cultivation, culture, worship, reverence.
So once again in my life I am left sitting here at my desk on my second day in Sicilia contemplating the deeper meaning of life, of farming, of food, of where it all comes from, and how it is all connected. It is a dream to take this all to the physical level for me, and one day soon the farm will appear. I will be able to practice agriculture on a small scale, cultivating the land, co-creating an abundance our livelihood, laboring for my family, caring for the animals, revering the beauty and abundance it all provides, setting an example for my girls, family, and friends (hopefully), and taking another step forward into the age old question: Who am I?
It is time for dinner now…off to the kitchen to see what I can help out with, but still connecting back inwardly to decipher the answers to the questions Fabrizia laid out to us at the end of today’s lecture: what is agriculture, how can it affect us, and how does a landscape tell us who we are?
I want to leave you all with a quote that I love. I first read it on the wall of an Italian restaurant in Portland, and it has stayed with me all this time. Maybe because I just love the word contadino, and connect back to my great grandfather working his land in Campania!
Coloro che vengono a Toscana immediatamente si rendono conto che stanno entrando in una terra dove ognuno è un agricoltore e di essere un contadino per noi non è solo di saper scavare, zappa, l’aratro, seme, prugna, mietere, raccolta: cio significa sopra tutto saper mescolare zolle dii terreno con nuvole, per creare una cosa del cielo e della terra. Curzio Malaparte, Maledett Toscani
Those who come to Tuscany immediately realize they’re entering a land where everyone is a farmer. And being a farmer for us is not only about knowing how to dig, hoe, plow, seed, prune, reap, harvest: it means above all knowing how to mix clumps of soil with clouds, to create one thing of heaven and earth. Curzio Malaparte, Maledetti Toscani