All News

Permaculture in the land of vino Nobile


Bosco di Ogigia a sustainability site

Bosco di Ogigia in the land of vino Nobile
A sustainable tale told on social media

by Simona Chipi

Valdichiana, a fertile plain, rich in history, spreads under the sweet rolling hills covered with vineyards and olive groves around Montepulciano, the homeland of the famous vino Nobile. This valley of alluvial origin extends over 2,300 in the provinces of Siena and Arezzo with foothills reaching Umbria. Its landscapes are imprinted with the memory of generations of farmers and dynasties of lords who lived there and is dotted with imposing country houses which used to house entire families to whom the land was given as share-croppers. With the arrival of the green revolution in the post- second world war period, it underwent, like all the Italian countryside, a deep and rapid change. The large variety of cultivations which had to satisfy all the needs of the families disappeared giving way to more profitable crop growing. However, Valdichiana still preserves that agricultural vocation aimed at completing quality food supply coming from the surrounding hills. Evident signs of that farming wisdom of times gone by are still present. In this area, many are those who love to cultivate at least a kitchen garden for family consumption, completed possibly also by a chicken coop.

At Montepulciano Stazione, a town on the slopes of the beautiful small town of Etruscan origin from where it gets its name, where the train linking Siena to Rome stops, a person has had the idea to recover some of the ancient wisdom proposing at the same time a new way to consider agriculture using permaculture principles. In a small field, Francesca Della Giovampaola, a full time TV journalist for many years, is currently working on a pilot project to spread this approach in Valdichiana. Permaculture is a planning system, developed in Australia, to create sustainable human settlements where man’s needs are met in harmony with the regenerative processes of nature.

The project is called Bosco di Ogigia, from the mysterious island, full of fruit, where the Greek hero Ulysses meets Calypso, and proposes the creation of a foodforest, where tall trees live alongside shrubbery, vegetables, creepers and whatever else is needed to create an ecosystem able to regenerate itself like in natural woods.

“When I was little,” says Francesca Della Giovampaola, “the countryside was my passion and, after many years of work as a journalist in the city, I wanted to move closer to it. I am shocked at how we ignore the cry of pain that mother Earth is giving. I am sure that we must all do something.” All the work in Bosco di Ogigia is told, in all its phases, on the Internet website and on all the main social networks (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram) with videos, photos and articles. On the web space, many are the themes faced connected to saving the environment, from climate change to techniques of natural agriculture, from research on old methods of cultivation and breeding to the self-production of food up to other Italian experiences of permaculture. The online tale is sided with first-hand personal encounters, travels and experiences in order to try and find together, alternative ways to the industrial methods of agriculture which damage the environment and the quality of the food.

- A glimpse of Bosco di Ogigia, food forest at Montepulciano in the province of Siena
- Francesca Della Giovampaola, journalist and permaculture follower
- Carrots produced at Bosco di Ogigia.
- Glimpse of the kitchen garden with sheep’s wool mulch.