An opportunity for young and old to discover the tradition and relevance of agricultural life through educational courses and wine and food tasting.
In ancient times, the birth of agriculture was attributed to divine law. Thus, farming practices were see as godlike and the calendar of the countryside had great social significance.
Even the tools used to farm came from the gods and there was even something Olympian about farmers themselves: we need only consider Ulysses, a peasant to whom Homer dedicated his most epic tales.
The cultivation of crops marks mankind’s first step towards civilisation by making humans independent producers of natural resources. Legends and myths around growing trees and plants still persist. That’s why it’s important to learn about the miraculous relationship between the earth and what we eat. We should also understand the importance of nature and the role it has played in making civilization possible.
In the Italian region of Emilia Romagna an educational project about the relationship between the land and food, as well as consumers and producers, is helping to teach both adults and children. Events designed for schools and families let people learn about the fundamentals of agricultural life through the production of bread and spelt as well as by picking fruit. The project is called Open Farms and 300 organic farms have very generously agreed to help out.
Now in its 17th year, the project is more than just a great day spent outdoors. It is also an educational experience that lets visitors discover where the flavours of the countryside actually come from. The aim is to make people aware of the everyday miracles that happen on a farm producing the food we eat. You can help out with the grape and olive harvest, make cured meats and rear animals. There are even “gastronomy seminars” where you can learn to prepare the region’s most delicious foods, such as Cappelletti (stuffed pasta, a speciality of Reggio Emiglia). The events are a journey back in time to an ancient world whose traditions are still with us today – courtesy of human effort and divine inspiration.