Thursday, June 29, 2017

Gabrielo Menci's Garden

Just yesterday, we walked down the hill to Gabrielo Menci’s local garden in Castiglion Fiorentino. To witness his quaint home and garden, which has been passed down for many generations, was an incredible cultural immersion. We explored and sampled the variety of organic fruits and vegetables he grows. These included: strawberries, beans, carrots, peas, artichokes, legumes, limes, and cherries along with many others. Each crop was given Gabrielo’s utmost attention and highest quality of care. My favorite things I tasted were the sweet strawberries. They were the best and freshest I have ever had!

The main contributors to the quality of crops are the climate and soil. The climate is naturally appropriate for the crops he grows and the soil is well-drained and slightly acidic. To complement this natural phenomena, Gabrielo also composts and waters minimally, which actually contributes to the sweetness factor. In between crop rows, he plants legumes to naturally fix the nitrogen within the soils for better crop yield and turnover after seasons. He uses very resourceful gardening tactics to ensure the highest quality of crops!

Visiting Gabrielo’s garden reminded me a lot about volunteering with World Hunger Relief in Waco, Texas this past semester. Like Gabrielo, World Hunger Relief grows organic fruits and vegetables and serves to feed the people who rely on the garden. The organization was started in 1976 to teach sustainable farming practices for local and foreign people and to provide for those living in poverty. It is such a treat to see both Gabrielo and World Hunger Relief so passionate about sustainable, organic agricultural farming. I cannot wait to go back to World Hunger Relief and discuss ways they implement best growing tactics in Waco and how that differs in Italy. What a treat it was to visit Gabrielo Menci’s home garden and learn about Italian gardens!

-MadSwag (maddy stripling)

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