I was a surveyor and Jessica was managing a bar. We quit our jobs in the chilly North to pursue our dream of living in the countryside and develop a self-contained farm. We started from scratch.
I had to study everything: I read books on Rudolf Steiner’s biodynamic associations and watched Youtube tutorials on how to make cheese.
This is the lifestyle we chose, it’s not simply our job.
Raul and Jessica moved to Sicily to build an agricultural business of their dreams. Villa Melina is a farm that is a self-sufficient place, where everything is connected, like Rudolf Steiner has written.
Steiner’s holistic approach maintains it’s possible to increase soil fertility, without the use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides.
These more sustainable and eco-based methods of farming are based on encouraging ecological harmony; keeping biodiversity alive; and paying attention to crop diversification and rotating fields.
Following Steiner’s ideas makes us atypical in the area. Neighbouring farmers think that we aren’t absorbed by our job, because we’ve left the weeds growing and we don’t use pesticides.
Our approach is philosophical. Unlike them, we’ve learned our agricultural techniques from books and online, which is definitely unconventional.
Since biodynamics strongly emphasizes the use of manures and composts, Raul has come up with his own compost. It’s made up of a layer of manure, in between two layers of ground and straw, and they’re topped by plants. This is what they use to maintain the soil alive at Villa Melina. In fact, it’s the only compost they use – organic.
Now, in Italy, people are beginning to care about the quality of what they eat.
We don’t use pesticides or fertilizers, only synergies already present in nature. Our main goal is to create a habitat that is good for everybody: plants, insects and animals.
We strive to create a perfect-balanced farm ecosystem, where everything serves as an profit to something else. For example, we make jams or soaps out of overabundant products.
Villa Melina’s environmental impact is therefore close to zero. They are aware of every scrap and they transform them into something else. Nothing natural gets wasted.
Wholesalers not only killed genuine agriculture, but they also created huge waste. It’s not true that there is not enough food for everybody.
The point is that there is no beautiful food for everybody. Luckily, people are becoming more aware of the quality of their food.
When we started, biodynamics was only known abroad.
Farming consciously can bring good results, as is the case of Villa Melina. It’s not true that only aggressive farming is successful, especially if we go beyond economic aims and take into account things like soil fertility; plant and animal health; and product authenticity.
And, ultimately, the ethics and the quality of the farming work itself.
The change was drastic, but it definitely improved our lives.
We’re a family, and we finally get to spend the day together. My daughter knows me, and I get to help her with homework. As a couple, the passion for our mutual project and the challenges we’ve faced together have brought us even closer.
Villa Melina is a Consumeless Companion because its environmental impact is close to zero -thanks to the biodynamic approach.