History of the Farm

History of La Fattoria dell’Autosufficienza

December 23rd, 2008

On December 23rd, 2008 La Fattoria dell'Autosufficienza was founded by the Rosso family, owners of  Macrolibrarsi.

February 11th, 2008

La Fattoria dell’Autosufficienza purchases 70 hectares of fields, the old stables and the ruins of Podere Caselle, in the locality of Paganico, near Bagno di Romagna.
No one has lived in this place for 40 years, there is no accessible building, except for an old stable with a roof in fibre cement that will be used immediately as storage and tool shed.

2009

  • Since the beginning it’s an uphill climb. The Province of Forlì-Cesena denies the possibility of access to the funds for first settlement, so we lose the chance to get a loan for improving the farm because the priority for the Province is the development of beef cow breeding, a sector not of our interest.
  • Francesco ends the Permaculture Design Course and joins the Italian Permaculture Academy
  • The first project in permaculture is carried out thanks to the designer John Button. The project will then be built only partially.
  • We clean up the Farm’s centre which was covered by invasive plants; we recover routes and access roads; we remove plastic, iron and other waste.
  • We focus on observing the place and learning

2010

  • We start cooperating with Elena Parmiggiani, teacher of permaculture and synergistic agriculture
  • Jerry starts working with us. He will become the Farm’s watchman.
  • Under the supervision of the expert in Eco-friendly agriculture Sergio Abram, we plant the first orchard, with 40 different varieties of apples and 20 ancient varieties of pears. The orchard is surrounded by an electric fence, hedges and artificial nests in order to attract birds.
  • We purchase the first machines and farming tools, among which a tractor, a quad, a yeomans plow, an excavator, a shredder, etc.
  • We dig and seed swales and small lakes under the supervision of the permaculture designer John Button.

2011

  • The website autosufficienza.com goes online
  • We plant new fruit trees in the swales created in 2010
  • We dispose of the roof in fibre cement of a ruined stable.
  • We build a compost toilet and we buy and install a yurt, which is self-sufficient thanks to a solar panel and a small wind turbine
  • We purchase and install temporary wooden houses and gazebos used as kitchen, bathrooms (with constructed wetlands) and open-door lunch/recreational area.
  • We build the first temporary hydraulic and electric systems
  • We organize the first “Open Day” of the Farm, with presentation of the project
  • We launch the first courses on Agriculture and Eco-Friendly Breeding, Synergistic Agriculture, Permaculture and we organize a trip to Austria to visit Sepp Holzer, my personal hero
  • We fence almost 3 hectares of land around the Farm’s centre, so it’s not accessible to hunts anymore
  • We build the first dry-stone walls
  • We bury 2 Km of electric and telephone cables which have a bad environmental impact
  • An unexpected wind storm takes the roof off a wooden house that will then be relocated in a different place.

2012

  • An unexpected snow storm breaks down the roof in fibre cement of the stable we use as storage
  • We build dry-stone walls, fences and pathways
  • We create a small lake next to the Farm’s centre (now covered by water lilies) and a small lake for the geese.
  • We renovate the cellar in order to store food and seeds
  • We create a synergistic garden at the kindergarten of San Piero in Bagno
  • We insulate with hemp the small wooden house we use as temporary kitchen and we install strips of LEDs for lighting it
  • We build a walrus-shaped oven made of cob and a small canopy for it

2013

  • We join the Italian Wwoofing Association and start cooperating with the first Wwoofers
  • We start cooperating with Andrea Iacopinelli for the management of the vegetable gardens
  • We build terraces and dry-stone walls
  • Jude and Michel Fanton, authors of "Seed Savers' Handbook”, come to visit the farm
  • We plant our first experiment of “Food Forest”
  • We hand-harvest an ancient wheat variety called "Gentil Rosso"
  • We construct the new rural aqueduct plant of Paganico and a new water storage and distribution plant for agricultural use
  • At 17 years of age Lilla, the Maremma sheepdog of the Farm, dies, so we get Bill and Sepp, two young Maremma sheepdogs
  • A route of the Farm is destroyed by a landslide, so we have to find the water spring that creates hydrogeological instability and build a canal system that drains water away
  • We plant trees in a landslide area

2014

  • We graft apple, pear and wild cherry trees
  • We build a greenhouse to be used as seedbed.
  • The renovation of the ruined stone house starts
  • Internet connection arrives at the Farm
  • We build terraces in multiple areas of the Farm
  • We start producing vegetables for the Macrolibrarsi store
  • We begin to produce aromatic herbs
  • First harvest of ancient grains and spelt
  • We create an experimental garden on raised beds
  • Goats arrive at the Farm in addition to cats, dogs, rabbits, hens, turkeys, pigs, peacocks and doves
  • We plant the first official Food Forest

2015

  • We produce the first packaged products of the Farm: flour, pasta, barley and lentils
  • We host the first 3 interns from the University of Agriculture
  • Two white doves arrive spontaneously and settle in the Farm
  • We have an abundant production of potatoes, tomatoes, pumpkins, zucchini, salads, beets, onions, turnips, garlic, green beans, beans, leeks, chicory, celery, etc.
  • We harvest naked barley, dressed barley and lentils for the first time
  • We begin our cooperation with the architectural firm Filo di Paglia
  • The external works for the renovation of the ruined stone house are finished

2016

  • Emile and Elisa arrive at the Farm as workers for 2016
  • We launch the new website of the Farm in Italian and English
  • The renovation works on the ruined stone house ends and we arrange better its external areas
  • A presentation of the renovation project is held at the Farm
  • We start the first biointensive garden of the Farm
  • We organise the first courses on self-production and self-sufficiency
  • Peter Wohlleben holds a seminar at the Farm
  • Sepp Holzer spends a week at the Farm as consultant and teacher of a course open to the public
  • We build terraces with Sepp Holzer

2017

  • There’s the first grand opening of the Farm
  • We start a mixed cultivation of vegetables, fruit plants, berries and aromatic herbs on the terraces
  • We do the first renovation works on the shed
  • We focus on green architecture and we plant many flowers
  • We open a store at the Farm
  • We build the new gate and entrance
  • We install a new ventilation system for the cellar
  • We build a new aqueduct
  • We create a new carpark for buses and a dry-stone wall
  • We construct a new fence using chestnut wood
  • We do the first trials of serving food for ceremonies and company meetings.
  • We build a canopy with a roof of wooden shingles
  • We get 35 beehives
  • We fertilise the crop fields with volcanic rocks and organic manure
  • We plant many new fruit trees
  • We plant a mix of 10 ancient grains
  • Ivano starts working as farmer and Franca as chef

This year will also be remembered for the serious damage caused by summer drought, strong wind in autumn and prolonged frost in winter.

2018

  • We plant the first experimental vineyard on the terraces with 150 plants, among which Ciliegiuolo, Merlot and Chardonny
  • Andrea starts working as farmer, while Simona, Giulia and Anita in the agritourism
  • We build a new platform for the yurt
  • We renovate the shed creating different spaces within it: workshop, storage, greenhouse, and multi-functional spaces. Finally, the Farm is free of fibre cement.
  • We try to grow hemp for seed/oil production
  • We start producing essential oils, aromatic waters and honey
  • We introduce small sheep (Skudde) at the Farm
  • We build a big a chicken coop for hens
  • We build a new cob oven
  • We construct new ponds
  • We start serving food every weekend during summer

Unfortunately, this year will also be remembered for the passing of Ivana (our mother), Sepp (one of the two Maremma sheepdogs) and Luciano (bricklayer and artist who often worked at the Farm in 2014).

What we expect for the future

2019

  • Opening of the camping and the octagonal building for yoga and meditation

2022

  • Creation of a new underground warehouse and storage with low environmental impact
  • Self-sufficiency from the energy point of view

2025

  • End of the project of replacing the 1,400 square meters of stables demolished with an Earthship building and hobbit-houses
  • End of the construction of terraces, water retention basins, water management systems, fences, access routes, routes, etc. in the 20 hectares of land adjacent to the business centre.

2028

  • Development of the eco-village and of the higher part of the Farm’s fields.

2050

  • La Fattoria dell’Autosufficienza becomes a World Heritage Site and a model of lifestyle and community for everyone