18 thoughts on “June 3rd, 2018”

  1. Visiting Castel Campo today was definitely the highlight of the trip for me so far. I knew this course would be focused on sustainability, and that we would meet amazing people with different ideas on what this means to them and how they implement it, but meeting Marina and Ollie today exceeded my expectations. Not only were they incredibly welcoming, but their ideas on farming were so interesting to learn about first-hand. It was really moving how involved and passionate Marina was about her work, and how easily she could stand in front of us and share her methods that promote biodiversity, sustainability, and natural growth in general. She mentioned how important it is for us to think differently and get over our superiority complex, because too often we are caught up in the fact that we are the “dominant” species and must control nature to the point we don’t often appreciate it, when we truly depend on it for everything. Seeing her way of life honestly made me jealous; Western culture promotes such different views of the world, and listening to such a selfless woman go on about the importance of protecting the Earth was inspiring.
    I have to admit I didn’t want to leave the castle, but our visit at the museum today was also very eye-opening. It was interesting to learn so much about the ways in which an entire culture could be preserved for thousands of years, and how much new information can be uncovered with its discovery. I had no idea that people built houses on posts that far back in time, for the important reason of saving the land for agriculture. I also thoroughly enjoyed how much effort went into the museum; the displays were provoking and interactive, and I felt like I got a true grasp of the factors that go into both the making and discovering of an era. I especially liked the display that showed the jewelry from that time; their beads, combs, rings, etc., do not look much different from ones we see and use today, and it really puts into perspective how advanced past civilizations truly were and just how important preservation is.

  2. 6-3-18
    Today we went for our first hike, as we walked to the nearby castle. This castle also happened to house Ms. Rasini, a farmer passionate about the Earth and maintaining balance with nature. She uses farming techniques that are as sustainable as she can be, going so far as to avoid using any fertilizer or even tilling the earth upon which she plants her crops. Furthermore she does not clear the natural vegetation, but rather allows her crops to grow alongside them. She believes that we have grown too far from our roots, and no longer see the beauty in farming. She thinks that many of the new-age farmers who use more modern methods are backwards for the amount of food wasted for the sake of higher yields. She showed us a home that had been built by farmers many generations ago, and how it had evolved and grew larger. She talked about the loss of community amidst the changes of the world, namely the television. These are all important aspects of life that she is attempting to reclaim from her castle/farm combination.

  3. Visting Castel Campo was such an amazing experience! As I mentioned in my intro blog- over my summers I work on a small semi-sustainable farm, so to hear Marina Rasini’s different farming techniques that she used was very interesting. I really liked how she keeps the long plants in the fields to trap the humidity and prevent the soil from burning. Her approach to agriculture is so different, she mentioned how when creating life (planting) it’s important to follow the same rules as nature and abide by nature’s rules. Meaning- no pesticides, chemicals, or fertilizer. And to protect animals from hunters she planted hedges leading from the woods and across the fields. Overall it was such an amazing experience, and I’m very excited to learn more about different and sustainable ways of farming.

  4. What a fun-filled and long day of activities we had today! We started early this morning by hiking over to castle campo. The castle has been owned by this most recently family for a few generations being handed down by the great grandfather and the lady moved into the castle about 12 years ago. It is now a sustainable farm, company place to organize events, and a non profit organization. The non profit is run by 2 of the 3 daughters and is for children with severe illnesses to come and do a summer camp type of program. Then we got to tour the farm that cultivates the fields in highly sustainable ways. For example, it is not tilled, irrigated, or fertilized and is let to grow in what it is. One quote that really stuck with me is she said she “tries to go along with nature’s rules” or at least imitate it. One of the coolest aspects of the farm was that they let alfalfa grow all over so that it fixates nitrogen from the air and puts it in the ground. It’s more natural and doesn’t kill animals in the ground and around it. The alfalfa has long roots, digging deep down moving the earth and keeps crops constantly covered and maintains the humidity there. Sustainability lies in the fact that they save the earth witch otherwise would be lost or have to be saved with fertilizer. They don’t give it any water becuase all layers of plants keep it wet, so it also saves water usage. They could do more but they explained that at what cost would it take to get a massive yield as other conventional farmers get. By farming this way they are helping the earth to stay healthy and let animals live in and around it. They also cut and sell a lot of the grasses that grow as hay for cattle in other areas to eat, but they make sure to not cut all of it at the same time because there are animals that live and depend on it so they don’t want to destroy completely their habitats. Another quote that really stuck with me was “we are a part of something not the owners simply to survive because if we think we are the only ones we are not going to survive”. From there we hiked further to Museo Palafitte Fiavé or the Fiavé Pile dwelling Museum. We got into our teams and got to tour the museum on our own to see the history of the different pile dwelling settlements from the Late Neolithic and Bronze Ages on the banks of lake Carera.

  5. Today was my favorite of the trip thus far. We walked up to this castle owned by the sweetest most down to earth woman named Marina. Her husband owned a castle, sadly he passed away 15 years ago so she came back to the castle to try to ease her sorrows and loneliness. My favorite part about the castle were the completely sustainable crops that Marina mended to. The practices that she uses I once read about in a previous Environmental Studies class, but I didn’t think they were actually put into current agriculture practices. Marina uses alfalfa to help fertilize the plants by bringing nitrogen naturally into the soil, she also doesn’t use any herbicides or pesticides. She does not till her soil, she keeps it the way that it came in order to prevent ruining the top soil. There is no irrigation system for her crops, instead there are multiple crops in one area and no naked land, the humidity that is kept in gives the plants enough water. Her ideals and outlook on the land is what really inspired me. Marina continued to emphasis that we should not alter the land because it was her before us. She also helps the animals as well, she set up these bushes so that the animals could hide in them through the property. The amount of compassion she had for every aspect of nature really inspired me and reminded me why I chose the major that I did.

  6. Normally I wouldn’t think kinesiology and environmental science are in any way related. Today, however, proved me wrong. One of the main reasons the Castel Campo is sustainable is because they follow nature’s rules. They imitate nature by observing what it does and how it reacts in various scenarios, and then they apply their knowledge. This process is similar to what a physical therapist does when examining a patient. A physical therapist will observe a patient’s walk to figure out what’s “natural” for him or her, and then will make recommendations based on their observations. If he or she is what I consider to be a good physical therapist, they will also give exercises that the patient can easily do at home without the need for machines, providing ways for the body to heal in a more natural way. This decrease in the need to buy specific equipment to make you feel better will also reduce the amount of trash going into landfills since there will be less “stuff” being bought and eventually thrown away. In the end, I guess kinesiology and environmental science have more in common than I thought.

  7. Today was a really great lesson on how less can sometimes be more. While visiting Castle Campo we spoke to the owner in which she stated that they practiced a sustainable method of farming all with minimal work. She told of how other local farmers have to disperse numerous pesticides, have irrigation systems, and constantly have to rid the crop being grown of other unwanted plants and use heavy machinery that impacts the soil. On the other-hand, at the Castle Campo she says she doesn’t do any of those things, all they do is plant and wait to harvest at the end of the season with a small weight tractor. She says at the end of it all she gets in return just as much as the other farmers and spends less time and energy on the fields. By imitating nature, she is able to enjoy the yield of her field and also run other business on her farm. It is important to understand that the relationship we have with the land as it can often be very fruitful with minimal work, as long as we treat the land with respect and not try to master nature in a greedy and “short term” way. We have to manage the land in a way in which we can resources for the future generations. This was a prevalent topic in which we saw when it came to the Palafitte piles. The people within the region appear to may have disappeared due to the collapse of the bronze era. Without a sustainable supply of resources, humans cannot expect to have an endless amount of future generations flourish on the planet.

  8. Today we hiked a total of 10 miles. Wow. Although it was very exhausting at times, it was well worth it. First we went to Castle Campo where we were able to experience the operations, struggles, and ethics behind sustainable farming. The lady behind the farm was named Marina and man was it amazing to hear the passion in her voice when she talked about her farm and how she conducts everything. I have never been to or heard of a farm that big that has no irrigation and doesn’t use artificial pesticides or fertilizers but still produces a significant amount of crop every year. The family also blessed us with an incredible lunch and the daughter, Sophie, let us hold her adorable baby girl, Leah.
    The next location we hiked up to was a museum in Fiave that exhibited Pile Dwellings from thousands of years ago. Although I would have to say that seeing the castle was my favorite part of the day, I was awesome to see how people in the past would conduct their community. It was also amazing to see all of the relics left behind and how well they were preserved. I really enjoyed the set up of that museum as well. I thought that it was a good day and I learned A LOT.

  9. What I enjoyed most about today was visiting Castel Campo and learning all about the sustainable farming there. Marina doesn’t fertilize, irrigate, use pesticides, or till the farm area. Her method of farming is so simple and yet has such a large impact on the environment, animals, and crops. Because she does not use pesticides, the air is clean and no chemicals get into the river. Marina conserves water by not watering the plants and just letting them be. This is possible because the alfalfa flowers grow tall and close together so they block the crops from the sunlight and keep the humidity inside the soil. She also communicates and compromises with her neighbors in order to make sure that they are mindful of her sustainable method and don’t let their chemicals run down to her soil. I think this is very important because it shows that sustainable farming is not something you can achieve alone, you have to work with others to keep your farm pure and natural. The other thing I found amazing about this farm and Marina was that she originally did it to help the animals that were around the castle. She plants hedges to help them find refuge in the open field to hide from predators and she keeps that water chemical free for their drinking purposes. She also mentioned that she cuts the grass periodically because she knows many small animals take refuge their and she doesn’t want to leave them without a place to hide. Today was definitely eye opening because I didn’t know much about sustainable farming before today and after hearing how she is doing all these amazing things, I was really inspired to learn more!

  10. Today, we embarked on our first hike in Trentino and set out to Castel Campo and then onto the Fiave Pile Dwellings museum. The sustainable farm on Castel Campo was by far the highlight of my day and the discussion provided not only valuable information on the farm’s personal practices but an overview of the practices farms across the world should be utilizing in order to create a world with ecological longevity. The fact that the soil at Castel Campo is not tilled, irrigated, sprayed with pesticides, or given nitrogen supplements and is still producing favorable yields for the size of the farm proves that all one must do in order to keep a farm producing is listen to the land and let it run it’s course. Something that Ms. Marina said during her discussion of the farm’s practices that really stuck with me was “conservative agriculture is about trying to conserve and preserve the Earth” and how as humans we need to recognize that we are apart of something bigger than ourselves, so the ideology that we are the masters of the environment shouldn’t be a value we live by. It shouldn’t be about trying to produce the biggest yields possible because at what cost does that really come with? Through utilizing natural methods of keeping the soil moist and nitrogen rich (such as alfalfa) the soil remains untouched and is at it’s most optimal point to grow crops. Another part of the Marina’s discussion I found striking was when she spoke of aesthetic and the importance of that within agriculture. Before this, I never really thought aesthetic had anything to do with farming and, when she said this, my first thought was “what?”. But, as I listened to her speak of the concept, she described that if what you work on looks nice, you’re proud of it and you want it to yield the best product possible because you feel as if you’ve put endless work into the product so why shouldn’t it be perfect? Along with this she illustrated that the presence of animals was essential in the overall microsystem that is the farm, and if the land is aesthetically pleasing and functional simultaneously, animals are likely to resurface within it. As we left Castel Campo, I couldn’t help but wonder why all other farms didn’t share in the perspective of Marina and why money continues to be the driving force behind agriculture even though we are dealing with an Earth that is in need of some TLC.

    After the Castel Campo excursion was over, we trudged up the hill into the village of Fiave to the Pile Dwellings museum. Although the Castel was my favorite part of the day, the museum was still extremely interesting to look through and do some research in. The question my group and I were assigned wanted us to explore the type of technology that was utilized within the dwellings. What I found most interesting within this topic was that the inhabitants of these dwellings were able to create kilns in order to fire pottery during the Neolithic and Bronze age. I never thought that the concept of kilns would date back that far into the human race and it really demonstrated to me how quickly humans as a group progressed through the test of time. The Pile Dwellings demonstrated to me the disconnection to the environment we now have as a race. For a group of people to be able to build homes on piles on the shore of a lake and create everything they need to survive (and then some) from what was readily available from the surrounding environment is astounding to me considering most people in today’s culture don’t know how use a sewing needle without looking at a YouTube video.

    Overall, the day was pretty interesting and I experienced new things that I will carry with me for the rest of my life (even though my feet are killing me and I walked 10 miles today!).

  11. Today we had the pleasure of visiting Castel Campo which a sustainable farm but also a residence to Ms. Marina Rasini. She had a very interesting and special view on the way agriculture should be approached. We learned about how she uses alfalfa flower which obtains nitrogen naturally from the surrounding environment unlike fertilizer which is just putting nitrogen directly in the ground which leads to potential death of the animals that live the ground. Due to all the layers of the flowers it keeps the humidity in and then keeps the soil wet which is good for agriculture. The flower is not full of pesticides which is obviously a good thing because the pesticides do not go into the water keeping the water pure and natural. Personally, I think that Marina’s idea of the environment is beautiful. She started off her lecture by saying that we are not the masters of life and that we are apart of something much larger meaning nature and that we need to be grateful and learn from the way nature survives and not try to change it. It was a very eyeopening experience and I am happy that I got the opportunity to learn about a different view on agriculture.

  12. We started our day out with a trek up to visit Castel Campo, where we had the great opportunity to tour the farm on the property and the castle itself by the owner. The castle is a great example of land that has been transformed to incorporate organic farming techniques in an attempt to restore the land to its original appearance while also still farming using sustainable techniques. When talking about organic farms, this means that the use of pesticides and other chemicals is not used in the production process, but this differs from sustainable farming, which is when production techniques are used that protect the environment, as well as the animals who live around it. One of the most interesting things I took away from the farm at Castel Campo was their integration of a hedge of larger plants between their fields, which acts as a sort of passageway to help local animals move across the farm with more cover, as well as act barrier to keep animals such as cows grazing in a field in one place, which is more aesthetically pleasing than a fence would be. The farm also has natural rivers on both sides of it, which helps to naturally irrigate the land naturally, as opposed to implementing man made irrigation systems. The benefits we learned of the sustainable farming practices were pretty amazing, especially when looking at the cost savings the farm incurs as a result. For example, they save money on fuel because they do not use a lot of heavy machinery, pesticides, and chemicals. Another technique they used was planting multiple crops around each other, which were suitable to grow in harmony. In doing this, the ground cover of the farmland was almost completely covered in some areas, which helps retain the humidity and moisture within the soil leading to ever more costs savings due to the lack of need for constant watering. Due to these practices, the plants “work” the earth itself naturally, which helps keep the soil clean, and also create a better product subsequently. It was apparent that the owner was speaking from the heart when discussing the importance of sustainable farming on her property, and it made it evermore interesting to listen to her tour. She believes in trying to imitate nature as best as we can when farming, and that this will help to preserve the fertility of the earth, and her beliefs are apparent in her farm. Castel Campo sets a great example to what could be a positive change for surrounding farms if they were to implement sustainable farming practices on their farms as well, which would have positive influences on the environment as well.
    After lunch, we headed to the small town of Fiave, where we got to walk through the pile-dwelling museum, which showcased the way of life for one of the earliest agrarian societies in the Alps. They used large tree branches to build their homes over the water, and for their time, used some pretty innovative technology to live and survive in the alpine region. The homes were built over the water to protect from changing water levels, which I think is one of the earliest examples of homes integrated to the be sustainable within the surrounding environment in the alpine region.

  13. My favorite aspect of today was visiting Castle Campo. I was surprised to learn about both the history and current use of the castle. Because the farm is in a valley that was formerly under water, the soil in the valley is very rocky, and often the village areas of the valley are not exposed to sunlight during the winter months. However, despite this adversity, Castle Campo has been an operational farm in some sort since around 1300. Today, Castle Campo serves as a non-profit organization, hosting summer camps for children with severe illnesses. Additionally, the Castle participates in sustainable cultivation through both their produce and business. Luckily, because the farm is in the valley, the produce is safe from pesticide contamination. The Castle also participates in no till, no pesticide, and sustainable farming practices. Instead of using fertilizer, the farmers plant alphalpha beans, gaining nitrogen, instead of most farms that utilize cow dung to assist with fertilization, saving money on fertilizer. The Castle also uses minimal machinery, this conserving fuel. The Castle creates additional income by selling excess hay to the local cattle owners. The family whom owns the Castle is able to successfully operate an 18 hectare farm, without irrigation, by dividing the labor among the neighboring farms. Personally, I love seeing plants and flowers, and one of my favorite parts of the day was learning about the elder flower- a flowering plant with an umbel like influourescence, a representative of the adoxaceae family. In conclusion, I was left with the idea that we are part of something bigger, and humans are only one aspect of the world, ultimately changing the way I view different parts of my life.

  14. Today’s visit to Castle Campo was not only insteresting but inspiring. Marina is someone that I will look up to for the years to come. Let me tell you why. First Marina cultivated a farm; an 18 hectre organic farm none the less, with little to no help from anyone else. A farm that is organic has a few factors that I’ll explain now. It is free of chemical sprays, there is no irrigation and no fertilizer. I even believe she takes it a step further by making sure that there isn’t any work to be done on the farm besides harvesting and seeding as well as conserving to the max by using no fuel or water in the process. Marina is clearly a very smart woman that knows that we humans are not supposed to add artificial product to our surrounding environments and showed us how she puts that knowledge to use. One of the most interesting ways I believe she does that is by using the Alfalfa plant as a natural nitrogen fixation vessel instead of using fertilizer which is essentially cow dung. This was such a simple concept to me once she explained it and I’m dumbfounded as to why most farms haven’t adopted this process by now. I believe that since Alfalfa takes up land that could be used for the crops then it is seen as inefficient but I don’t agree with that logic as Marina reminded us that we we should not and can not manipulate our environment artificially without some concequence. I’m really grateful that I was able to gain her insight and I look forward to sharing this knowledge in the future!

  15. Today I had the once in a life time experience of being able to visit the Pile dwelling sites in the Trento region. These sites date back to the Neolithic era which can also be considered to be part of the bronze era. On the prehistoric sites, we could see the piles sticking out from the bottom of the lake. I was then told by our very helpful tour guide that these posts were in general about 5 to 6 meters deep in the lake bottom. It was jaw dropping to view how the old excavation areas are now filled with water and natural life because I had only seen photos of the area dried out in the museum. Before I visited the actual sites, I took a tour of the Pile Dwelling museum in the small town of Fiavé. This exhibit gave an in depth look at how the archeological and anthropological methodologies would be able to render how the area would have looked like around 4,000 years ago. The small scale replica of how the area would have been viewed definitely helped me grasp a better understanding of just how the people would have carried themselves from day to day. It amazes me to see how people over thousands of years have actually utilized the land in a semi-sustainable manner because the inhabitants would utilize all the arable farm land possible. In turn, they would set up homes in the mountainy hill sides and spend their times in the valleys growing crops. I saw fist hand how the ancient people of this Italian region used the land to sustain themselves and the Earth respectively.

  16. We started the day with a LONG hike. Not only am I being reminded of the beauty of natural nature, I’m also being reminded that I need to work out more… BOTH reminders are very humbling! Anyway, the destination of our first long trek was the Castel Campo sustainable farm. Mariana, the woman who owns the Castle property was SO inspiring. The way she cultivated the fields is highly sustainable. She started off her explanation of their practices by saying “we should try to go along with nature’s rule. Life was created by nature, not us. I try to observe, then apply!” Such a simple statement, yet, it’s so powerful and if more people truly lived by it, the world would be a different place. I don’t think that prior to this, I’d ever been to a field where the natural process of nature was truly the only thing sustaining the crops. Marina reminded me that “you don’t have to empty a field to grow your own.” With the way they are growing, they don’t use pesticides, waste fuel OR give the crops any water, they just allow for the natural flow nature. How awesome is that? Marina ended our tour of the field with a quote that’ll stick with me for a while. “We are part of something, we are not the owners, we are not masters of the world. If we keep thinking that we are the owners, we are not going to survive!” In addition to gaining a lot of knowledge while at the castle, I also gained a FRIEND! I know that this was not the point of the trip BUT my favorite part of visiting the castle was getting to snuggle with Baby Leah (Marina’s granddaughter)! Marina’s whole family was SO genuine, welcoming and intelligent. I never thought I’d get to say that I visited a castle and it immediately felt like home. I truly appreciate Marina’s family for such a great experience!

    Our visit to the dwellings museum, followed by the archeological park was a full circle learning experience. Going to the museum, learning about the history of the peoples and culture that previously inhabited and utilized the land, followed by getting to see the land was very rewarding. At the museum, we learned about pile dwellings. This term refers to the piles supporting the wooden decks on which dwellings were erected. They weren’t built over the water but rather the banks of the lake, this made the conservation of them easier due to the fact they weren’t fully submerged. While in the museum, my group was tasked with learning about the cultural and environmental factors that shaped the everyday life of the pile-dwelling inhabitants. Something that I thought was particularly interesting was that the traces left by cutting tools on animal bones make it possible to identify the way in which the animals were butchered, and the meat consumed along with the use of bone, teeth, and leather. Deer Antlers were used as combs!

    ONE more thing… As we were walking back from visiting the pile-dwelling site, I looked up and saw rays of sun shining through the clouds onto the mountains and fields. I think this was one of the most authentic and humbling sites ever. I could just feel the warmth of God radiating and felt so blessed to be on this trip, learning about the importance of the environment and sustainability. This quiet minute of reflection gave me time to make a promise to myself that I am going to make sure I live a life where I am always practicing things that help sustain the environment, not hurt it.

  17. I think that Castle Campo showcased a lot of concepts that environmental science and environmental studies students learn in the classroom. Both the Castle and the techniques used on the farm have been renovated to fit the current needs of the time. Marina recognized the importance of sustainable farming and the preservation of the Castle. The different approaches that Marina uses on her farm are particularly special because we are used to seeing or hearing about alternative companies integrating sustainable farming, but Marina is basing her work out of a very old and historic castle. This made me think about the integration of the new and the old. It is possible for these new techniques to be used in older companies, communities and many more areas of the economy itself. I also reflected on Elena’s point about the difference between nature and wilderness. As we stood in Marina’s farm and listened to her talk about her relationship to the landscape, I felt that her property was a representation of wilderness more so than nature. Since Marina is allowing her farm to grow more freely, the wilderness gets to remain “wild”.

  18. Today we walked 10 miles. Wow. Although it was extremely tiring, it was well worth it. Castle Campo was extremely enlightening. I had never been to a farm that big that didn’t have an irrigation system. The woman behind the farm, Marina, was extremely passionate about her farm and how she ran it. She took environmental ethics to a whole new level by not using any synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. All she uses is what the earth has given to her – naturally. We were able to look inside the castle and learn about the history behind it. I thought it was crazy that one of the towers was built in 1222, and it was still there. The lunch we had there was also delicious. Possible the best meal I have had thus far. After we were done at the castle, we hiked up to the museum in Fiave which exhibited Pile dwellings and the relics left behind from thousands of years ago. It was interesting to see how the people from that long ago used the land and surprisingly did not do a good job conserving it or appreciating it. I found this interesting because people always rant about how people from way back when appreciated the land. I also really liked how the museum itself was set up. It was very easy to follow and I learned a lot.

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