Possible utopia

Possible utopia


Text by: Tiziana Colluto


Category: Social Innovation


Casa delle Agriculture is a collective composed by young farmers, artists and activists established in 2011 in Castiglione, a small village in the Puglia region, with the goals to revive abandoned lands, repopulate the countryside, generate solidarity-based economies, and strengthen the bonds of the community by building a new cultural and social model of living together based on natural agriculture.
The large group has organized multiple actions aimed at developing a cultural and social change in the community, suggesting ways to reclaim the land, to work it respectfully, envisioning a different approach to the territory, one that can suggest beauty, memory and a different present. Casa delle Agriculture has started a participatory process of rethinking rural traditions and development, through social and economic solidarity.
The organization works on a daily basis to create a collaborative and holistic model for the development of local communities, involving citizens, farmers, migrants, artists, activists, researchers in reflections and actions. Many actions have been conducted to regenerate abused and abandoned areas (public and loaned for use), to select and reproduce native crops (cereals, vegetables, beans), to experiment with the cultivation of hemp and a sense of common good.
Many meetings are organized annually including: " Notte Verde - agriculture, utopie e comunità ", essential appointment for all those who are interested in natural farming practices and sustainable development of the territory and which the last year hosted 30.000 guests; "Who Sows Utopia Harvests Reality" a collective sowing of ancient grains: several times a year, from the youngest to the oldest, a wide group of people participates to the collective sowing of autochthon varieties of cereals and beans; "The Spring of Hemp" a collective sowing of hemp grown for supply, fabrics and bio-construction.
In 2018 has started the experience of the Cooperative with the opening of a Community Mill following other important social infrastructures we've been built in the village like the Nursery Garden of Biodiversity, the Common Owen, Parco comune dei frutti minori, The Animal Factory.
Scuola di Agriculture (School of Agricultures) is a pedagogical platform that combines agro-ecological learning with artistic strategies of theater, philosophy, and builds upon the participatory and communing dynamics of the community of farmers and activists who formed the cooperative Casa delle Agriculture (House of Agricultures). In a region brutally affected by industrialized agriculture, the Scuola connects to the cooperative's work of recovering and revitalizing abandoned land, generating solidarity-based economies, and strengthening community. In collaboration with migrant and asylum-seeker associations, local elementary and secondary schools, agricultural institutes, and associations for the elderly, the Scuola is an experiment in social solidarity.
Collective autonomous actions have been carried to clean and revitalize public and private lands, by removing tons of waste, including toxic waste (mainly asbestos), and planting many varieties of local fruit trees and transforming abandoned public lands into precious gifts for the community which has actively participated into the creation of the Parco Comune dei Frutti Minori "common orchard".
The first symbolic act of creation of the Parco Comune was done in 2013 in collaboration with Free Home University an artistic and educational project that aims to generate new ways of sharing knowledge. A large group of artists, activists, thinkers, from all over the world lived in the village for two weeks generating precious moments of common living, working, acting and thinking together, an initiative that radically changed the dynamics of the village.
These initiatives have become emblematic in the area, where other communities have organized similar actions and a network of activists and conscious organic farmers have started to gather efforts and hopes. A small town of 1,000 souls proposes itself as a workshop for transformation, reaction and rethinking the social. The need to not succumb to an already written future, to give another chance to the earth, has triggered a process that, from Castiglione is affecting the surrounding area.