Having the courage to go slow: an interview with organic farmer Giordano
There are times in life when you realize you’ve got it all backwards. And that’s when a sudden change of perspective, no matter how small, could lead to big shifts in your life.
This is exactly what happened to Giordano, who realized that what everyone told him to do was the opposite of what he wanted. He hit pause on his life and decided to go against the grain. He didn’t consider himself a hero, just a man learning to embrace his desires, rather than leaving them behind.
That’s when he decided to start a new life, running an organic farm in Tuscany.
I went to see him on a Saturday morning. It had been raining for days and I was looking forward to Spring, brimming with anticipation and eagerness for the new season to arrive.
As I sat down with Giordano at his organic farmhouse in Tuscany, surrounded by nature and under the warm May sun, I could see why anyone would want to trade city life for the countryside.
Running a farm is not easy, however. Giordano was eager to tell me just that, as he showed me around his beautiful hideaway, where he grows classic Tuscan vegetables and produces excellent olive oil.
Farmers have numerous difficulties to overcome. Today’s economy is not welcoming to small, organic smallholdings. And whilst in ages past back-breaking work was the farmers’ main struggle, nowadays it’s also having to manage social media in order to sell. Navigating digital marketing, at the end of a hard day, is just one of the hundred things farmers have to take care of today to make ends meet. It’s all worth it, though, when you can see the sales coming directly from your social media posts or read the messages people send you.
As he explained his daily struggles, I couldn’t help but ask him why he chose to become a farmer after all. “I didn’t have the courage to toil away in a factory or in an office all my life.” he revealed. “I tried, really tried, but to cope with that routine I drank my life away, I also smoked – I was trying to numb my pain. I then realized that I wanted to live to the fullest, without having to rely on heavy drinking and smoking”.
Courage evidently became a leitmotiv, as our conversation continued. “It takes courage to start farming. It may sound cliché, but it’s true. Especially because everyone tells you not to do it, so you take a leap of faith. You might say you need a bit of craziness too! But when you go after the things you want, you realize you’ve been living backwards your entire life and everything starts falling into place”.
His approach to farming stems from this cathartic experience. At his organic farm in Tuscany, everything is synced to the natural process of nature and Giordano pays attention to the soil especially. Something seldom taken for granted, it is instead of the utmost importance for Giordano, who follows agronomic techniques to increase fertility. However, most of the work is done when he is not there, when the thousands of microorganisms make the soil fertile again.
“It’s what we humans should do too, renew the fertility of the place where we live, not usurp it, not hurt it. We should follow the cyclical course of nature, not the straight lines we manufactured, lines along which we take everything we can and not think about the consequences” Giordano tells me.
Talking to him I pondered on how the desire for instant gratification is almost ingrained in our culture. We want things and we want them now. From fast food to high-speed Internet, and on-demand everything, we don’t want to have to wait for things. But is it actually good for us?
That’s why Giordano encourages visitors to go barefoot and leave mobile phones behind. He recommends wandering alone, without talking to others and to take some time for oneself, alone in nature. Five minutes listening to the silence of nature, barefoot in a garden, leave people refreshed and often changed, for the better.
Need some more of this in your life? Treat yourself to an inspiring holiday to Italy with us and a day trip to Giordano’s. Choosing to be present is often a luxury in today’s fast-paced world, but it needn’t be.
Contact us directly to book your visit to Giordano’s organic farmhouse and to arrange more experiences during your Italian vacation as well.