With WWOOF I learned to
build and rebuild together
I arrived as a WWOOFer at Maurizios farm (Fattoria Gioia) 20 years ago, a bit by chance, trying to improve my Italian and to help on the farm. At the beginning life in the countryside seemed beautiful and romantic but not suitable for me, I loved traveling and going to the cinema in the city. Over time I learned to appreciate the silence, the seasons, the conviviality, the good food and so with Maurizio, who is now my husband, we have structured the activity of the farm with the production of goat cheese and honey for sale at local markets in addition to olive oil and meat for our own consumption. It was an immense joy to see our children Marta and Marco grow in this context as in olden times, sharing their daily life with the WWOOFers who brought us, along with their help, other ideas and other horizons. A beautiful story that could end here … but …
In recent years our balance has been put to the test by terrible calamities. In 2015, after a heavy snowfall, the road collapsed, it was the only access to the farm and we were left with no water for ourselves or for the animals. We were completely isolated, even from the rescue teams, but no public structure helped us to restore the road: for them, a small reality in an internal area like ours was only a cost and a burden. With a video that we circulated amongst friends, a solidarity campaign started to get the institutions to act. In the drama we became aware of our fragility and we promised ourselves not only to get out of the situation but to make this experience an opportunity for formation for all the farmers who, like us, live in fragile and isolated territories. Thanks to a Crowdfunding with Banca Etica and WWOOF Italy we organized a training course in naturalistic engineering aimed at the farming world and was an opportunity for everyone to learn how to prevent this kind of catastrophes and get out with their own strength.
Again in 2017 with snow, earthquake and landslide, we lived in isolation and a lot, a lot of FEAR, but also on this occasion we have confirmed the value and strength of networks such as WWOOF, GAS and other associations that have pulled us out of the mud, a little at a time. I learned to feel the closeness of those who, despite the physical distance, supported us because they believed in what we do. I learned that in our lost corner of Abruzzo, we are not alone.
Gracias, de còrazon Maria José