On Thursday, students in Umbra’s STFS 330: Sustainability and Food Production in Italy, a Food and Sustainability Studies core course, went on their first visit to a local orto sinergico, or synergistic garden. Students were treated to a warm welcome by David Pollini, the project’s founder and driving force. David began his career as a social worker, an experience that inspired him to create a calming and therapeutic outdoor space for the outpatients in his care.
Throughout the semester, under David’s guidance, students will tend to the orto alongside regular therapy clients. They will help prepare the soil for new crops, plant a variety of flowers, vegetables, and herbs, and eventually harvest the yield.
One thing they won’t do? Treat the garden with fertilizers or pesticides! Synergistic gardens are comprised of a variety of plants and flowers that both control and protect one another in a sustainable farming method that preserves the land’s integrity. Students in the course will have the opportunity to practice such techniques, as well as experience the garden’s ability to be both therapeutic and nourishing for the body and soul. In the wise words of David, “Each plant has its place.”
For more information about Umbra’s Food and Sustainability Studies Program, click here.