As part of saying our goodbyes to the open enrollment students, the Volterra Detroit Foundation treated us to a fantastic, all organic lunch at Lischeto Farm. Approaching the farm, we drove through the art park where sculptures of Tuscan Artists dominated the landscape. As we exited the van and gathered in the front, Giulia our Italian and culture professor provided an informative overview of the farm. Cheese and wool are the major elements of Leschao Farm but they are also known for creating innovative insulations for construction purposes. Giulia then lead us through the farm to the back side where we would enjoy a farm to table lunch. During lunch, we had the pleasure of speaking to the boss man himself, Giovanni. He enlightened us on the inner workings of his farm as well as the pressing environmental factors that are being ignored. Lischeto is a true, natural/organic farm all the ingredients in their meals are grown right on the farm. The farm was built in the 1800’s but since then it has been restored to the original architecture using all organic materials. Giovanni is passionate about nature and chooses to build with organic materials so that his farm would blend with the environment, creating a holistic atmosphere whether you’re inside or out. Giovanni also shared with us how important the conservation of water is for the Italian people and how climate change has impacted Italy’s water. Leschaco farms collects rainwater to be used throughout the farm. After the meal Giovanni offered us a tour of his farm so we could have a full understanding of how the farm works in a day to day. We started with touring the cheese cultivations, Giovanni showed us the different ways that cheese is cleaned, and one method was hand washing the cheese, which is the more healthy/organic technique. Or using chemicals to clean the cheese which overall make the cheese look cleaner but Giovanni warned us that this method was unhealthy for the consumer because those chemicals that are used to clean often become absorbed in the cheese. Lastly we saw the sheep. Giovanni shared with us how important his sheep were to him and that’s why he goes out of his way to hire the best sheep shavers to come to his farm and harvest the sheep’s wool. Giovanni says that the sheep shavers are so good that the sheep enjoy being shaved. He says that he personally jokes with the sheep about losing their wool. At Leschaco Farm they live by the motto: If you live close to nature, then nature will take care of you but if you betray nature, nature will betray you.
Click here to visit the Volterra-Detroit Foundation web page to learn more about the facility and the programs at the Volterra International Residential College A view from the top floor student rooms towards the center of Volterra.