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Antonio, an Organic Farmer & Owner of Azienda Agricola Grimaldi –

September 9, 2012

As I started meeting members of the Siquillyah Association, organic farmers, B & B owners, artisans, to share their stories with my readers, my first meeting took place with Antonio Grimaldi at his farm, Azienda Agricola Grimaldi, located in C.da Cuba, Misterbianco, Catania.

I met Antonio Grimaldi at his property in the Misterbianco area as he hosted the weekly Farmers’ Market, as he does each Saturday morning.  We sat in his garden across from his country home on a sunny summer day.

Antonio owns 36 hectares of land, which encompass olive groves, orchards, a vineyard and, as of this year, he has started growing vegetables.  As Antonio explained, the agricultural world in Sicily is experiencing tough times; farmers can no longer provide only goods, but they need to provide services to their customers on top of the goods.  Offering organic produce falls under the services category, he stated, and then there are all the many products derived from the primary goods that farmers can produce.

Vineyard

Olive Grove

Prickly Pears

This particular farm has many areas which have been left uncultivated in order to allow nature to take its own course, offering biodiversity and attracting birds and animals.  Antonio’s father purchased the land over 60 years ago and, at that time, there were no streets around it but only paths for the carriages.  Getting to his land in those years from the city, Catania, was truly an adventure.  Today, unfortunately, the roads leading to this property are packed with traffic.

Antonio’s farm not only provides services to the local communities, but it also carries out a social role as it offers support to local youth.  The farm offers local autistic youth the opportunity to practice farming on the premises, in fact, one autistic kid recently worked on the farm for eight months.  There is another group of young, from the Librino neighborhood, a tough neighborhood made up of high-rises on the outskirts of the city, who through an association have had the opportunity to practice farming on this land. 

Finally, Antonio  stated that even though he doesn’t have a B & B  on his property, he is hospitable and welcomes visitors who may like to drop by and have a chat with him.

From → I Siquillyahni

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