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What better time to learn about synergistic gardening than spring. Just when we all want to get outside and spend some time working the soil. Whether it's the hard, unyielding and maddening chunks of earth in a Tuscan olive grove or the black and crumbly material filling the terracotta pots on our balconies. 

Synergistic agriculture was invented by Emilia Hazelip, who integrated the theories of Japanese microbiologist Fukuoka Masanobu into her work. Agriturismo Le Pianore is organising a seminar with Mattia Pantaleoni, a member of the Italian Organisation of Permaculture and teacher at the Italian School of Synergistic Agriculture.

I love unkempt gardens. And whilst Italian Renaissance gardens are geometrical wonderlands, I'd rather stick to the marvels of Tuscan agriculture. At least the way it was in the good old times: a few olive trees, a vegetable garden in the midst and a couple of vines joining the fun. Whilst this isn't quite synergistic agriculture yet, it is never the less a way of farming based on similar principles. As in a forest, various plant types grow next to each other and enrich the common soil so as to make fertilisation redundant. 

With the wine industry becoming more and more potent the Tuscan landscape is changing. Modern times have changed the requests on agriculture. Without false romantisicm synergistic farming may provide a way back to a multicultural landscape. In any case there is no reason why a hobby gardener like me shouldn't give it a go. My gardening attempts have always looked madly chaotic. At last I'll be able to explain why.   

WHERE: Agriturismo Le Pianore, Monticello Amiata, Tuscany. 
WHEN: April 10 - 12, 2012. From 9am to 6pm. 
PRICE PER DAY: 30€ for the seminar, 20€ per day for food and a bed. 20 Euro?! That's exactly what I thought. So even if you're not into gardening, come anyway and enjoy the beautiful location and the fabulous food that is served at Le Pianore.
CONTACT: for more information get in touch with Elena Basile, the owner of Le Pianore.
Phone: +39 335 537 15 13

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