We here at Voyager have a passion for traditional agricultural practices and organic foods. (Don’t believe me? Check out our study abroad and alumni tour packages!) And so it is nice that we live in a place that, perhaps more out of necessity than sheer desire, still supports and practices these activities. It’s what I like to call Organic Levanto (and beyond).
Just imagine: the municipal school system here, from pre-school through middle school, serves meat in the cafeteria that comes from an amazing cooperative just over the ridge of the mountains here in the Val di Vara. Aside from the fact that the Val di Vara was the very first certified organic zone in all of Europe (!) , the cattle-growers cooperative, made up of more than 100 members, is about 90% organic and 100% free range. And these aren’t a bunch of hippies running around – these are real rancher types, minus the cowboy hats. They also practice zero-km.
Many of the best wine-makers in the region have also moved back to their origins in organic farming, a move that has brought much happiness to the Cinque Terre National Park, where many of them are located. The Park itself has adopted a policy of using only environmentally-friendly vehicles.
What can be made of all this? That smaller and safer and healthier is better? Well, not always and not necessarily. In most cases, it’s a battle just to break even. But it does mean that the hills of Levanto and the Cinque Terre and the Val di Vara are alive with people whose ideals are still intact, and who have known how to listen to the past to move into the future.