On Tuesday April 18, students from the UCSC International Curriculum course, “Green is the new black”: asset and appeal of the value “Environment” in global business communication course went to Cascine Orsine to learn about Biodynamic farming and how they can promote it.
Biodynamics is a holistic and ethical way to approach farming, a way of really treating the Earth's environmental capital as a living organism, not only in method but out of respect for animals and plants.
To really understand it, students looked at the impressive amount of space for cattle to graze, the organic soil that nurtures the plants and the products that are produced on the farm itself.
The place works as a "biological unit," according to the farm's website, and students cultivated an understanding of how the farm's contents function like a symphony: the way each element, combined with the elements, creates delicious and eco-friendly products.
First, the students roamed around the farm's store. The shelves were filled with impressive products: homemade cheeses, organic wines, rices and other products that all one-up (or maybe multiple-up, considering this is biodynamic and not just organic), what you would see in your local market.
The farm even had its own restaurant, and for just € 10, students were able to taste some local foods. One that stood out was a ricotta cheese that was so light and decadent I was initially not sure what I was eating (realize, as an American, products from home are neither this fresh nor sustainable).
After lunch, we went for a walking tour of the farm.
We saw cows just about ready to give birth, their offspring in individual pens (so dairy cows can return to the herd), organic soil that's tucked away in a cellar and chickens clucking around an open space: a very, very big space that's so different from the saturated, cluttered pens usual of farms around the world.
Students are required to document their experiences at the farm and turn it into a video, a presentation of the benefits of Biodynamic farming that will be shown to a group of panelists.
What an opportunity for the students of Università Cattolica to learn about sustainable practices, and to practice communicating their ideas effectively. This, along with others to come, is what makes the UCSC International Curriculum one-of-a-kind.