Organic agriculture is practiced at Spannocchia in order to realize a series of interconnected goals. Its use of natural products and methods of cultivation without chemical fertilizers or pesticides provides an effective lesson in sustainable management of the land itself, part of the fundamental educational mission of the estate. The organic route allows the appropriate use of traditional methods of agricultural which were, until recently, substantially organic, and this also provides important lessons in the historical practice of agriculture in Tuscany. Spannocchia’s “Noah’s Ark” project raises traditional local breeds of farm animals that have become threatened with extinction in recent decades: Cinta Senese pigs, Pomarancina sheep, Calvana cows, Monterufolino ponies, and Monte Amiata donkeys.
Forty acres of grains and legumes are cultivated for animal feed, along with wheat and farro for human consumption. Over 700 olive trees, extensive vegetable gardens, and five acres of vineyard also contribute to supplying the needs of feeding Spannocchia’s guests and program participants, as most of the meat, eggs, whole grains, fresh vegetables, honey, olive oil, and wine used in the kitchen and dining room come from the estate. Spannocchia illustrates a nearly complete, self-sustaining, cyclical system of agriculture, whereby crops feed the animals, the animals produce the manure that is used to fertilize the fields to grow the next cycle of crops, the animals and crops feed the human residents and visitors, and the humans provide the labor necessary to make it all work.