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Spannocchia Symposium:

“Food, Landscape and Community in Tuscany and New England”

February 12-15, 2009

The Spannocchia Foundation’s mission is to encourage global dialogue about sustainable agricultural practices and the preservation of rural landscapes and traditions for future generations through the example of the Tenuta di Spannocchia, a 1,100-acre organic agricultural estate in central Tuscany.

Spannocchia Symposium Participants - February 2009
Spannocchia Symposium Participants – February 2009

Last month, the Spannocchia Foundation found a new and gratifying way to actualize its mission, by fulfilling a long-held vision of providing a cross-cultural exchange called the Spannocchia Symposium. The inaugural symposium gathering focused on the issue of sustainable local food systems and how they play an integral role in maintaining rural culture and landscape in both Tuscany and New England. Thirty-one farmers, chefs, agricultural educators, food writers, food policy experts and young leaders from New England travelled to the Tenuta di Spannocchia to join their Tuscan counterparts for four dynamic days of presentations, conversation, farm and market tours, and group meals featuring local and seasonal products. Participant feedback on the Symposium was overwhelmingly positive, with many ideas generated to sustain the connection between the stakeholders of both regions.

What follows is a brief recap of each day’s activities, though a glaring omission is an adequate description of the energy and lively conversations that took place during breaks in the symposium agenda, but particularly during the incredible meals prepared by Spannocchia staff. Add to this a very healthy dose of singing and dancing, and you just may begin to get a feel for the goodwill generated by Spannocchia’s organizing and hosting of this event. It is our hope that the pictures convey the conviviality, sense of place and the hopefulness expressed about the future of farming as a central activity in our lives.

SummaryDay 1 Day 2Day 3Day 4

Feedback from Participants

“We would like to thank you very much for allowed us to participate to your symposium.
Has been very interesting and stimulating. We hope to have the opportunity to follow this discussion opened with this group.

For our point of view has been very enhancer to listen the different panels particularly we appreciate the history of Tuscany and new England from which we learn a lot, and the youth action and community involvement that gave us a new hope on young people in agriculture.

The organization, food and hospitality has been wonderful! More over has been a really big pleasure for us to receive you all here in Colombaia.”