This spectacular Chewonki guided trip focuses on the theme of sustainable food and agriculture as we visit farms across the southwest region of Tuscany, Italy. Our host for the trip is Ariane Lotti, Alumna of Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki (Semester 23) and former member of the Chewonki farm crew.
Our home base will be at Tenuta San Carlos, a gorgeous organic farm, restaurant and “agriturismo” getaway on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, encompassing several habitats including beach, marshlands, pine forests, and open fields.
Purchased by the Lotti family in 1936, Tenuta San Carlos produces rice, wheat, and pasture-raised heritage cows. Ariane has carefully chosen five regional farms to feature as part of this experience. Each farm, including Tenuta San Carlos, is committed to sustainable agriculture, implementing their vision in a different way to emphasize the products they cultivate.
Our farm visits include a tour, a unique tasting experience, and will be paired with a lesson or talk by Ariane Lotti and Chewonki Farm and Woodlot Manager, Megan Phillips. Our guides will facilitate natural history observations of the wild and cultivated ecosystems we visit during the week.
This 8 day, 7 night guided trip will run from October 20-27, 2019, and can accommodate up to 15 guests.
Tenuta San Carlo is an organic farm, agriturismo, and restaurant located on a thousand acres of land in the Maremma region of southwestern Tuscany along the Mediterranean Sea. The Lotti family purchased the property in 1936 and today, the third generation of Lottis manage Tenuta San Carlo, producing organic rice and other grains, along with beef from their herd of heritage breed Maremmana cattle. https://tenutasancarlo.com
Caseificio Inno al Sole is an artisanal cheese factory located in Grosseto, in Maremma Tuscany, that produces and sells buffalo mozzarella and other buffalo dairy products with the “La Maremmana” brand. The cheese factory is part of a historical family-owned dairy farm that produces grains, herds buffalo, offers tourist accommodation, and produces renewable energy. http://lamaremmana.it/en/
PoggioLecci is an agriculturally sustainable estate devised by Joséphine and Andrea Falchetti in Southern Tuscany, the historical birthplace of some wonderful Italian olive oils. Pitched in the hills of Maremma, their 2,400 olive trees are grown with care and passion to produce exceptional extra virgin organic olive oils. https://www.poggiolecci.it
Spannocchia offers a unique integration of historic architecture and landscape: a working organic farm, a center for education and enrichment focused on both ecological and cultural history and a multinational community. Spannocchia produces a variety of products but is most well known for its cured meats made from its heritage breed of pigs, Cinta Senese. https://www.spannocchia.com
The Le Mortelle organic winery and estate is located in Maremma near the town of Castiglione della Pescaia. The estate has belonged to the Antinori family since 1999. The family has always worked on the vineyards and in the cellars with the firm conviction that the region, even at the time when it was just emerging in the overall panorama of Italian wine, has a significant potential for the production of high-quality wine. https://www.antinori.it/en/tenuta/estates-italy/le-mortelle-estate/
- Day 1: We meet at Fiumicino (FCO) airport in Rome, and drive to Grosseto, arriving at Tenuta San Carlo, where we will stay in beautifully restored farmhouse apartments within a nature reserve along the Mediterranean coast. That evening we will be welcomed by our host Ariane Lotti, followed by dinner, introductions and an overview of the week to come.
- Day 2: After breakfast at Tenuta San Carlo, we begin with an introduction to agriculture in Tuscany and sustainable agriculture themes. We will explore the conservation land and pine forests surrounding Tenuta San Carlo, followed by lunch. The afternoon is free for rest or exploration, and then a dinner highlighting some of the homegrown produce of the farm.
- Day 3: We begin the third day with a morning tour and buffalo-milk cheese tasting at Caseificio Inno al Sole – La Maremmana; in the afternoon we return to Tenuta San Carlo for a tour of organic crop production. Dinner here or off-site.
- Day 4: We take the day off to rest, swim and explore the local region – famous for its vineyards, beauty, and deep history.
- Day 5: We begin the next morning with a visit to heritage-breed cows and rotational grazing systems; lunch at Tenuta San Carlo followed by an afternoon tour and olive oil tasting at PoggioLecci with a possible visit to the olive press (depending on harvest timing). Dinner off-site.
- Day 6: We embark on an all-day side trip to Tenuta di Spannocchia, set on the grounds of a centuries-old estate, for a tour of their organic farm and heritage breed pigs. We will enjoy a homegrown lunch on site, returning to Tenuta San Carlo in the evening.
- Day 7: We shape this day with a lively overview of European agricultural and food policy, and comparisons with the U.S. In the afternoon we travel to Le Mortelle, an organic winery, and estate is located near Castiglione della Pescaia, for lunch and a tasting session. We finish the day with dinner back at Tenuta San Carlo.
- Day 8: Conclusion and departures.
Ariane Lotti is a farmer and the managing partner of Tenuta San Carlo, an organic farm in Central Italy that produces rice and grain crops, has agritourism activities, and includes land and forests managed for conservation goals. Before moving to Italy, she worked for over five years in Washington, D.C., on U.S. federal sustainable food and agriculture policy, with a particular focus on food safety regulations and the farm bill. She is a published author and has worked and conducted research on organic and conventional farms in the U.S. and Europe. She is a representative from Italy to Ceja (the European Council of Young Farmers), the Vice President of Confagricultura Grosseto, a Trustee of Friends of Spannocchia, and an advisor to the Chewonki Foundation. She holds a Bachelors of Arts and a Masters of Environmental Management from Yale University.
Willard has been President of Chewonki since 2010, after six years as head of Maine Coast Semester. His professional background includes teaching, field science, conservation, and outdoor adventure, including faculty roles at both Williams College and the University of Vermont. Willard has a deep interest in innovative teaching that combines challenging experiential, outdoor, and academic learning to foster enduring personal and community development. His early career included work as a guide and instructor of groups in remote environments, including for Chewonki in Central Quebec. Willard holds a Bachelors of Arts from Williams College and a Masters of Science from the University of Vermont.
Megan manages Chewonki’s diversified farm, integrating participants into the daily work required to tend to the livestock, vegetables, and woodlot. Following her experience teaching elementary school in South Carolina and coordinating farm-based educational programming in Alaska, Megan first came to Chewonki in 2007 to teach for the Outdoor Classroom program and to lead extended wilderness trips, including the five-week-long George River Expedition across northern Quebec and Labrador. She works daily with Chewonki participants to engage the head, heart, and hands in meaningful work. Megan holds a Bachelors of Arts from Furman University and a Masters of Science from the Audubon Expedition Institute at Lesley University.
- Arrival Date: October 20th, 2019
- Departure Date: October 27th, 2019
The group will meet in Rome at the Fiumicino (FCO) airport. Local transportation will be provided.
Total cost*: $2,600 (participants are responsible for their own airfare)
Deposit: $700 non-refundable deposit is due on registration, with full payment due before August 1, 2019
*Meals at Tenuta San Carlo and scheduled farm visits are included. Participants should plan self-managing a few lunches and dinners in nearby restaurants.
To register, please contact Greg Shute, Senior Vice President, at (207) 882-7323 or firstname.lastname@example.org to check for availability. All participants must be 18 years of age or older.