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Go Slow in Tuscany

la selva

I was interested (and I must admit, a little surprised) to read recently that Italy is the European leader in organic farming. Living here in Tuscany, it’s clear that there is definitely a growing culture of farming and eating more organic food, but I somehow expected wealthier, seemingly more “progressive” countries (such as Germany) to rank more highly. Well, with more than one million hectares of land under organic management, and just under 45,000 organic farms in operation, Italy comes top of the list, followed by Germany and Spain (www.organic-europe.net/). Tuscany alone has over 2,300 organic farms which produce mainly olive oil, but also top-notch wines, cheeses, cereals, pulses and meat. Some of these farms, known as “agriturismi”, rent out rooms , so you can enjoy a quiet stay and see how things are grown. Many let their guests pick fruit from their orchards, so you may be able to taste varieties of pear and apple that you’d never find in local Italian supermarkets, let alone in the UK. For the more adventurous, WWOOF (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) offers people the chance to stay and work on organic and biodynamic farms. In general, for half a day’s work per day, you get bed and board and you can