The first permaculture festival in Italy took place from the 5th to the 7th of September in the medieval town of Bolsena. The location was awesome.
Why a festival? for the simple joy of sharing. And that is what we saw and lived.
Discussing with Luca Puri, he who had the idea of this great event, we actually came to agree that festival was a permaculture design laid out throughout the center of Bolsena. The town became part of a project that redesigned the streets, their function, view and shape.
Three days of complete life in permaculture. The festival took place in different locations throughout the small streets of the town center: public auditoriums, halls and a theatre, outdoors in small squares, but even private canteen's and cellars, and a fantastic bookshop-osteria.
The festival was completely based on the work of a great group of volunteers, but in the end the difference between the volunteers, the town citizens, the speakers and the attendees just vanished into a sole community.
You just walked down the streets saying hello to everyone, smiling and hugging people you didn't even know, it was awesome.
In the three days one could attend conferences, workshops, seminars with 27 speakers. Throughout the day one could relax with free wellness sessions, from shiatsu to reiki with 20 volunteers, and in the evening films and music until late. The whole way it was thought came out better. The organisers wanted to give the possibility to everyone to experience, speak and live of permaculture, sharing knowledge without the idea of having to pay for it, in the end it came out one could hardly see the difference between the speakers and the attendees.
The workshops were mostly hands on. From the rocket stoveworkshop that put your hands in the clay to the workshop on fermenting food, or the workshop on sinergic gardens, based on the method of Emilia Hazelip, that actually created a vegetable garden in a town public garden. Strawbale building, compost toilets, etc., nearly every possible subject was covered in the three day's event.
Someone can argue that maybe it was a bit too much introductory, or for newcomers, but the nice thing was that everyone could walk in to a meeting or workshop and get involved, if "expert" or newbie. This is the formula to start getting the movement even more in motion, and growing.
The result? great if we think that there were nearly 400 registration's to the workshops, that had a limited number always exceeded when possible to let everyone attend, and maybe more than 500 people came to Bolsena during the three day's for the festival, not counting the tourists that stopped by for curiosity.
The cost of all this? not more then 15/20 euro's per person, for the insurance and the workshop’s, and then discounts in cafe's, restaurants, campings, hostels and hotels.
What can one ask more than to walk the streets hearing passers by speaking of Sepp Holzer, or rocket mass heaters, discussing of cob and nitrogen fixers. The outcome of all this? Relations have grown, a network is becoming reality and the whole movement will benefit from this.
Next year we’ll see if the polyculture seeded this year will have grown stronger and will give a better yield.
it passed on permaculture news the site of the PRI Australia. I'm happy that Italy gets a little bit more close to the rest of the movement and that I dared submitting the report. It's nice to see that what you do is appreciated.
Lorenzo I am so happy about this!! I actually went to the PRI website last night just to see what had been going on there and the first thing I saw was your article and I was like HEY! I know that guy! Hah very happy your article got published.