Agriculture: some memories of the 20th century

My interest about agriculture began in the early ’70 years of the last century, when I spent part of my summer holidays in the quiet and silent countryside of the Marche region (center-north part of Italian peninsula).

My bright childhood memories adressed me very soon to appreciate the countryside and the farmers’ life. In this country region, extensive agriculture, practiced with crop rotation in small plots was once the most typical management practice of the local farmland. During the summer the marchesan hill-landscape become a multi-color collage.

Looking in the countryside, I could frequently see farmers involved in the crop-cycle practices and cattle management, I could hear the bovine-cattle mooing and, at the sunset, the milk flavour seemed it told me: ‘Take your green bottle and go to the dairy farm’. That was probably true agriturism. At that time I could enjoy my quiet vacation among farmers and sometimes they let me participate in their farming work. All my summer life was absorbed in looking their daily jobs, that developed around me, in the vigorous vegetation of the summer countryside.

A special moment of relax in the summer vacation was also when me and my family used to walk to the phone-point, singing in the night and along the way, staring at the starry sky: we could easily locate, in the complete darkness, the ‘Great Bear’ and the other major costellations; all around crickets and cicadas were always singing too.

Meanwhile in the ’80ies I started studying agricultural sciences at the university of Milan (Italy), but unfortunately, year by year, all that dream landscape was involved in the economic crisis. The frequent loneliness, the ageing of the agricultural work-force and the hard life of the farmers has taken the most of the young people away from the agricultural management of fields, leaving such human-cared landscapes, to pastures, forests and wildlife. So the ancient farmland landscape of the Marchesan appennines started disappearing and while I realized my agri-tech knowledge was increasing, the people in the countryside, year by year, decreased as well.