Life in the country: the event of the "small agriculture"
Whatever your reason for spending your leisure time outdoors in the garden or countryside – a little extra income, produce for your family, healthy life activity in the open or just a hobby – the Life in the Country Fair in Montichiari (Fiera Vita in Campagna di Montichiari) in the province of Brescia, has a host of ideas and information on how to realise them
A larger exhibition area, new specialised fair facilities and over hundred free practical courses are the main features at the fifth Life in the Country market exhibition (mostra-mercato Vita in Campagna) that proposes specialist products for hobby farmers and lovers of the countryside at the Montichiari fair district in the province of Brescia from 27th to 29th of March 2015.
Indeed, the fair, being held in five halls over a total area of 30,000 square metres (20% more than in 2014), sees the debut of a new section dedicated to the upkeep of the house in country and strengthens sessions and courses on offer, repeating the formula that includes a large number of categories proposed as the subject of the training open to all visitors that illustrates techniques and methods for achieving goals and getting the most from the potential available. The fair is the three-dimensional version of the magazine promoting the event, Vita in Campagna, published by Informatore Agrario Edizioni, which gives its many readers useful information and advice for tending kitchen gardens, fruit orchards, breeding establishments and gardens, “however small or large they may be”.
There are over two hundred exhibitors present with a showcase of companies in the gardening and agricultural machinery sector presenting versatility not just in the range but also in the size of current mechanical agricultural products suitable for the cultivation and care of the green areas of all sizes.
Passion also for vintage agricultural machinery is on display at the Vita in Campagna fair, in a dedicated area of hall 1, where meetings and opportunities for consultancy on recognising, quotations and the restoration of these vehicles, open to the public during the three days of the fair are envisaged.
Then a debut for The House in the Country Experience Exhibition (Salone Vivere la casa in campagna) in hall 7, with furniture, architectural features and articles that can contribute to making country houses of all sizes more beautiful and liveable, with green area annexes. Also underlying this space is the ten year publishing experience of the La Vita in Campagna magazine in the Informatore Agrario group and here, too, there are free seminars on domestic heating, energy efficiency, restructuring and maintenance and decorations and floral compositions to complement the items on show.
Larger, on the other hand, is the Typical Product-Origin & Territory Exhibition (Salone di Origine-Prodotti Tipici & Territorio) in Hall 8, now in its third year. It features the numerous Italian wine and food specialities, with a rich calendar of meetings and courses in the area called “to you for you” illustrating quality food produce through the knowledge of the way it is produced and tasting sessions. In this area, free courses are provided for learning how to make bread and pasta and for tasting olive oil, cheeses, honey and wine. There is a web appendix for this exhibition on www.origineonline.it and www.facebook.com/origineonline.it with updates in real time on the events being held, further details about the various foods treated and the institution of a digital dialogue on the excellent produce of various territories with accounts of their history gathered and told by Informatore Agrario experts, that will be open for the rest of the year. Among the curiosities of this year’s fair, that was visited by 40,000 people in 2014, mention must be made of two different training sessions dealing with natural dyeing and domestic composting. The first is scheduled for Friday March 27th at 2 pm (Room 2, Congress Centre) and focuses on how fruit, vegetables, flowers and plants can be used for colouring textiles. During the seminar, techniques are illustrated for the macerations of foodstuffs such as onions, spinach, blueberries, turnips and elderberry to be used to dye wool, cotton and silk through various processes including fixing techniques that have given life, for centuries, to a wide range of water and sunlight resistant shades. The second is scheduled for March 28th, again in room 2 and at 2pm and it illustrates how to make natural fertiliser to be used for kitchen and family gardens, at home, using vegetable and kitchen waste. The course is held by Maurizio Ferrandina, lecturer at the Parco di Monza Agricultural College (Scuola Agraria del Parco Monza), who wants to bolster the spread of domestic compost practice already common in many European countries, in Italy as well. A small educational farm, set up in hall 1 includes the simulation of the most important agricultural activities with operational workshops for tending kitchen and other gardens, fruit tree, vine and olive bush pruning and farmyard animal breeding. On the theme of educational farms – currently 2,500 in Italy – an orientation convention is being dedicated to their possible contribution to the development of multi-sectoral skills among the students thanks to concrete experience linked to the territory they live and work in (March 27th, 3 pm, room 1 at the Congress Centre).
by Patrizia Menicucci