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Planting Goodness (a.k.a. how it all began..)

About a month ago, while sitting in my garden soaking up the first rays of Roman sunlight, I realized my whole life revolves around one word: farming.

I decided to be born right in the middle of my grandparents’ legendary grape harvest (“la vendemmia”), while my mom assisted the making of the family’s next red novello. By my fifth birthday, I had been introduced to the magic (and squishiness) of stomping on grapes. Staking tomatoes. Watching a horde of cucumbers grow from the tiniest seed.

My whole childhood was spent eating what the good Earth produced. Not to mention sharing what we harvested with people who needed help. But – especially – watching my grandparents love and defend their piece of land as the most beautiful treasure ever. Right down to their last breath.

When they passed on, their fervent passion and strong commitment to this treasure remained alive in the family. But something was missing. We had all grown up, moved, found jobs, had kids. None of us really had the time to go over to the plant nursery and choose seeds, to dig nonno’s old rake and pickaxe out and start tilling an acre of soil for days on end. By then, a feeling of perplexity had settled in me. How would my nonni’s hard-earned legacy of goodness survive? Who would take care of “La Vigna” (The Land)? Who would take the time to cherish this simple earth, with its ancient well and infinite line of olive trees?

So I took this nagging, unyielding urge of unaccomplished farming off with me into my first, and only, corporate job (in agricultural development, what else?) and left it sitting in the back of my head – and heart – for the past 18 years. Until today, that is.

This blog marks the beginning of a new life for my family and myself. A journey back, hopefully, towards what once represented the essence of true goodness for all of us: planting, growing, harvesting and sharing the Earth’s bounties with family, neighbors, people in need.

We hope you will join us for the ride. We will explore how to take the time to sow the seeds of our favorite food helped by our little ones. Once the produce has grown, we’ll use it to create delicious recipes for our loved ones. We will also see how to do this anywhere and with any tools you may have on hand.

Let’s start planting tiny seeds of love and change today – together – to make for a happier tomorrow.

Welcome to Planting Goodness.

Michelle Calcatelli

Michelle Calcatelli

Hi there! My name is Michelle. I'm an American living in Italy, mom of two girls, a lover of travel, music and good food shared with loved ones. I am a freelance grant writer and a former agricultural development practitioner, having worked mostly in rural Africa for 18 years. I look forward to creating a space here - with your help - where we can exchange dreams, ideas and kindness to start shaping a better tomorrow.

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