NYU Florence is different from any other Study Abroad site. Its campus is made up of Villa La Pietra’s world-famous gardens and the bucolic agricultural landscape that surrounds them. As a small, but perfect, 37 acre Tuscany Villa Estate it does produce food but its main purpose for more than 550 years has been the wellbeing of the community it serves. Today, that community is the students and staff that form the NYU Florence family.

Pliny wrote “I always feel energetic and fit at my Tuscan villa, both mentally and physically.
[Epistles, V. vi.45]

Broadly, the estate may be divided in two parts: the formal gardens where students may participate in outdoor classes, revise for upcoming exams or simply relax, take the sun and enjoy a homemade picnic in beautiful surroundings; the olive groves and the walled garden, the Pomario, form NYU Florence’s Community Farm which acts as a Green Laboratory of learning opportunities for a range of courses and extracurricular activities. From this semester the Farm will also start to supply the on-site cafeteria with fresh, zero-miles, produce in a way that is also good for our environment.

Through talks, live and prerecorded, workshops and discussion groups, Terra Firma Firenze aims to facilitate a deeper appreciation of this special place, to more fully enjoy it and to use it as a mirror reflecting wider issues in the world.


January 2022

Introduction to Terra Firma Firenze and its Spring 2022 Program
The following two videos will be available to watch on this Terra Firma Firenze web-page between January 31 and February 12. Watching them will enable a better understanding of the estate’s history and what it offers NYU Florence students. USE SAFARI OR FIREFOX BROWSWER FOR BETTER CONNECTION.

deMaret

The Search for a Healthy Diet: Farming, Taste of Place and Food Culture in Tuscany – by Dr Olivier de Maret, Food Historian [45 minutes]

 

 

The Pomario

Visit the Pomario and Limonaia at Villa La Pietra, A Virtual Tour – in the company of Nick Dakin-Elliot, Horticultural Associate, and Helena Attlee best-selling author and feature writer [20 minutes]


February 2022

Tuesday, February 8, 12 noon – 1:00 PM
Villa La Pietra, Food Production of a Tuscan Villa
Nick Dakin-Elliot will present this talk live via Zoom.
This semester will see food that is grown on-site being supplied to the cafeteria at Villa Natalia. This is a big event on our 2022 calendar but, historically speaking, fresh, zero miles, food that has been in a way that is kind to the environment is not new to Villa La Pietra. For most of the 550-some years since the Villa was built, those who lived here would have thought it the most normal thing in the world. This talk takes a look at changing methods in the way such food was produced, the changing fashion in what people wanted to eat, and what NYU is now doing to ensure its’ students may ‘taste the difference’ while knowing that NYU Florence is, at the same time, doing its bit to combat climate change.

Tuesday, February 15, 12 noon – 1:00 PM (Aula Le Vedute, Villa La Pietra)
The Theory and Practice of Sowing and Planting Vegetable Plants
This session aims to equip you with some basic knowledge about sowing and planting vegetables in preparation for next week’s practical workshop.

Tuesday, February 22, 12 noon – 1:00 PM (Pomario, Villa La Pietra)
Practical Session Sowing and Planting in the Pomario
The Pomario, the walled garden attached to the north side of Villa La Pietra, has produced food for those who live on the estate for more than 550 years. The hundred plus noble citrus trees, the grape vines and the ancient pear trees provide living structure within which a wide range of vegetables is grown. Planting and sowing crops and caring for them until they are ready to harvest allow you to be actively involved in producing fresh food, grown on campus, and to be part of a tradition that stretches back to the Italian Renaissance.

Date and Time to be decided
The Hungry Gap
Within the year there are months of natural abundance, but the end of winter is known as the hungry gap in Tuscany. This workshop examines why this is and looks at some of the delicious foods that have come out of ensuring that no one went without at this time of year. Using black cabbage, traditionally the only green vegetable growing in the vegetable garden at this time of year, we will create a simple, tasty, meal and, in doing so learn about seasonality and the value of kale cabbages in our diets.


March 2022

Tuesday, March 1, 12 noon – 1:00 PM (Pomario, Villa La Pietra)
Healthy Soil – Healthy Food
The secret to successful vegetable growing lies in the soil. Many feel modern agricultural techniques ignore the soil’s wellbeing while greatly adding to climate change. This talk looks at what soil is, both its mineral and living components, and how gardeners may work to ensure it is in good health.

Tuesday, March 8, 12 noon – 1:00 PM (Limonaia, Villa La Pietra)
Coffee, a Chat and Caring for Your Veggies
As coffee is served in the Limonaia, you will be able to discuss your learning with NYU Florence’s Horticultural Associate, Nick Dakin-Elliot, and care for your crops as they begin to grow towards perfection. “A little and often” is the byword of good vegetable gardening that these regular sessions encourage. More of an activity of the mind than the body, you will be encouraged to question why things are done and to plan what needs to be done next.

Tuesday, March 22, 12 noon – 1:00 PM (Aula Le Vedute, Villa La Pietra)
Vegetable Garden Management– Part I
Research shows that growing vegetables is good for your health, both physical and mental. Using your brain more than your body ensures that the hard work too often associated with gardening is kept to a minimum. Part I of this talk looks at the features of the perfect vegetable garden and how to manage them to make things easy while producing a succession of healthy crops to eat. Part II looks at how we deal with organic waste to produce the very life-blood a good vegetable patch runs on and how to care for a simple range of crops.

Tuesday, March 29, 12 noon – 1:00 PM (Aula Le Vedute, Villa La Pietra)
Vegetable Garden Management– Part II


April 2022

Tuesday, April 5, 12 noon – 1:00 PM (Limonaia, Villa La Pietra)
Coffee, a Chat and Caring for Your Veggies
As coffee is served in the Limonaia, you will be able to discuss their learning with NYU Florence’s Horticultural Associate, Nick Dakin-Elliot, and care for their crops as they grow towards perfection.

Tuesdays, April 5, 12 and 26, 12:00 Noon – 1:00 PM
Coffee, a Chat, and Caring for Your Veggies
As coffee is served in the Limonaia, you will be able to discuss their learning with NYU Florence’s Horticultural Associate, Nick Dakin-Elliot, and care for their crops as they grow towards perfection.

Wednesday, April 6, 11:15 AM  – 1:00 PM (Campo)
Foraging on the NYU Florence Campus
Foraging has become trendy in the USA, but has long been a traditional part of Tuscan cooking. This workshop looks at the basics of foraging and equips us to identify some common but tasy produce that can be found in the olive groves at Villa La Pietra. Who knew that there are natural wild-growing herbs and edible greens on our campus? Come help us forage on Wednesday and team up with students from the local Buontalenti Catering School to harvest these secret wild delights from campus!

Friday, April 8, 1:00 – 6:00 PM (Istituto Buontalenti)
Cookiing Class
A Cooking Class will be taking place out of the city center at the Buontalenti Cooking School to cook the herbs and edible greens that were collected on the previous Wednesday.

As coffee is served in the Limonaia, you will be able to discuss their learning with NYU Florence’s Horticultural Associate, Nick Dakin-Elliot, and care for their crops as they grow towards perfection.


May 2022

Tuesday, May 3, 6:00 PM (Pomario and Limonaia, Villa La Pietra)
Events to Celebrate the Official Launch of NYU Florence’s Community Farm
It is often said that the key to good cooking is to use good ingredients. Harvesting home grown vegetables for a meal is a sure way to ensure your meal will be tasty, but it will also ensure it is as healthy as it can be. From the time crops are harvested they begin to lose their nutritional value and much of what is on offer at the supermarket may have been harvested weeks earlier, often before it was fully mature or ripe. Some of our own home-grown produce will be harvested and prepared for the special events held in this week allowing us all to taste the difference!

Date and Time to be decided
Citrus Fruit Lunch
Lemon trees in pots are a traditional element of the Tuscan Garden. Villa La Pietra has one of Florence’s best examples of a limonaia, a garden built specially to house a collection of citrus trees. This workshop provides the opportunity to look at how the plants are cared for, to harvest some citrus fruits and prepare a meal with them.

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