I arrived in Italy thanks to the University of New Hampshire in the USA, which organizes some 2-3 month internships in Italy as part of the "Eco-gastronomy" training. After this experience I wanted to return for a longer period to a farm I knew and so I discovered WWOOF.
I shared all aspects of the art of living with sobriety in the countryside and I learned many self-production practices. For example, I understood the wheat cycle: it starts in the autumn with the sowing of a mixture of different varieties, then in summer the crop is brought to the mill. With the flour obtained I learned to make sourdough bread, pasta, desserts according to what we needed. The bran and the husks of the wheat instead went to the hens so that they gave us good eggs and a bit of meat when, alas, it was time to slaughter them.
In the vegetable garden it was exciting to follow each cycle from the birth of the seedlings in the seedbed heated by the hens, up to the harvest in the field of vegetables that went directly to the table or the fruit for the production of seeds for the following year. Right there in the garden I learned the importance of managing rainwater: with a pond as a reserve and a good mulch with the straw from our wheat, you can guarantee the water needs without using water from the communal network. From the energy point of view, the wood and solar panels helped us to not to depend on external supplies and I have experienced that it is much more fun to cut wood than to... pay the bills!
Talking of waste, I have to say that by reducing your purchases you produce very little waste: between the animals and composting everything ends up in the closed cycle of the farm without using trucks and landfill.
The secret to not buying? Eat what is there!
If you do not think so, you need to imagine what marvelous ravioli you can make with your own flour, vegetables from the garden and the ricotta from the neighbour ... In fact we often exchanged our surplus with other foods produced on farms around, for example milk and cheese. This is another important aspect of self-sufficiency for food sovereignty: networking with those who live like you, around you.