What Is There Beyond The Permaculture Edge?
The Yeltons latest overseas project is the creation of a Permaculture living and learning site on the north coast of Sicily. Why Sicily? - A Permaculture student once asked Masonobu Fukuoka how he could follow the year-round crop rotation as it was practiced on his farm in Japan. The student was from New Hampshire, where the fields were often covered in feet of snow for several months each year. Fukuoka was thoughtful for a moment, and then answered the student, "Ah, it is very regretful that man invented clothes." - Having grown up in Australia, Julia finds the long winters in Maine difficult. A gardener for 50 years, she is used to working the earth for four full seasons. Summers in Australia were actually the downtime for the gardener, also a perfect time to be able to enjoy the holiday season and not be tied to the garden. Not that any climate hasn't got its own challenges....and now we are facing global climate change, a total unknown.
During their travels these past 15 years, Julia and Charles have been scoping out as near as possible their ideal location to create just one more Permaculture living and learning Center. Having lived in many different climates and growing zones, the Yeltons had compiled a list that contained the elements they wanted in their most ideal living situation. Their list of requirements included a site where they could create the living and learning center with existing buildings for accommodation and teaching, a moderate climate where a wide range of fruits and vegetables could be grown on the land year round, abundant water, a reasonable cost of living, close proximity to village and community, cultural diversity, aesthetically pleasing countryside, presence of a myriad of the arts and a society that had not lost its agrarian roots.
After 15 years of searching, they finally found it.... and the food and the views are a bonus!!
The medieval town of Caccamo sits on a ridge line, overlooking the Mediterranean 8 kilometers from the coast. Caccamo with its 11th century castle has a rich history, as well as a rich cultural focus and strong agrarian roots. Surrounding the town are a myriad of small fields and mixed farms growing a variety of crops including olives, fruits, edible wild greens and wildflowers. Local farmers and vendors offer the "Biologic" (organic) vegetables, small goods, cheeses and value-added products every Sunday morning at a dedicated market site in the town. Locally-grown produce is also offered direct from the farmer to the shopper in the many market stands scattered around the ancient town's cobbled streets every morning and along the local roads. Villa Francesca is situated about halfway between Caccamo and the seaport of Termini Imeresi, in the hamlet of Cangemi.
The view above shows the boundary of the 3.5 acre property, nestled on the slopes of a mountain at the 1190-foot level and has spectacular views of the sea, the port below, and the mountains to the south, west and east. The site has 150 olive trees (some 400 years old), mixed fruit trees, citrus, figs, nuts and a large potential growing area for garden crops as well as wild flowers and edible greens. There are three building complexes, two attached but separate individual homes with attached barns that will be converted to living space and a two story ruin that will be rebuilt with an upper deck that overlooks the Mediterranean.