Last summer, July 2020, Borgo Basino hosted a camp for visually impaired children. The two intense weeks of residential “Ecocamp,” in collaboration with the Francesco Cavazza Institute for the Blind in Bologna and the National Institute for Research, Training and the Rehabilitation was truly fascinating, as kids from all over Italy with varying degrees of vision explored the farm, workshopped with us and taught us many things about their daily life.

Campers, together with staff and all the residents of the Borgo, lived a real experiential, sensorial and perceptive journey. They participated in numerous workshops on the farm, exploring activities with animals and manual labs with the earth and with seeds. They harvested organic vegetables directly from the garden, created clay face masks for self-care, and learned how to make pizza during a cooking workshop. They explored archery, met our bee friends (from a safe distance!) and made candles with their wax, tried hydrotherapy in the pool, and ventured out on walks in the woods, day and night!

In particular, the experience of connecting with and caressing animals, listening to their vocalizations and giving them food, greatly excited the children. For some the fear of the unknown was a challenge, especially with unpredictable living creatures. Frightened by what they did not know, they nevertheless gave it a gentle go, encouraged and accompanied to approach animals such as donkeys, goats and hens in their own time. For the more adventurous, there was the opportunity to mount the beautiful Alice, one of our two “Romagnola” donkeys and experience the sensation of a real ride.

The most rewarding lab which provoked numerous questions from campers was that of harvesting in the garden. For them it was surprising to feel the consistency of the fruits of the garden, such as tomatoes and zucchinis, pick them up with their hands and then find them on their plate. They were invited to experience the care that guarantees the genuineness and goodness of these fruits, discovering how much the environment affects what we eat. The activity of creating small pots for planting seeds was also very popular, which led them to explore, through their hands, the consistency of clay, soil and water that will supports a new plant. Exploring the path that the food we eat takes, from seed to soil to plate, was entirely new for many.

Recreational evenings, with music, stars and a fire were pleasant moments of leisure and cohesion that offered the group a lot of fun.

It was a rich and challenging Eco Campus, requiring a great deal of care while offering us the opportunity to learn from the boys and girls who participated while we recommitted to our value of access and inclusion. #Learn #LearnLiveGrow