Gian Carlo Cappello cultivates without using any product, not even organic and without working the soil, the results are surprising. But above all, starting from the garden, Gian Carlo tells of a possible change, witnessed by concrete experiences of shared cultivation, such as that of the Angera garden, and proposes a different vision of the world, far from money and the individualistic logic of our society.
We had a very interesting chat that we report here below. For those wishing to deepen the thought and method of Gian Carlo Cappello, we recommend reading his book The garden civilization.
The interview with Gian Carlo Cappello
Matteo OdC: In your book you start from the experience of the Angera garden, can you tell us how it was born?
Gian Carlo Cappello: Beyond what I will say in the next lines, the content of the book is very practical and also explains how to act in the garden to achieve natural cultivation: management of wild herbs and irrigation, of the earth, formation of the vegetable cover , choice of sowings, plantations and so on. I arrived in the garden of Angera after a long journey of experimental cultivation, in Rome and in various parts of Sicily. Angera is a stop, now in addition to that there are many other gardens in the surroundings, all based on the same principles. On the other hand, there are now dozens of natural gardens cultivated shared in Italy. I chose to use the garden of Angera as a pretext because unlike the others it is small and is located in the middle of a playground in the center of the town, which is very unique! The meeting with the Mayor of Angera was casual, but I think I have given substance to his ideas, at least judging by the comment I then transcribed at the beginning of the book. Every time I reread it it touches me deep chords.
Matteo OdC:We start talking about the "Hat Method". What are the particularities of your garden cultivation system? What is your relationship with permaculture and synergistic garden?
Gian Carlo Cappello: The peculiarity is ... in the difficulty I often encounter in understanding its simplicity! The change of mentality is fundamental: the interventionism that is at the center of every approach, even those you have reported, in agriculture comes not from the real need of the land, but from the legacy of a rural culture where the fear of an atavistic hunger comes to art solicited by the improper economic interests of agro-industry and the policy of financing. If you don't have a tractor, the land doesn't produce, if you don't distribute fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides… the same! Then you look at the first sparrow that passes and you see that in its beak it has everything it needs, supplied directly by Nature. The earth, as it is, provides all the food we need if you let it work without significant interventions. Yields per square meter. of the natural gardens are superior to those of the agro-industry, but at no cost and without pollution, indeed! The weak point of permacultural principles is the adoption of interventionist forms of cultivation, therefore "linear" (to use the language of permaculturists) rather than cyclical. I deeply believe in the principles expressed by permaculture and the "Hat Method" is 100% permanent culture, but the too many economic interests that weigh on the institutions created around permaculture have scleroticed the developments. The forms of cultivation taught in the courses that give access to the “permaculturist diploma”: regenerative agriculture, synergistic and biodynamic vegetable garden, food forest in particular, are real dead ends. The fact that they are currently widespread does not change the reality, on the other hand, the agro-industry is also widespread throughout the planet but this does not mean that it is right. I am in favor of dialogue, so you can talk about it serenely at any time with the friends of the "permacultural" institutions.
Matteo OdC:Your book is titled "The civilization of the garden": with your experiences you do not limit yourself to proposing a method of cultivation, there is the proposal of a different lifestyle, an idea of community. In what sense can cultivating the garden today be a revolutionary gesture?
Gian Carlo Cappello: I live on the essentials by choice, reducing the use of money - incoming and outgoing - now almost to zero. Yet I do not miss anything because from my work in the gardens and from the dissemination, exchanges of goods and services are born that replace money. Do not think about bartering, I believe that weighing the value of the product of labor to exchange it for something else equivalent is reductive and disrespectful. The society that I advocate is made up of the exchange of everything for everything, in the absence of money. If money disappeared tomorrow morning, not only would we not die of hunger and hardship at all, but we would have access to the true well-being that comes from this type of generalized exchange, where accumulation at the expense of the community and the environment, allowed by money, does not it would make sense.
Matteo OdC:A quick tip for those who are about to start a vegetable garden and start from scratch.
Gian Carlo Cappello: Do not be afraid to push the search for inner serenity to the extreme, then enter the garden, take a deep breath and you will discover that in our inner nature there is exactly the same ability as the sparrow to find in the Nature around us all the food we need. Thus begins the cultivation of the truly natural vegetable garden.
Matteo OdC:What does "zero investment" mean? You don't have to buy anything for
start cultivating a large natural garden, perhaps one hectare?
Gian Carlo Cappello: When you are outdoors, look around, Matteo. You can't buy
the Sun and its primary force, rain, air, life in the subsoil, the mineral elements that are found in abundance, the grass that grows spontaneously and all life that revolves around you, including humans. Here: those are your work tools! However, as I said at the beginning, in addition to the training aspects for the person, my book also gives all the practical notions to start and cultivate the vegetable garden according to Nature. Thanks for the welcome.
A big thank you to Gian Carlo for the time he dedicated to us in this interview. We recommend the book The garden civilization, in which he describes in detail the experience of the garden in Angera and explains the "Cappello method".