Scenes and stories from a small town in the hills of Italy's Le Marche region

Organic Farmer Doubles as an Artist


photo by Elise Castle
Fabio Ridolfi surrounded by his organic grapevines and olive trees

A man in a worn white t-shirt holds the ability to tell his life story through his hands. He steps out from a house that he built with his own hands; a home he has made for his family over the past 31 years. Standing roughly 6 feet tall, Fabio Ridolfi has created an interesting way of being in the world.

Rough calloused hands rapidly move back and forth as he attempts to translate fluent Italian into English. Ridolfi is motivated by what is right and natural for the environment. Ridolfi's love of simplicity and attention to detail shows through his expressions. He applies his passion for art by using his hands to shape beauty in the world.

Remaining completely dedicated to his personal sense of history, Ridolfi exercises his philosophy eccentrically through his artwork. Hidden beneath a worn blue tarp sits a 4 meter, hand-crafted wooden boat. Using the ancient Roman method of scaling and slices, Ridolfi sketched an idea for a boat. Not far from the covered upside down boat is a carved miniature replica of the boat under the tarp. Simply to test his capabilities, Ridolfi crafted this exact model. He scaled this model and produced a fully functional, geometrically perfect, wooden boat. Ridolfi spent more than 1500 hours crafting these masterpieces only to store them away. Feeling a sense of completion by finishing such beautiful works, he returned to his everyday life as an art professor.
photo by Elise Castle
Ridofi shells a bean from this year's harvest--part of his "seed saver" mentality to perpetuate the species.

Ridolfi is both a professor and an organic farmer. Just as he uses his hands to sculpt his art, he uses his hands to grow fruits and vegetables on his farming. He seemed confused by the question: “Why organic farming over the traditional method?” Ridolfi lives under the philosophy that your hands are the gateway to all things good and natural.”

Ridolfi was an active member of Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) for three years. Hosting more than 75 WWOOF members over the three years, Ridolfi has incorporated his passions and hopes for the world into his farm. WWOOF was developed to demonstrate an understanding of organic and biodynamic ways of living. This organization made it possible for people to travel and share their passions, inspirations and similar values. Members are placed on organic farms all over the world to live, work and learn. “"It is about defending and protecting the little plot of earth we own"” Ridolfi says.

photo by Elise Castle
Organic farmer Fabio Rodolfi's garden soaks up the late afternoon sun.

Ridolfi's house sits on acres of pure organic farmland. He grows lettuce and corn of all colors and flavors. His land is also the home to fig trees, apple trees and huge pumpkins.

go beyond the story...

Taste Fabio Ridolfi's life as an organic farmer and as an artist. Experience the beauty of his work.

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videography by Erik Heinz
Take a closer look at some of Fabio Ridolfi's handiwork.

Ridolfi's home

Homemade Wine

Hand Carved Totem

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