A year and a half ago during the first Covid lockdown (Spring 2020), many people in the community, like everyone around the world, had to stay home. What better occasion to work outdoors sustaining our small Terre di Luce farm? Not much energy was put into our agricultural project these past years since the community was involved in more urgent projects.
Many hands then began putting energy into the land by doing various jobs such as taking away stones from the big fields, reorganising the agricultural building, getting the vegetable garden ready, and fertilising the orchards. Day after day a clear message came to us that we were to begin reorganising and giving energy to this communal practice that is linked to the land, just as Paramhansa Yogananda suggested. In fact, he urged humanity to create world brotherhood communities united by sound spiritual values, but at the same time are as self-sufficient as possible with practical resources and sustenance.
Thanks to the lockdown and to these major changes, the community strongly felt propelled, in this historic moment, to return to farming and start over from there, and to lay a strong foundation for unity, beginning with the land. Thanks to the support of many people – some of whom are agricultural experts and others who are totally new at it all (but full of joy and enthusiasm), Terre di Luce, with its wonderful group serving Nature and God, is now teeming with vitality and creativity.
There are many activities. The vegetable garden is a big part of our project. There is a great biodiversity of vegetables that grow strong and healthy: the leaves, the vegetables themselves, the roots, and the aromatic herbs. Besides the extensive job of growing the fruits of the earth, the utmost attention is given to the practice of regenerating the soil with the rotation technique, with natural mulch, microorganisms, organic fertilizer and self-produced local macerated herbs. Respect and attention are important values in agriculture.
Last year, thanks to a donation, we were able to purchase two greenhouses for the “winter” crops. It was a beautiful experience because these greenhouses produced a great deal of vegetables and an abundant seedbed. The vegetables are used for community meals but they are also sold at the Ananda market on Sundays, and are used to transform the produce for use during the winter (during the winter of 2020/2021, the community was almost entirely self-sufficient thanks to the abundance of vegetables). In fact, transforming the produce is part of Terre di Luce’s activities: the vegetables are stored in freezers and jars for use during the winter, jams are prepared, herbs are dried for use in broths and herbal tea, lavender is distilled to be used in scented soaps, creams, essential oils and various medicinal herbal oleolites.
In addition there are orchards (mostly apple, olive, cherry, red currant and hazelnut) that produce a great deal of fruit. There are more extensive crops of grains and legumes around the farm, as well as bee families.
And there are many more projects in the making. In the agricultural building on the farm, there is a large kitchen used to prepare organic meals for the community. There is also a large dining room and a cozy corner living room (with sofas and carpets) where an altar with the Masters on it. There is also some space for meditation. One of the most important aspects of this project is, precisely, Karma Yoga, which is the practice of spiritual work and service to God and to all (“all” meaning: plants, animals, people, minerals and energies). Each activity begins by invoking the Masters’ guidance and presence. Their teachings permeate daily life as a greater end and purpose. Meditations and spiritual practices are shared and, above all, we build a relationship with our brothers and sisters as we grow and learn at all times during this divine exchange of friendship and support.
At Terre di Luce there are times when we do yoga, have kirtans, play games and have “family” evenings together with pizza and films. But there are also programs for youths, devotees and friends to help inspire their spiritual search and to experience life in a spiritual community as a place for growth and transformation.
The aspect of community and togetherness is a fundamental part of this project, and the energy that is palpable is one of home and of being part of a group and a community.
There are “regulars” as well as volunteers and sevas who add to these vibrations by lovingly donating their time and support. And the result is incredible: many hands make a miracle. Every Monday the project’s operative team meet to exchange and talk about their achievements, challenges, projects, intentions and proposals, and it is always a very special moment. It’s not always easy to work as a team and consider opinions that differ from one’s own. But due to our sense of brotherhood and reciprocal support that guides us every day, and thanks to the blessings that we continuously receive from our higher Guides, we all constantly learn to expand and be as one, joyfully supporting one another.
It is not easy to explain in just a few lines what Terre di Luce is and, in general, what the agricultural project is about. It is, without a doubt, a workshop for major growth and brotherhood. And we hope that it can be an example for many devotees to create more and more places for peace and harmony, for communities and for taking care of our Mother Earth.
As always, in the Masters’ embrace and their love that permeates every thing and every person, we are grateful to be part of this community of Divine Mother’s workers.