I grew up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. As a theatre kid, I spent most of my childhood running along lighting rafters, sitting in rehearsals, helping my mum choose the best lipstick for the lead actors and holding my dads tools while he built sets of all sorts. I spent the other part of my life until my early adult years in a dance studio, pirouetting and moving to the beat of a drum.
I left the dance and theatre world to pursue cooking. After completing Chef School, I apprenticed with Chef, Activist and Farmer, Michael Stadtlander. I lived on his farm just outside of Toronto, where we grew all of the vegetables and raised all of the animals that we used in the restaurant and bakery. Throughout my time there, I became more and more fascinated with farming and moved further away from the kitchen. I was also inspired by the food activism that we participated in. With Stadtlander, I learned how good, nutrient dense, fresh food tasted, and realized the importance of knowing where our food comes from, as well as the story of its production. I arrived an aspiring Chef and left an inspired Farmer.
I then met Farmer and Author Michael Ableman. I decided to continue my farming education and worked on Ableman’s farm on the West Coast of Canada for two years. There, my drive to grow food thickened and I went to learn and work as a dairy farmer at a sustainable dairy operation in Wales, England. I have always enjoyed working with animals, and believe in the symbiotic relationships that plants and animals share.
My first job was working as a farm hand when I was 11yrs. Growing up in a migrant Italian family, we tendered the home garden, made preserves and ate with attention to providence. When I turned 15 I left school to start a Chefs Apprenticeship. I had never given much thought to being a chef but once I started working in restaurants I was hooked. As a young chef, I knew that I wanted to cook with the sorts of ingredients that I grew up eating. Real ingredients from the hands that farmed or foraged them. To pursue this commitment I traveled and worked with some of the best chefs in Australia and aboard. When I turned 20yrs, I moved to Paris to work with one of the most respected French chefs, Alain Ducass. I Spent 2 years working for him in Paris and London before returning to Australia to take on senior positions in kitchens here as well as consulting and running my own place. After 15 years of working in restaurants I decided to take a break and explore some of my other passions in life, which is how I returned to farming.
My Mum reminded me that becoming a farmer was one of my aspirations as a child. My Nonno (grandfather) was an orchardist and my Nonna (grandmother) also worked in olive and citrus groves. Like so many others, I was only one generation from my farming roots. Our parents and grandparents wanted a better life for their children so encouraged them to move away from farming. In Italian, "contadino" is the word for farmer, but it is also the word for peasant! This explains a lot relating to why the youth were encouraged to work away from the land.
I moved back to Italy in 2010 and got inspired while working with an incredible Biodynamic Vigneron, Stefano Bellotti. He exemplified what Biodynamics and natural systems farming looked like after 40 years. You asked him about wine and he spoke about plant and human health, he inspired me to farm in this way, always.
After some time back in Australia interning with Joyce Wilkie and Michel Plane of Allsun Farm, I took on the field foreman position at Foxglove Farm in BC, Canada, under the tutelage of farmer, author, Michael Ableman. This is where I met Falani and we managed fruit, vegetable and livestock production there on 120 acres.
I was born in August 2016 and my parents took me to the farm 5 days later to watch them start the spring plantings of carrots and beetroots. Being outside and hanging with my folks is loads of fun. I love eating carrots, turnips, radishes, fennel, marigold flowers and most other things. I also love playing with irrigation drip line and standing in the harvest cart.
In early 2016, we met Melissa and David Savill from 'YourFarmer' Biodynamic Beef farm and they are very generously renting us a section of their land. It is a little pocket of paradise, tucked in amongst rolling hills, with beautiful, deep basalt soils.