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Sustainable hotel practices – organic farming, permaculture, and self-supply

Fortunately, the hotel industry is more and more implementing eco-friendly actions such as water-saving toilet flushing, garbage separation, or using towels and bed linens several times. Obviously, the sustainability requirements to become a Green Pearls® member are more comprehensive than this: the requirements are about the management plan, the architecture, environmental protection regarding water consumption, energy, and waste management, housekeeping, how employees are treated, and about the social projects our members engage in. In the series “Sustainable hotel practices,” you will learn about how theGreen Pearls® partners live these criteria every day. This newsletter will focus on organic farming, permaculture, and self-supply.


Bio-vegan farming at Agrivilla i pini


The holistic vegan hotel i pini in Tuscany fully avoids animal products also regarding the construction method, furnishing, or food. Moreover, what you are served here is mainly homegrown in the organic garden. Native fruits, vegetables, and many herbs are grown on living soil. Preventing the extinction of fruit varieties, the hosts grow almost forgotten and rare types of fruits and vegetables. Due to the land cover, compost and crop rotation, the fossil clay soil’s richness is conserved and even increased. Raised beds and herbs create a microclimate spirals. Besides the homegrown fruits and greens, i pini also grows organic vines and manufactures organic olive oil on their bio-vegan farms.


The soil is fertilized with compost of legumes, sunflowers, clover, mustard, and herb slurry. The plants are watered with rainwater according to the moon phases to save resources, and strengthen the plants. Preparing the soil for winter helps regenerating and vitalizes its richness. In line with i pini’s vegan principle that “animals and plants are our friends,” there is nothing like “pests” to fight – every microbe belongs here and is part of the gardening team. Particularly threatened by monocultures and pesticides, bees are indulged at the vegan hotel’s garden: on 14 hectares land, you can find various insect hotels, and shelters for bats, wild bees, and butterflies. The honey is also produced vegan – meaning that the bees keep it!


The seasons’ rhythm at Leitlhof


In the South Tyrolean hotel Leitlhof at Innichen, many key principles are about permaculture. One profits from the knowledge gathered during the past centuries and lives consciously according to the seasons. Hence, the season decides about the menu. A stone’s throw away from the Hotel, you can find the hotels own agricultural farm: The farm called Mühlhof is specialized in natural and organic sheep breeding. The lamb meat served at the hotel comes solely from their own farm, just like most of the greens and herbs. The homegrown ingredients covers most of the ingredients needed. All the rest is purchased from local farmers. Fine marmalades, herbal and elderflower liquors, cheese, honey, and many more delicacies are either manufactured directly at Leitlhof or in Innichen. 


Sustainable actions are essential to the Leitlhof; this implies middle and long term planning, continuous control and optimization regarding the business processes. The hotel’s energy supply is fully autonomous combining wood power plants, photovoltaic systems and drying of wood chips in two underground silos. Thus the environment is protected and CO2 emissions are not only compensated, but also actively reduced. And all of these sustainable actions have an additional lasting side effect: A family business such as Leitlhof contributing in green actions and believing in a change, inspire their employees and guests to take some green actions themselves. 


Sustaining nature’s cycle at Schloss Wartegg


At Schloss Wartegg near Lake Constance, the hotel’s kitchen is fully supplied with vegetables and herbs by its own Demeter-certified garden. Priority here is a biodynamic economic system focusing on living soil, which is nurtured with medical plants and compost with many substances in it to maintain the soil’s richness and facilitate biodiversity. Keeping rare livestock furthermore fosters biodiversity: some of the critically endangered Bündner Oberländer Schafe live in the hotels garden where the rare type of runner beans, “Klapproth-Lila-Scheke” is grown. 


Keeping nature balanced is a key principle for gardening at Schloss Wartegg. If the balance is violated once, pests increase. Therefore, natural cycles are taken into account and enhanced: sheep manure is used as natural fertilizer for the garden while insects pollinate the plants. For the wellbeing of the 15 bee colonies, meadows were created flowering almost during the whole year. 

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