Sustainability is most often defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.
It has three main pillars: economic, environmental, and social and this is what it means for us.
The I Ciacca project must be self supporting – in other words it needs to be profitable – although we have taken the unfashionable view that the investment will be for the long term requiring in the short term a sufficient return to meet running costs and working capital – with our investment return being long term. We have chosen not to be industrial in scale but artisan in nature. That means costs are very high. So profitability can only be achieved by highest quality products and services appreciated by markets prepared to pay the appropriate price.
Our environmental ethos is multilayered
- We exist in the National Park in an area of high biodiversity and our land clearing sought to maintain that by retaining mature trees and existing drainage ditches, etc.
- We encourage eating seasonal, local produce, recognising that traditional preserving techniques and freezing are essential skills to deal with surplus seasonal products and give variety in the kitchen.
- We are not a closed system farm, but we are organic from a philosophical perspective - meaning that if possible we will use natural techniques. For example, we use green manures (ie beans and barley to stimulate plant growth and soil management.
- We plan to be self sufficient in energy – underfloor electric heating, sophisticated hot water systems, induction cookers, solar panels, wind turbines and modern energy storage batteries.
- We have introduced rainwater storage systems for watering and other farm needs and for toilets, and we are actively searching for a natural ground water source for drinking water.
- We have used traditional building techniques and materials, where possible and sensible, given the earthquake protection works which required to be carried out
We are working with the local community to preserve knowledge, culture and traditions. We employ principally a young team and encourage them to extend their knowledge and education;
- With the help of people in Scotland USA, Canada and Italy we have gathered over 100 local recipes, translated in english and italian, which is nearly ready for publication.
- We are working with the local School of Agriculture to provide work experience for students.
- We are working with the School and a local group who help disabled children to design, plant and manage a vegetable garden to serve the Cookery School.
- The Cookery School will employ local housewives to teach traditional dishes and techniques to visitors
- We have arranged a first 5 day school visit from Scotland, which will include visits to various local food producers as well as some pasta/ pizza making experience and a final party involving a local folk group.
- We are working with a number of local and international guides to persuade them of the benefits of working together,
- We are working with an English artist from Picinisco who is working to establish an Accademia of Art based here
- The restoration of I Ciacca and our collaborative approach is giving HOPE to the local community
Going forward we continue to strive to create:
- Collaboration among local businesses
- Collaboration among Universities and Colleges abroad and in Italy
- A Partnership between Education and Commerce
- A Sustainable Non Profit Foundation