We are very much a contributor to the local community employing only local people. We either grow our own organic produce (including figs, oranges, lemons, olives, tomatoes, peaches, squash and many other vegetables) or buy from local sources wherever possible. We are one of 80 families that are members of the local olive oil cooperative producing a well known brand. We encourage visitors to take a tour of the olive oil factory and to buy the local products there.
Our restaurant has, as you would expect, a menu featuring the best of Spanish and local recipes always using seasonal crops. Our staff who have been educated locally, normally come to us with a minimum of skills, and we provide on the job training and will also pay for any relevant courses they may wish to take.
Periana our local village has a population of about 3500 and apart from growing olives relies on travelers. Our guests normally shop, eat and drink in the village, and of course make use of local services such as taxis. The villagers are having a particularly dificult time due to olive prices dropping by 25% last year and of course it is a once a year pay day for them. For many years unemployment in Axarquia has been near 20% and now with the recession even worse, therefore every visitor to this region does make a major contribution.
We have extensively renovated the cluster of cottages since taking over four years ago and employ local craftsmen and always use local stone from our own resources. We have continued to make them more environmentally friendly with low energy lighting, reverse cycle airconditioning, on site recycling facilities, and we also recycle used vegetable oils from our restaurant into biodiesel. In winter we supply our own olive wood for the log burning stoves.
The swimming pool uses a soft water system which reduces the need for chemicals and is fenced to the highest EU standards for child safety. All grey water is filtered and used to irrigate the olive groves and shortly we will be installing the latest technology from Denmark to make it possible to recycle 100% of our waste water. This water will be invaluable to our extensive gardens where we use non chemical pest control wherever possible.
To prevent inconsiderate use of airconditioning we have installed meters and this has totally eliminated waste. We also encourage guests to switch off all equipment with standby modes and have notices reminding them about wasting water and electricity. Wherever possible lighting is controlled by time clocks.
Being green in Spain is not always easy and it took over three years to obtain a bottle bank, and then only after a letter to the Mayor! We also separate our other waste such as cardboard and take to a recycling point. We produce no brochures and rely on the Internet for publicity. Computer cartridges are recycled and mobile phones and old computers are donated to charity.