Saturday, March 24 is the annual celebration of Earth Hour. People around the world are encouraged to turn out their lights for an hour at 8:30 pm local time to join in a communal celebration of acknowledgement and encouragement of adopting environmentally friendly practices.
Here at the resort, we’ve been early adopters for a long time. A working farm since the early 1900’s the family has always tried to take a best practice approach. They rotate crops on the field and in the vegetable garden to prevent depletion of nutrients in the soil. This year we’re even moving the tomatoes to give the garden and the tomato tunnel greenhouse a break. We have a chicken coop. The youngest generation harvests the eggs. We have a small herd of beef cattle. We have both riding horses and workhorses (the big Clydesdales). The chickens eat our vegetable scraps from the kitchen. The cattle graze on hay and grass, and their final diet is composed in part from a local corn-processing plant. The corn is used three ways; feed, ethanol, and husks for post-recycle fibre production. Thanks to all the animals, we have no shortage of manure. It’s stored and aged to be used as fertilizer where appropriate.
We have a unique heating and hot water system here at the resort. A huge boiler is heated by reclaimed ground-up wood waste. The heated water flows through pipes which heat the main building and supply hot water to the washrooms and the kitchen.
Ah, the kitchen. We purchase and consume great amounts of product in preparing for our guests. When possible, we use our own products or those available from local farmers, growers and crafters. Our environmental commitment in our kitchen includes composting, recycling of cardboard and packing material, and learning how to have a smaller environmental footprint on our property.
The newest part of our team is the Clydesdale of the kitchen. Our new workhorse of a dishwasher machine was purchased and installed after detailed research. On busy days we do upwards of 100 cycles. It’s an energy efficient machine, using significantly less hydro than our old machine. The chemicals have been designed with a septic system in mind, less are used per cycle; they break down easier and leave less of a footprint.
Our new dishwasher uses far less water than the old one. This is important because our water is a) drawn from a well; and b) disposed of through a septic system. On average, our machine will use a quarter of a million liters less per year than before. That’s 250,000 liters less out of the well, and the same amount not going into the septic system. Every year. In a time of concern about climate change and its effect on environments at all scales, we feel it’s important be as pro-active as possible.
We continue to be an active farm, garden and buyer of local products. We’re moving towards ensuring our fish choices are Ontario-based and harvested in a sustainable manner. We celebrate local wines, beers, and distillers in our cellar, on tap, and at the bar. It’s important we continue to grow and develop “best practices” to ensure that the resort’s history also has a sustainable future.
Earth Hour is a great opportunity to promote awareness. But good habits call us to become sustainable.
Culinary Team Leader