The carbon emissions emitted in producing the food you eat on holiday can often surpass
those emitted by the plane you use to get there, and the accommodation you stay at. But not at this northern Cyprus eco hotel
. Because so many of the ingredients come from within a few kilometres, your carbon ‘food-print’ is miniscule. And that environmental accolade is a key principle of the slow food movement of which the Çelebi Garden Hotel is a member.
Slow food is a global, grassroots movement that originated in Italy, that aims to celebrate local food culture and traditions, and challenge their disappearance. Cittaslow, meanwhile, the network to which the village of Mehmetçik belongs, seeks to expand the ‘eco-gastronomy’ and community enhancing ideals of the Slow Food Movement to local government.
“We want to provide our guests with organic meals as far as possible because we’re part of slow food movement,” says Buse, whose mother is an agricultural engineer. “Historically people here have planted unsuitable trees from the Aegean region and Turkey that require a lot of water as well as high usage of pesticides. So, we took traditional Cypriot olive, carob and grape seeds to the government’s agri-research department and distributed them to local people which helps them get better yields while using less water and chemicals. I’m a board member of the regional olive cooperative and every year we plant around 80,000 trees. In 2022 all of them were grown from our seeds.”
Helping farmers use less water has never been so important. Cyprus is among the most parched countries in Europe, and with climate change will come hotter weather and significantly decreased rainfall
. If Mehmetçik’s grape and olive harvests are to continue through the generations as they have done to date, it’s vital that the farming isn’t so water-intensive in future.