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How Do We Live Consciously?

 

Our aim at Ka’Way Monti is to eventually be extremely self-sustainable, leaving no ecological footprint, and needing minimal outsourcing for inputs and materials. This said, it is a work in progress and we have a long way to go! So far, some things we do to live consciously include the following:

  • We source as much of our food as possible from the local farming community. Most of our potatoes, herbs, fava beans and other root crops come from our neighbours, rather than from the market in Huaraz. Eventually we would like to set up a full organic farmers co-operative to unite the local farmers and give them a more reliable income source. This is a work in progress!

  • We have two composting dry toilets, partially made from recycled rubbish.

  • We recently constructed an earthen cob oven. This also used recycled garbage, using old glass bottles for insulation.

  • Greywater from the kitchen is filtered through stones and hay, and then recycled in the garden.

  • Our energy source is renewable: we use a solar panel to provide our electricity. Due to the small amount of electricity, we do not use electrical kitchen appliances. In the future we will perhaps put in a small hydro-electric system to run off the stream by our property.

  • Natural glacier stream water is our water source. This is what we use for cooking, drinking, washing, and laundry (and we aim not to pollute the stream with soap).

  • Fresh raw milk is delivered from our neighbours’ cows. By not buying cartoned milk, we are reducing rubbish and minimizing our use of packaged processed items that need to be purchased from Huaraz. From this milk we also make our own yoghurt and occasionally, cheese. 

  • We keep chickens to provide us with eggs. We still have to subsidize by buying eggs from town, but our chickens definitely help to reduce our reliance on groceries from Huaraz.

  • Our fridge is a miniature in-ground pantry that is kept cool through shadow and the natural thermal insulation of earth.

  • Our aim is to produce as much food as possible in our own gardens, although this is a work in progress (especially considering that high altitude puts many limits on what we can grow here!). We would eventually like to be completely self sustainable and grow everything that we eat.

  • Currently none of our rubbish goes to Huaraz. We are trying to work out other ways of dealing with it, by using the materials in as many ways as possible. All of our organic waste is composted. We use old glass bottles as insulation in our natural building projects. We have drinking glasses made out of old wine bottles, and ashtrays made out of old cans. We are also working on making wallets out of used wine boxes and other tetra-pak cartons. When guests leave behind thin plastics (bags, packaging etc.), we condense them into eco-bottle-bricks: A plastic bottle stuffed with compressed plastic and non-organic waste. We then use these bottle-bricks as insulation in our building projects (you can see a clear example in the dog-kennel walls). We ask all of our visitors to please take any of your rubbish back with you when you go down to Huaraz, to minimise our ecological footprint.

     

We’re striving for sustainability, although we’re not there yet, and realistically we’re far from it. There are many projects underway and ideas for the future; hopefully this helps to give an idea of the direction we’re going in.

Some things we would like to see in the future, outside of just a fully sustainable garden and perhaps animal husbandry program, would be things like:
 

  • More varieties of high-altitude specific greenhouses; to be able to grow things like squashes, tomatoes, and fruits, and other species that usually don’t grow at altitude or in the cold and frost.

  • More chickens so that we don’t need to buy any eggs from town.

  • Rain-water catchment systems on every building, to make the most of the wealth of water during the rainy season. This water would then water our gardens during the dry season.

  • A fully functioning non-electric fridge

  • Solar heated water

  • A bio-digester

  • Hydro power from the canal