Sustainable Gastronomy Day 2021: Club Mahindra’s Food Sustainability Initiatives & Innovations
As one of India’s leading travel brands, Club Mahindra recognises the importance of sustainability and is committed to conserving the ecological integrity of all our locations. Achieving food sustainability is, therefore, an important part of our resort operations.
The world over, travelers are looking for more local authentic experiences, starting with what is served on their plates. And this leads to increased scrutiny on the origin and procurement of food. Sustainable food is a combination of factors including how the food is produced, how it is distributed, packaged, and consumed. Hence, our efforts are not confined to organic farming but are also focused on water conservation; authentic ways of cooking; buying local produce; food waste management; and even encouraging ways for local small entrepreneurs to develop and sell sustainably grown produce.
On this Sustainable Gastronomy Day 2021, Club Mahindra shares with you some of the food sustainability measures we have adopted across our resorts.
Organic Farming has been one of our prime focus areas, and has become a routine across numerous Club Mahindra Resorts. Seasonal fruits, vegetables, edible flowers, and herbs are grown in small gardens within many of our resorts.
Apart from this, we also use microgreens (young vegetables picked just after they have developed cotyledon leaves) for garnishing and adding visual appeal to vegetarian meals in our buffets. This sustainable food practice is being followed across Club Mahindra's resorts in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Karnataka. In Himachal Pradesh, home-grown vegetables are delivered to Club Mahindra Naldehra and Club Mahindra Mashobra from Club Mahindra Kandaghat during the harvest season.
Club Mahindra Kanha, Madhya Pradesh, has gone the extra mile by using around 1.45-acres of land within the resort for organic farming. A large quantity of farm produce makes its way to the organic section of the buffet for members to relish. Our Organic Farming initiative has also benefitted the local population by generating a good amount of employment.
Water is one of the most significant natural resources and thus we make sure we do not waste or overuse it. And to achieve this goal, we are working towards making our resorts self-reliant through rainwater harvesting.
Club Mahindra Kanha is striving to become water self-reliant by bringing the technique of Rainwater Harvesting into regular practice. With its three operational rainwater harvesting pits, the Kanha resort does not have to source water from external resources.
Through the rainwater harvesting process, around 11 lakh litres of water is recharged annually. Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) water is recycled for irrigating the organic farms, gardens, and lawns at the resort. Annually, more than 60 lakh liters of water are recycled for irrigation. Water flow restrictors are also installed in all the guest rooms as a water-saving measure.
In addition to this, Club Mahindra Virajpet, has also undertaken measures for rainwater harvesting by installing aerators in all rooms.
Upholding our motto of 'Leave No Trace Behind', monitoring waste material is also part and parcel of Club Mahindra’s sustainability initiative. Waste management processes are in place at multiple resorts. For instance, Club Mahindra's resorts in Himachal Pradesh have planted Aga plants which produce natural manure with the help of the wet waste from the kitchen.
On the other hand, Club Mahindra Corbett has an organic waste decomposer (OWC) that makes manure for the garden. Every OWC keeps approximately 230kg of waste away from landfills per month - or around 3 tonnes a year.
In alignment with MHRIL’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact and create a positive environmental footprint, Club Mahindra Kanha also ensures maximum reuse/recycling of waste. All food waste is recycled and converted into manure that is used in the resort’s organic farm.
Our journey towards 'Zero Waste to Landfill' had commenced back in September 2018. The above has also led to almost 100% diversion of Club Mahindra’s Virajpet’s waste towards recycling and reusing. The resort has eliminated the use of wood as it works to convert food waste into biogas and wastewater is treated in biofilters to be used later for cooking and gardening.
Purchasing Food from Local Communities to Support Their Livelihood
We are 'vocal for local', and believe in promoting ecotourism which involves responsible travels and understanding the needs of local people. Local food procurement supports local micro-economies and we at Club Mahindra Holidays aim to strengthen our local partners.
Our aim is not only to build a healthy connection with the locals, but also to offer our customers an ultimate 'eat local' experience. We contribute to small independent businesses by procuring native produce from them. Sourcing goods and perishables from local communities allows us to give back to society by enabling their livelihood.
More than 65% of the edibles at Club Mahindra are sourced locally, positively impacting social (employment for local producers) and environmental (minimising carbon footprint) parameters. We keep our carbon footprint low by purchasing all produce locally and, as much as possible, within a 30km radius of our resorts. There are ongoing efforts to expand the network of local producers and farmers.
At Club Mahindra, sustainability matters. And we go a step beyond to mitigate any negative impact of our presence as a resort chain. The green initiatives undertaken by the Company are in association with our larger mission of ‘Good Living, Happy Families’.
Our Innovations contributing to sustainability
The Strategic Buffet
“The value of an idea lies in the using of it”, and this is something we truly believe. Club Mahindra Varca, Goa has set an interesting example by making the best of an opportunity that they initially thought was a problem.
The guests at the hotel preferred a lighter meal option during lunch. Our employees Kisholay Sharma and Kalidas Baidya put their heads together, by using Alternative Thinking. Creating a 'Mini Buffet' was the idea they implemented, and it was an instant success.
With this initiative, the number of people who lunched at the resort increased by 125%. It was a win-win for everyone. The mini-buffet provided satisfactory meals at a lower cost to the members and also avoided food wastage at the resort.
What could be better than handcrafting an experience for our members? We did it just the right way at Club Mahindra Naukuchiatal, Uttarakhand.
And the credit goes to our employees Surajit Kundu, Kamlesh Tiwari, and Dharmender Rawat who spotted a vacant place by the lakeside. Struck by the thought of curating local cuisine for the members within the resort’s premises they turned this vacant space into a little eatery.
Naming it as the ‘Tea Station”, they brought back the age-old concept of authentic cooking by introducing wood-fire cooking aka ‘Mitti Ka Chulha’. The Tea Station was set up only in three days and that too with zero investment. It was a blissful experience for the members who sat there to savour freshly-prepared Rajma and Rice during lunch hours. This filling, locally sourced, value-for-money meal has been highly appreciated by guests. Thus, the team dished it up the Club Mahindra Way.
One of the highlights of any Club Mahindra holiday is the great food we serve at our resorts. However, we also do our bit to ensure that the food we produce is sourced, prepared and served as sustainably as possible. Let us come together to observe Sustainable Gastronomy Day!