It’s not easy being green, running an Absolutely everything included kids’ paradise holiday resort in the middle of the southern French countryside. As our name suggests, we are not in a city. We’re not even in a village. We are situated on our own ‘Mas’, which is what we call a farm down here in Occitanie.
‘Le Mas Pandit’ is an old Roquefort dairy that is surrounded by picturesque rolling green hills. Just above the diverse microclimates and outdoor paradises that are the Salagou valley and the Haut Languedoc National Park. So, it’s only right that we would want to do our best to look after it all.
So where do we begin? Well, we decided to appoint one of our team as an ‘Eco-Champion’, to evaluate our practices and how we could do better. Together over the years we’ve implemented some pretty big changes here at Country Kids.
Make the best use of our own source
One of the biggest challenges we face is plastic waste. While we recycle everything we can, we still didn’t feel great about filling up the big recycling bin every week! So, we decided to make full use of one of our greatest assets.
We have a fresh water source that runs down to us from the Larzac plateau. Installing water filters and UV treatments means this is perfectly safe to drink and very tasty too! We also ensure every family has use of reusable water bottles they can use throughout their stay. While we still stock plastic water bottles in our shop, we also have reusable glass bottles in the fridges topped up with the good stuff too! This has made a huge dent in plastic mountain!
Innovation at the heart of green transition
There was still more we could do. We try to ensure that while our guests are with us, they never have to lift a finger. We have always provided ready meals that we prepared on site, froze and stored in the bar, ready for easy re-heating. Voila, a family meal with no effort whatsoever. This process required huge energy consumption during both preparation and storage (the worse culprit being the three freezers constantly running) as well as huge amounts of used packaging that inevitably added to that big old recycling bin!
So, controversial as it may be, we’ve ditched the idea! While we still have some old favourites ready at a moment’s notice, we have decided to pair up with a local business to provide us with some meal options instead. This innovative little company provides a huge range of both classic and modern French dishes, preserved in glass containers. These meals can be stored at ambient temperature and best of all, we send back the containers to be re-used. Two green birds with one stone!
Food miles was our next challenge. We needed to ensure we have the smallest carbon footprint when sourcing the great local produce for our guests. So, we have tried to stay as local as possible!
We only work with grocers from the local village who provide us with wonderful fresh seasonal produce all year round. Our meat comes from a local farmer (our neighbour in fact) as well as a local butcher who prides himself on using only organic and locally sourced produce. For everything else, we use our staff to collect our weekly shopping en-route to us on their commute, reducing the carbon footprint of a delivery! All of this combined, results on better produce for our kitchen team to use and inevitably for our guests’ plates!
We also ensure we only work with local artisans for repairs and creations on site and for interior decoration. You can even visit the workshop of a local potter who provides us with the stylish coffee cups and water jugs for our tasty spring water in each accommodation.
Languedoc is the most organic wine region in France
Our wine cellar has vintages from over 20 Domaine’s, all from the local area. We continue to source new and innovative wine makers each year who share our eco friendly values. One of our newest additions is so eco-friendly, he uses his trusty horses to work in the vines instead of a tractor and uses a secret mixture of natural ingredients including goats’ milk and oranges to create a natural pesticide to protect his vines throughout the year. And most importantly, the wine is delicious too. In fact, all of our newest additions to La Cave this year work in a way that puts the environment first!
Along with the big changes, we continue to ensure everyone here helps out as the smallest gestures can create the biggest change. By turning off the light switches, fans and air conditioners when we’re not in the room in the summer, we can try and save enough energy to power our pool heater through the spring!
We’ve also just installed an electric charging point in the car park for our guests who travel to us by electric car!
So, we’re not perfect yet, but nobody is. Together as a team we are always trying to do better to protect the magnificent environment around us whilst at the same time ensuring all of our guests have the holiday of a lifetime! After all, without the fauna and flora, the place simply wouldn’t be as magical
To find out more about our big changes, our continuous drive towards eco-responsibility and your next luxury family holiday in the south of France, give us a call +33(0)6 77 54 56 00 or drop us an email [email protected] !