Sustainability in practice
Torri Superiore and the Ecovillage are the same thing: the Ecovillage includes all the resident and non-resident members, and all guests t are invited to follow the principles of the group. Right from the start, the idea of restoring the village was based on ecological principles and social sustainability. Participation in the networks of Ecovillages G.E.N. (Global Ecovillage Network) and R.I.V.E. (Italian network of ecological villages) and the international permaculture movement has stimulated the group to focus and achieve its goals in an increasingly ecological way.
The resident community meets once a week and uses the consensus decision-making method. Also, the cultural association is moving towards the use of this method in its meetings. The cooperative Ture Nirvane (with female majority) gives work to some residents and applies internal mutuality and third party practices. In 2016 it founded, together with other enterprises of the area, the “Network of Enterprises Terre di Confine” that creates employment and activities based on social solidarity and environmental sustainability.
(www.responsabilitasociale.coop/index.php/la-piazza) for the 2012 social report.
Local stone, natural lime (for plasters and wall paintings) and natural insulating materials (cork, coconut fibres) have been used in the restoration works. All windows are made of sustainable wood, treated with eco-enamels and ecological wall paintings. Much of the hot water is produced with solar panels, and low-temperature heating systems are installed both in the accommodation and in some private houses (in which the 18 ° C is not exceeded). Much of the electricity of the cultural center is self-produced with photovoltaic panels. A compost toilet is available (operating externally), and a small water-filter with plants has been created for a private housing unit.
Vegetable gardens and orchards are inspired by permaculture principles, and provide fresh fruit and vegetables to the common kitchens. Many vegetables and most of the eggs are bought by the social cooperative SPES which is based in Varase (4 km from Torri), which cultivates with organic methods and integrates disadvantaged people and asylum seekers. We produce at home many foods: olive oil, bread, fresh pasta, honey, jam, local herbal teas.
The food style is based on fresh fruits and vegetables, pasta and rice, legumes, cheeses, with limited meat or fish. The food purchased is mostly organic, or locally sourced, or at least national. In winter, the central wood oven for bread and pizzas is in operation. Frozen food, pre-cooked, genetically modified, ready-to-use foods are not used.
All food scraps are used to feed the animals or are composed. We make separate collection of all our waste, and reuse and recycle everything we can.
We have around 5 cars for 20 residents, and we encourage the use of public transport also for guests (local train and bus). We also have a donkey that we use to transport to and from the campaigns.
We still have many projects to grow the Ecovillage: With the ending of the restoration of the cultural center and private homes, we have increased the amount of solar thermal panels and installed the photovoltaic system. We want to increase as much as possible the quantity of self-produced food with permaculture and sustainable methods in collaboration with the SPES, and minimize the amount of waste by closing more and more the energy cycles