During my recent visit to Malta I got to visit three places that are helping the Maltese to live a greener lifestyle.
1) Permaculture Research Foundation Malta, run by Peppi Gauci, maintains the Bahrija Oasis. After passing via a small path through a stand of bamboo, one enters a beautiful area transformed from previously unproductive land into a peaceful, lush and self-sustaining green sanctuary. Based on principles of permaculture which embrace nature as its prime example of design, Peppi and his team grow fields of vegetables organically, and grow plants via aquaponics– plants grow over a small man-made pond–as the plant roots feed on the waste of the fish, the fish feed off the nutrients provided by the plants. The Bahrija Oasis site is solar powered, and there is a system of composting toilets also called “humanure” toilets, which do not use any water and produce compost that can be used on ornamental plants. The site features circular geodesic domes which are used for meditation and meetings. The Foundation offers retreats and training courses for those wishing to learn by this inspiring example.
2) Vincent’s EcoFarm is a certified organic farm in Mgarr. I visited while in Malta, and it was a real treat to see the large variety of beautiful plants growing there including numerous vegetables, herbs olives and red Gellewza grapes, which are indigenous to Malta. The farm has a mobile trailer for chickens who naturally fertilize the soil with their droppings, and are not killed– they are left to live out their natural life. People can come to pick up vegetables and preserves on a daily basis. The farm is owned by Gloria Camilleri (who drives an adorable electric vehicle), and is named after her father Vincent. The farm is operating a beautifully decorated, modern yet rustic bed and breakfast, and hosts healthy eating and yoga workshops.
3) D Street – Dressed by Nature ecofashion store in Sliema features stylish clothing made from eco-friendly, plant-based fabrics including organic cotton, Tencel (from eucalyptus), and bamboo. Owned by a young Italian woman, there are clothes for both men and women, for work or casual, and there are even socks and hemp shoes for sale. Items are made in Italy the US and other countries and are fair-trade conscious.
More Green Malta tips: There is a Vegetarian Society of Malta and a growing number of healthy eateries, such as The Grassy Hopper and Gugar in Valletta. Health food stores such as Casa Natura in Sliema and Good Earth in St. Julian’s help support a healthy lifestyle. While most local farms may use pesticides, as part of the European Union, Malta does not allow the growing of genetically modified crops, and GMO products are labeled. And, Malta was the first country to ban the use of the chemical Glyphosate (Roundup)!