As ambassadors to the Kingdom, Six Senses Bhutan is also committed to reducing the carbon footprint resulting from our guests' activities, activities, excurions and operations that are associated with our lodges and spas. Six Senses Bhutan is collaborating with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) to develop an ecological village with support from local farmers. Additionally, each lodge features an organic garden focused on growing the freshest produce native to each valley’s climate and altitude. Through the eco village and gardens, Six Senses Bhutan will serve what it grows in the aim of self-sufficiency. This commitment drastically reduces the environmental footprint of the lodges. Additionally, an onsite reverse osmosis plant and crystal water refinery collects and produces high-quality drinking water, which is distributed in glass bottles for guest consumption.
In Bhutan, traditional cuisine features local cheeses, vegetables and spices while a substantial portion of produce, dairy products, proteins and grain are imported. To change this trend, Six Senses Bhutan is investing in the local farming landscape by developing a 17-acre ecological village in Paro, which will grow dozens of varieties of fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers. The vision is to blend traditional Bhutanese cuisine with organic “superfoods” such as kale, quinoa and chia seeds. Because agriculture is the top employer in the Kingdom of Bhutan, we are collaborating closely with local residents such as farmer Chenda, as well as the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF). Ultimately, this organic and sustainable village will be unlike anything the country has ever seen and it will serve as an educational center for the local community, children, hosts and guests. Located in Damchena Village, the eco-village is also home to dairy cows, donkeys, horses and chickens. Onsite, the lodge plans to grow almost all of its own produce, make fresh breakfast cheeses, brew herbal teas, concoct seasonal tonics for beverages, and more. Currently, the following are growing at the village and are expected to be harvested this fall: grapes, apples, peaches, plums, lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, peppers, beans, pumpkins, zucchinis, artichokes, chia seeds and quinoa. In line with our aim for zero waste, the eco-village is constructed from extra wood left on the construction site at our nearby lodge. The wood is reused and recycled to build pagodas, vegetable beds, fences and chicken coops. To ensure all produce is 100 percent organic, herbs such as citronella and lavender are planted to provide natural defenses. To combat the challenges of cold winters, greenhouses are being designed in collaboration with local farmers and the MoAF. The immediate success of our eco-village culminates in crafting incredible menus and memorable dining experiences for guests, such as enjoying a private dinner in the 15th century stone ruins or participating in cooking classes where seasonal ingredients are hand-picked. The possibilities are endless. The long-term success of the eco-village will be the investment in the future of Bhutanese farming. By introducing new crops and best farming practices, we can offer training courses and educate the community in nutrition and recycling. Already, our hosts have held fun and informative events to introduce people to new health foods not previously produced in Bhutan, such as beetroot chips, quinoa-sesame biscuits and chia seeds. Other events have focused on teaching recycling and waste management practices to kindergarten students who are eager and curious to learn about the world around them. Six Senses Country Food & Beverage Manager Roy Todemann said, “As one of the four pillars of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) philosophy, environmental conservation is carefully woven into our design and operation. Working closely with the local community, we aspire to transform Bhutan’s farming and garden landscape over the next several years by sharing best practices in organic farming, nutrition, recycling and waste management. Through our partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, our eco-village will be the first of many around the Kingdom of Bhutan. Our wonderful hosts are working hard to share our Six Senses values and vision with the community. We are excited to see the impact we can have working together.”