ALPINE PERMACULTURE CIMALMOTTO
AQUACULTURE – WATHERMANAGEMENT MUNT LA REITA
Munt la Reita is located in the Lepontine Alps, in a side arm of Maggia Valley at an elevation of 1’430 metres above sea level. The eight members of the Senn family decided to live here close to 20 years ago. They built this alpine permaculture farm with a great deal of skill and have continuously optimised and refined it with innovative thinking and actions ever since.
They are also very advanced in terms of energy with their water turbine and their photovoltaic and solar power systems.
What drives them is the desire to maintain this wonderful mountain region, and they have always worked the land according to sound ecological and biological principles. Now, a permaculture system is being set up on around 15 hectares.
When you come here from the valley, the first thing you see is two idyllic ponds and a first inviting spot to sit down and take everything in. It is located above the first organic permaculture garden herb terraces. The view is simply wonderful.
Farther towards Munt la Reita, you will find a lattice retaining wall covered with plants and additional herb terraces. There is also a bench here, in the midst of the intoxicating scents. The herb permaculture gardens include heat traps to resist the extreme temperatures in the mountains and to promote the development of the essential oils.
Water management is optimised throughout the site.
The excess water from heavy rains is captured, stored, slowed and directed in a targeted manner. In this way, it can be used for good instead of potentially causing damage: for raising fish, for watering during dry periods, for keeping ducks, for storing heat, for reflecting sunlight, and for generating energy. Nutrient-rich humus can also be collected from the reservoir. At the same time, it provides a habitat for many different organisms and enhances the permaculture landscape.
The soft fruit orchards are set up on terraces and in combination with aquaculture installations.
The long ponds provide for additional sun exposure for the berry bushes. Terraces are formed with the help of Mangalica pigs. The mulch for the berry bushes is obtained from the ponds below and the organic meadow above.
The organic vegetable garden is surrounded by a natural hedge, which protects it from the weather and wildlife. There will also be cultivated berry bushes on the protected inner side of the wild hedge. The uppermost section contains two duck ponds in which the water is enriched with nutrients. The entire vegetable organic garden is automatically watered from these ponds with an interconnected system of swales. A compost system will be created as an additional source of nutrients. Existing fruit trees will also be integrated into the system in permaculture plant guilds.
Another element in this permaculture system is the multi-functional solar greenhouse. This must wait until the third permaculture project implementation phase, however, to be built. Thanks to a clever design, it will be usable for the entire year at this elevation without additional fossil energy. It will serve to grow young permaculture plants and also to house small animals in the winter.
A previously existing and very diverse marsh area will be maintained and protected as a wilderness zone.