Two Years On: The evolution of The Xara Gardens & The Xara Palace Relais & Châteaux’s sustainability initiatives

Megan Williams

Megan Williams

Catering Manager 14th February 2024
Megan Williams

Megan Williams

Catering Manager

Two Years On: The evolution of The Xara Gardens & The Xara Palace Relais & Châteaux’s sustainability initiatives

This February marks two years since the launch of The Xara Gardens in Malta and their revolutionary aquaponics system. At The Xara Gardens, with the guidance of expert farmers and Sustainable Resource Innovator Michael Bourne, the team are actively and perceptibly looking for a more sustainable way of doing business. The Xara Collection is essentially a pioneer in investing in innovative practices in sustainable growth.

Cutting down on waste
Many of the vegetables used in the various restaurants across The Xara Collection portfolio are now home-grown. In the two years since the reveal of The Xara Gardens, the team have also incorporated several additional sustainable concepts including: waste food recycling, upscaling of waste material including wood and carton boxes, the storage of rainwater and water retention techniques in the fields to reduce water required for irrigation and the elimination of pesticides (through companion planting). These sustainable practices further highlight The Xara Collection’s commitment to sustainability.

Multitrophic Aquaponic Microfarm
The revolutionary aquaponics system that was first installed in February 2022 has now significantly improved, growing in size and now incorporating a microgreens room: a temperature-controlled aquaponics system that automatically waters microgreens and provides additional nutrients to produce the healthiest microgreens, which are then used across The Xara Collection’s various restaurants. These microgreens are grown through the aquaponics system, using food waste from The Xara Collection’s various outlets, which is then fed to insects and used as food for fish. The nutrient-rich fish waste is used as fertiliser to produce top-quality, chemical-free, nourishing and delicious greens for The Xara Collection’s various eateries, such as Michelin-Star restaurant, De Mondion.

Sustainable Resource Innovator: Michael Bourne
In order to continue celebrating their sustainability mission and further drive sustainable initiatives, Michael Bourne has been hired as The Xara Collection’s ‘Sustainable Resource Innovator’ - a pioneering first for the collection. Michael designed and implemented the entire aquaponics system at The Xara Gardens, and now continues to manage and operate the aquaponics system, as well as the microgreens room and The Xara Gardens in its entirety. By hiring a professional to champion sustainability within the collection, The Xara Collection demonstrates its unwavering commitment to making sustainable choices across their collection of restaurants and at The Xara Palace.

Farm to Fork
The Xara Collection’s farming experts and chefs work together to establish which seasonal crops to grow, which will ultimately find themselves on the menus of the various restaurants within the collection. These menus are tweaked on a weekly basis to ensure that the collection’s chefs are using the freshest and most seasonal ingredients possible, to really enhance that ‘farm to fork’ experience for guests and customers. This has also guaranteed a huge reduction in fuel miles, which would result from deliveries on trucks from third party suppliers.

Justin Zammit Tabona, Director at The Xara Collection, comments: “We are all very proud of our continuous efforts to push our gastronomic boundaries through our unique sustainable project at The Xara Gardens by making a better world through cuisine and hospitality, and continually pushing Malta on the international gastronomic map.”

Michael Bourne, Sustainable Resource Innovator at The Xara Collection, adds: “I am extremely proud of how The Xara Gardens have grown since we first introduced the aquaponics system in February 2022. We are now generating an incredible amount by just the microgreens room alone, which demonstrates the amazing power of sustainability when it’s done right. I can’t wait to see how sustainability continues to grow across The Xara Collection.”

HOW: To find out more about The Xara Gardens, please visit The Xara Collection’s website here:

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.