Homegrown energy allows farmers to control their own electricity supply

A co-operative, CRERAL, comprised of 6,000 farmer families, based in Brazil on the border of Uruguay and Argentina, "work like any other private company." Beginning as "a union of rural workers," these families "got organized", and "demanded control." What is so interesting about this group of farmers is that they took it upon themselves to "control their own electricity supply." They use the local resources they have to create their own renewable electricity. Before taking control of their own energy, only a few people within the co-operative would make the decisions, where now over 1,000 members attend decision making meetings. Here, "everybody has a say." "The co-operative doesn't charge people" for the energy they use; everyone is trusted to give their word on how much energy they have consumed. This system has given members of the co-op the opportunity to "now run small agro-industries in the regions, improving the income of the people." The co-op is now "researching how to produce biogas and electricity from the waste." Afraid that their region would be overtaken by monocultures, "they decided to produce their own fuel by using "small sugar cane plantations" used to feed animals, to produce ethanol. "Now they can produce their own energy for electricity supply and they can also produce their own fuel to distribute the products and the foods that they produce in the region." "Shorten distances between production and consumption."

Lucia Ortiz. "Homegrown energy," Climate Justice--Grassroots Solutions. New Internationalist January/February 2009, 24.

#farming #agriculture #foodproduction #energy #smallfarmers