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The baskets of technologies and practices: a proposal for energy and food sovereignty of Lo Bueno del Monte, Finca Tosoly and UTA Foundation.

The UTA Foundation and the Tosoly Farm “Lo bueno del Monte” are working on the recovery of traditional rice and wheat cultivation practices to strengthen food sovereignty under an agroecological approach.

To this end, they developed ‘Sustainable Lifestyles Schools’ in which they explored the concept of “community baskets of technologies and practices”. These baskets involve the construction of integral proposals based on the reality and life project of each community; as well as equipment and knowledge useful for the agricultural production of rural communities in Santander and Boyacá.

At the Tosoly Ecological Farm development point, family process Lo Bueno del Monte and headquarters of the UTA Foundation, energy sovereignty is addressed in producing food for humans, for animals, for the soil, facilitating energy processes with the use of the farm’s waste, with appropriate and economic technologies and practices. With their work and family approach “energy and food without conflict” they show that economic, energy and food sovereignty and environmental protection can be achieved in the countryside.

Technical characteristics of the proposal

In order to help to know and recognize the crops and seeds of mountain wheat and rice, it was necessary to rescue and recover the tradition and knowledge, seeking a social construction through an innovative methodological process composed of 5 Schools of Sustainable Lifestyles. These Schools are directly linked to the teachings through the offer of “technology baskets per family” with a variety of 18 different appropriate technologies raised and others learned during the process, and implemented through practical field workshops supported by local promoters.

Technology baskets promote them in self-sufficient decentralized integrated production systems, based on the use of local resources and agroecological systems. Recycling is the backbone of the integrated production system through the implementation of the baskets of technologies that are: 

1. Continuous flow plastic biodigesters for the production of biogas for cooking, fodder chopping, piglet heating and soil fertilizer.
2. Rice and wheat cultivation in mixed farming systems 
3. Seed bank
4. Home garden for the production of human and animal food. 
5. Creole hens and chickens 
6. Native tree nursery 
Gasification of fibrous waste with gasifying stoves and utilization of heat and biochar
8. Unit is a drying unit with gasification 
9. Solar energy for lighting (12 volts) 
10. Solar heaters 
11. Gasifier for grain dryer
12. Wheat and rice threshing machine with mill for cereals 
13. Garbage recycling 
14. Soils and organic fertilizers/ Native microorganisms 
15. Rainwater harvesting 
16. Crafts with the use of by-products 
17. Processes and recipes with wheat and rice
18. Fair-agro-ecological markets

Productive, community, environmental, or economic processes or activities that were positively impacted by the implementation of the community experience of TEJ.

His family project is the Tosoly Farm, his main motivation to share his work, knowledge, know-how and experience in the implementation of productive practices within a system where energy is the fundamental axis. The Tosoly farm is the main axis to strengthen the training of people who come to recognize the work and learn by doing and living.

In economic terms, the main strength is the knowledge applied on the farm, which is the basis for recognizing the productive processes with renewable energy. Energy savings are high as well as economic savings, with practices that do not create dependence on external inputs and recyclable practices, where the use of local resources is promoted and the most important thing is the recognition by organizations, which has been motivating to continue learning and continue teaching to produce as they do in their lives, which is “The good thing about El Monte”, their productive process. Having the energy available allows them to advance in the labor chain, for example, the coffee roasting process with renewable energy.

Beneficiaries of the experience

250 women, 150 men, 70 adolescents and young adults (between 12 and 18 years of age), 30 children (between 0 and 12 years of age)

  1. One of the greatest achievements is the methodological innovation with the concept of a basket of technologies and practices.
  2. Training of promoters through sustainable lifestyle schools.
  3. Understand that to be energetically autonomous, energy sources must be combined: the sun in production systems, biodigesters, gasification, photovoltaic and thermal solar energy and biodiesel, but on a small scale. This is an area in which they ventured several years ago with some attempts, but where it is necessary to put strength.
  4. The concept of energy is broad, it goes from the energy of us human beings, energy is in every food, producing energy and food locally is a political act, it is an act of sovereignty.
  1. More than problems were challenges: the pandemic, the distances between the 7 communities in the process, but these were overcome. They consider that it is always good to have economic resources and alliances that allow for continuity in the process.
  2. They had a problem with the importation of some equipment, but they managed to solve it and today there is potential for the production of equipment at the national level.
  3. Lack of support with national resources for small proposals.
  4. Lack of attention from local authorities. They recognize the need to build trust between grassroots organizations and state institutions.
  5. Most of these initiatives are possible to work with international cooperation and feel that the outlook is not clear with the global situation.
  6. They believe that solar energy is still difficult to access because it is costly and environmentally questionable.
  7. They see the lack of a national production chain for renewable energy materials and equipment as a challenge. For example, in terms of equipment cost, technical dependence, quality, performance or efficiency, etc.

Women’s participation in the TEJ community experience

Most of them are women’s associations. They have participated as promoters, as beneficiaries, in coordination and in the exchange of experiences. Women are leaders of the processes, older women, younger women. In the process of recovering knowledge in recipes, as custodians of seeds, as leaders in their regions, as the driving force of their families. The focus on gender and generational work is fundamental to the process.

Impact of the community experience of TEJ on public policy

In ongoing processes, they participate indirectly in farmers’ markets. 

During 2020-2021, Fundación UTA and RedBioCol had the opportunity to participate in the departmental participatory construction of PIDARET+, where they were able to have an impact on the issue of appropriate technologies to achieve sustainable rural development with proposals for renewable energies for the next two years.  decades. This process is still ongoing with the territorial development plans.

Also at the departmental level with the Environmental Corporation of Santander CAS they were recognized as a farm where resources are very well managed for the care of the environment in swine production. They are an example for the department.

RedBioCol has been generating internal spaces for discussion at a public policy table from the community base and has interacted with RENAF and in some way indirectly influenced the draft law of Resolution 464, always emphasizing the need for renewable energy to be positioned in the same and in the agroecology law under construction.