Image par David Mark de Pixabay

Knehtilä farm: a model of real sustainability in food and energy production

It is imperative that food production adapts to the enormous challenges we face now and going forward, to enable society to develop resilience and sustainability; the European Union is resolute on this and has endorsed its position with the Green Deal. It is essential, therefore, that European agricultural models evolve.

Knehtilä farm in Finland is at the centre of a cooperative system that focuses on energy self-sufficiency and involves a number of food producers: “Palopuro Agroecological Symbiosis”.

This 380-hectare farm produces cereals and buckwheat for human consumption and chicken feed for a neighbouring henhouse. The oats and buckwheat are made into flakes, granola (a blend of different cereals) and various types of snack.

The purpose is to establish an organic local food production network using bioenergy and recycled nutrients, the intention being to serve as a model for producing and processing organic foodstuffs that are truly self-sufficient in terms of energy and nutrients. It’s a cooperative system in which all the elements of the agricultural production model are interdependent; in other words, a truly self-sufficient agro-ecological symbiosis.

In specific terms, manure and other types of nutritive residue are transformed into biogas, a source of energy (biomass). This gas or energy source is then used for all the activities on the farm that require fuel, such as tractors and the farm bakery. In addition, any surplus fuel can be sold outside the cooperative system. The result of this agro-ecological model is a virtuous production system with direct benefits for the local environment.

It provides consumers with a local source of organic products, either directly from the farm or via local markets, and as well as the purely ‘eco-focused’ aspects of the system, it also creates and stimulates a certain vitality and connects the local community by bringing producers and consumers together.

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