By Elena Coll
Small farmers are at the center of what we do. Since day 1, Sistema.bio has established a collaboration scheme with our users that allows us to learn from them, how they work and what they need to get the most out of their biodigesters and their farms. The arrival of COVID-19 has reminded us of the importance of focusing our gaze on those who feed us, those who are at the center and base of our societies. In difficult times, turning our gaze to the field is the best way to learn about resilience.
In this spirit, we have approached our clients to learn more about their realities and learn from them. We recently had the opportunity to speak with Isaac, a producer in San José Chiapa, Puebla, Veterinary doctor, and user of Sistema.bio since 2012. Talking with Isaac allowed us to get in touch with new perspectives on health care and its relationship with our life plans.
Farmers Isaac and Claudia have owned a small turkey and chicken farm since 2011. At that time the young couple had more expenses than resources, which made our biodigesters a very attractive long-term solution. After meeting us at a demonstration in the municipal auditorium, they decided to make the brave investment and bet on biogas for their home. Since then they buy a tank of LP gas every 6 or 8 months, instead of having to buy it every two months. These savings, together with their effort and dedication, have allowed them to diversify the products on their farm with rabbits and sheep. It is with them that Isaac feeds his biodigester, complementing it once a week with manure from his brother’s cows.
Mr. Isaac is a farmer by tradition and a Veterinary Zootechnician by trade. He chose to specialize in backyard animals, as he enjoys working in the fields. In his practice, he cares for private dairy cattle, pigs, and sheep, a practice that has become complicated in times of pandemic.
This is not Isaac’s first pandemic. In 2015, the veterinary doctor experienced the effects of influenza firsthand. Since then he has been very careful, and now that the country faces the new virus, he and his family have doubled down on precautions.
So far there are 2 official cases of COVID-19 in San José Chiapa, but the townspeople still do not measure the seriousness of the matter. During this crisis, Isaac has been a spokesperson from his experience, recommending his neighbors to follow the recommended care. We get only one life, Isaac tells us, and we must care for it.
Isaac and Claudia’s sales have decreased dramatically in this contingency. However, they have concentrated on improving the quality of their products and caring for their own consumption crops. The biodigester, biogas, and biofertilizer have been great aids, Isaac tells us, and since he bought it he has spread its usefulness among neighbors, friends, and family and has invited his own clients from his veterinary practice to see his biodigester. Thanks to his information dissemination, his sister and two of his friends have decided to buy their own Sistema.bio biodigester!
In addition to using biogas for household needs, Isaac and Claudia have found great value in their biofertilizer. They have used this valuable element in their garden and on their fruit trees. In addition to contributing to better harvest, the biofertilizer has helped them eliminate several pests. It has also contributed to the diversification of their income, with the sale of the biofertilizer to neighboring producers.
Talking with Claudia, Isaac tells us, he has come to the conclusion that deforestation cannot continue, and that clean technologies such as biodigesters are the solution. He and his sister have completely replaced firewood in their kitchens, a great contribution to local ecosystems. For Isaac, his wife Claudia, and their close circle, renewable energies are the future of agriculture and of the world.
As they look to the future, Claudia and Isaac work hard on the growth of their farm and production, with the intent of acquiring cows that will allow them to diversify their income and better feed their biodigester. But this will only be possible if today, in COVID times, they and the residents of their town increase the measures to take care of themselves. Talking to Isaac has reminded us that caring for ourselves is caring for each other and that we have a lot of work ahead of us.