On the 11th and 12th of May 2022 the AgroRES interregional conference, hosted in Devon, brought together close to 30 participants from 7 countries around Europe to exchange knowledge, experiences and passions surrounding renewable energy production and its uses within the agricultural sector. Devon County Council hosted the event, with attendees from Poland, Romania, Spain, Finland, Italy, Ireland and the United Kingdom coming from diverse backgrounds.
Renewable community energy was at the forefront of the agenda for this event, with presentations from local organisations such as TRESOC and the Dartmoor Wood-fuel Co-operative as well as national organisation Regen. The presentations provided insight into the desire and availability to produce and consume renewable energy within Devon, through solar, hydro power as well as through the use of biomass. The community-based element provides empowerment and autonomy to local people, helping to protect against fuel insecurity whilst keeping economic benefits within the area.
Additional visits were made to a farms that had diversified in order to maintain profits and improve environmental sustainability. One farm, run by Bennammans, uses anaerobic digestion to create methane that can then be used for fuel on the farm as well as sold to create extra income. This reduces the emissions produced on dairy farms and provides a fuel that is less damaging than traditional fossil fuels. Alongside this a trip to Drakes Café, where youth education surrounding farming is prioritised, was made to show the group the other possibilities within agricultural diversification as well as the importance of education within food systems and sustainability.
Overall the event highlighted the amount of amazing possibilities within Devon that exist for creating a more sustainable future, whilst allowing industry to continue through technological advancements and innovative thinking.
– by Charlotte Burleigh