During the Ontario Renewable Energy Tour, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the Pembina Institute, the Climate Action Network Canada, and the United Church of Canada presented their report on Harvesting Clean Energy on Ontario Farms. From June 27th to July 1st, local farmers were given the opportunity to get new insights from and exchange ideas with Hans-Detlef Feddersen, a leading wind farmer from Germany. As the Ottawa Citizen reports, German farmers have seized the opportunity to become energy entrepreneurs. Arne Jungjohann, Program Director of the Environment and Global Dialogue Program at the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America, says that Germans have embraced green energy technologies throughout the country. With German know-how and its experience in the renewable energies sector, farmers in North America can take advantage of this new evolving path as well.
Both in Europe and Canada, the renewable energy and agriculture sectors have long been seen as having contradictory goals. This view, however, has been changing throughout the past few years. From boom-and-bust models of non-sustainable resource use, Canada is recently managing its underlying resources more and more sustainably and fostering the new evolving green economy.
By now, multiple options allow Canadian farmers to reduce their own energy costs and receive an income from their (renewable energy) products. Prospects for local farmers are increasing, as Cherise Burda of the Pembina Institute states in the online community Better Farming: “One of the next opportunities where we really need to move forward is in agricultural communities with farmers. There are opportunities in all types of renewable energy production for farmers to consider, not just wind and solar power generation “.
The agricultural sector itself is growing more interested in innovative strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ontario farmers have recently taken major steps to move to the forefront of clean energy developments in North America. In one of the stops during the Renewable Energy Tour through Ontario, Hans-Detlef Feddersen expounded upon the positive influences of rural wind farms. “The main message is that based on our experience in Germany there is high potential for economic opportunities for rural areas and farmers especially,” Feddersen told the Guelph Mercury, before speaking at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College. “I can see parallels to Ontario.”
This tour was co-sponsored by the Transatlantic Climate Bridge of the German government.