Land, Liberty and Solar Power for Farm Workers
In 2017, four farmworkers from Northwest Washington founded a worker-owned cooperative—Cooperativa Tierra y Libertad (Land and Liberty Cooperative). Their mission was to use their skills as farm workers for the creation of a working farm that they operated collectively to economically sustain their families.
The overall vision was for the co-op to work with Community to Community Development to build a food system that no longer relies on the exploitation of people, animals and ecosystems. Three years and 65 acres later, the group of farmworker and food justice advocates were ready to create a community energy plan, supported by a capacity grant and technical advice from Spark Northwest.
With thoughtful planning and coordination, Cooperativa Tierra y Libertad secured grants from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program and Puget Sound Energy’s Green Power Program to install solar panels that power the irrigation pumps and barn facilities used to grow delicious, organic berries and vegetables.
“This investment is crucial as Tierra y Libertad navigates risk as a start-up. More important is the impact the installation of solar power has as a model for small, sustainable farm practices, as C2C and Tierra y Libertad contribute to a decentralized, non-extractive regional food economy. This project helps to establish Tierra y Libertad as environmental stewards and community stakeholders in local decision-making to protect land and water.”Sean Hopps, C2C
A just transition away from fossil fuels means helping farmers like Cooperative Tierra y Libertad fulfill their vision of being sustainability leaders in their community.