About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3964-3970
Publication year: 2021
ISBN: 978-84-09-27666-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2021.0811

Conference name: 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-9 March, 2021
Location: Online Conference

CIRCULAR ECONOMY IN A NETWORK OF EDUCATIONAL EXPERIMENTAL FARMS

G. Cervantes

Universidad de La Salle Bajío (MEXICO)
The agricultural sector is very important worldwide, due to increasing population and therefore the need for food. But this sector works mainly as a linear production system, instead of a circular one. This causes the generation of large amount of waste, which usually creates pollution if not disposed correctly. It is therefore essential to help agricultural systems to close the material cycle and thus reduce environmental impacts.

In a network of educational experimental farms (EEF) in Guanajuato state (México), agronomy students of Universidad de la Salle Bajío learn while they develop or collaborate in research projects. The EEF have experimental crops or cattle, or both:
a) Santa Rosa (SR) (16 Ha) consist of crops, ovine cattle, horses, hen and other small farm animals;
b) In La Estancia (LA) more than a hundred dairy cows are kept,
c) In Los Ramírez (82 Ha) wheat, oats, triticale, sorghum, alfalfa and maize are grown;
d) Silao (2 Ha) consists of pepper crops. Students develop different tasks in the farms. They also develop there their final grade thesis or collaboration with research projects.

In 3 of the 4 farms, a Circular Economy (CE) project is being developed since 2017. It consists of searching for opportunities for closing the material cycle in order to achieve: a better materials use, an improved waste valorization, a set of waste or by-products exchanges among the farms; in essence, moving towards a CE.

First a qualitative and quantitative flow diagram of each farm is drawn. Then, the attention is put into wastes and how are they reused, recycled or disposed. The reused or recycled wastes are considered as existing synergies, and the existing synergies diagram is drawn. Finally, new synergies are proposed and the proposed synergies diagram is also drawn. While this process is undertaken in every farm, the project aims to create a network among all the farms, linked by the use and valorization of their wastes as a raw material for another entity or farm, creating an industrial eco-system, so contributing to the CE.

The results show that an eco-industrial agricultural network was proposed between the three farms, made up of 11 entities, 7 different industrial sectors, 8 existing synergies, 18 proposed synergies and 22 different recovered or reused wastes. Some of the proposed synergies are: fly-larvae extraction, keratin production, bone meal production, biodigestor, energy production from biogas, composting, vermicomposting, community dining-room. A solution is proposed for the most troubling wastes: Wasted tires, firewood pruning wastes, dead sheep skins, hen manure, cow manure and wastewater from the septic tank. These proposals imply also the creation of 6 new products to sale: vermicompost, bone meal, Keratin, biogas, bio fertilizer, compost. There is also a stronger relationship with the community and with external entities, as 2 communities and 11 new external entities are involved. Criteria are also given to tend to the CE in the agricultural sector.

For students, getting involved in these projects imply having responsibilities similar to those of a proper job in the agricultural sector, as they’re in charge of some crops and cattle. They also learn circular economy in an easy way, as it is done in practice. They can also develop research projects not only in a farm, but in three of them, as linkages and synergies among farms is encouraged. And they’re able to create new ties with surrounding communities.
@InProceedings{CERVANTES2021CIR,
author = {Cervantes, G.},
title = {CIRCULAR ECONOMY IN A NETWORK OF EDUCATIONAL EXPERIMENTAL FARMS},
series = {15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2021 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-27666-0},
issn = {2340-1079},
doi = {10.21125/inted.2021.0811},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/inted.2021.0811},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Online Conference},
month = {8-9 March, 2021},
year = {2021},
pages = {3964-3970}}
TY - CONF
AU - G. Cervantes
TI - CIRCULAR ECONOMY IN A NETWORK OF EDUCATIONAL EXPERIMENTAL FARMS
SN - 978-84-09-27666-0/2340-1079
DO - 10.21125/inted.2021.0811
PY - 2021
Y1 - 8-9 March, 2021
CI - Online Conference
JO - 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2021 Proceedings
SP - 3964
EP - 3970
ER -
G. Cervantes (2021) CIRCULAR ECONOMY IN A NETWORK OF EDUCATIONAL EXPERIMENTAL FARMS, INTED2021 Proceedings, pp. 3964-3970.
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