Wednesday 4th September – Södertälje

 

This day was filled with a lot of visits!

We started the day with a visit to a grain company: Saltå Kvarn.
At first , we met one of the managers that explained us the goals and the operations of the company. One goal is to enhance the work of local farmers by providing them behind a healthy grain processing .

After an hour in the conference room , we have wear special clothes for visitors in the factory: we were all wearing a beautiful white blouse and a blue shower cap on our heads. We took a few pictures of that moment. We then discover the plant: all operations were explained by one of the workers there. He presented to us the different stages of production. Finally, we arrived in the chemistry lab where various tests are performed to check the quality of grains. Based on the results, grains are used for different purposes : flour, muesli … etc.. Nothing is wasted.

Around 10:30 , we thanked our partners and we headed to our next destination : an eco-bank. What a surprise to discover this alternative financial institution in the middle of a meadow. It was a shock for me and the Americans, who confessed to me that such a location for a bank is unthinkable in the United States.
We entered the building and met the Deputy Managing Director (http://www.ekobanken.se/?id=2951).
To describe the building, it is a renovated farmhouse : an eco- bank operating in a green building. The bank uses to finance mainly organic agricultural long-term projects. Before financing, bankers meet their customers on site to get to know them, assess their needs, see their infrastructure, and discuss the project. This is a bank based  on « human scale ». After that, the money is loaned or not. For each project, some safety devices are in place so that investors in the bank does not suffer the repercussions of a project that does not work. To simplify , let’s say the bank has put in place various compartments with security between each for spreading the risk of the investment (oil-boat metaphor for those who have seen the film Inside Job).
The bank has also implemented a policy of transparency: every month, it makes available on its website the records of investments it has made. Thus, customers can regularly check in what their money is invested.

Around noon, we had lunch in a school : once is not custom, we ate organic food (no meat but we enjoy it anyway).
In the afternoon, we returned to the House of Culture of Södertälje and we met Hans von Essen once more, which is part of BERAS project. Shortly, BERAS is a project funded by the European Union, which borders the entire Baltic coast : the sea is polluted by discharges of phosphorus produced by farmers and other plants and the project involves municipalities to solve the problem at the source. For more information chek the website: http://beras.eu/
We ended the day on a visit to the park of 2000m ² right next to the House of Culture, which also contains an organic garden. Our interlocutor transmited her passion to us, starting the presentation of his work in the garden with a poem. She even put us to get involved in her work. She gave us some tools to mow the wheat. Fortunately, no injuries !
Finally, we returned in the early evening for another meal and we welcomed our 8th participants: Tim, whiwh was the only Swedish (and maybe the first Swedish to participate in a Sustainable Tour !).

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