Kashi’s Lights On Initiative - Solar Panels For Andean Quinoa Farmers
We don’t just care about what goes into our foods—we care about how it’s grown and the people who make it possible. So, we created the Lights On Initiative—a social program that helps to improve the quality of life for the Bolivian farmers who grow our quinoa in some of the more remote areas of the Altiplano region.
What is the Lights On initiative?
Through a partnership with our quinoa supplier, Andean Naturals, Kashi has funded a solar panel initiative to help improve the livelihoods of the quinoa farmers where our quinoa is grown. This initiative has focused on two areas:
- Supporting 60 quinoa farmer families with solar panels. The solar panels produce enough energy daily for families to power a couple of lights, a television or a computer, and to charge a cell phone.
- Providing solar equipment to power 4 water wells that will irrigate the fields of 4 quinoa farming communities. Assisted irrigation like this can help quinoa farmers increase their yields by as much as 50%.
Why is the Kashi team supporting it?
The journey to positive eating starts with our ingredients. Kashi is committed to taking a holistic approach by investing in the farming communities where our key ingredients are grown.
What was life like for the farmers before the solar paneled lighting?
Before the farmers had solar paneled lighting, they were dependent on the sunlight to get most of their work done, relying on candles and kerosene to illuminate their homes after dark. This meant that after the candle burnt out the day was done, making it difficult to get simple tasks done.
What challenges did the farmers face before solar powered irrigation?
Before the solar powered irrigation was in place, farmers were dependent on Mother Nature to get the right amount of rain and sun the quinoa needed. This unpredictability in weather presented many challenges to the quinoa farmers, including having to replant their seeds because they didn’t sprout or experiencing lower yield for harvest.
How will life improve for our Quinoa farmers with the addition of solar powered lights and irrigation?
Now with the solar lighting, these families will be able to make their day last longer and gain the opportunity to spend more time with the family at night, cook together, fix their tools, study, or even hold community meetings after the sun is down. For example, at a community building used for storing the families’ shared harvest equipment, community members rotate night shifts to ensure the safety of all their equipment during the nights. The solar-powered light will help provide light to the watchmen and ensure the safety of their equipment throughout the night.
Providing these communities with solar power for irrigation will allow them to have more consistent, predictable yields and better manage the unpredictability of Mother Nature. It also has the potential to help them produce more quinoa (up to 50% higher yields with irrigation for the first time) which in turn can potentially help increase their family’s income.
Hope for the future – in partnership with Andean Naturals, our Bolivian Quinoa supplier, Kashi will help create a true ripple effect of positive eating. That means every time you buy one of our products with quinoa, you’re not only making a positive nutritional choice but you’re also supporting foods that participate in a larger holistic social program. And that makes everyone feel really, really good.