Celebrating 40 Years: Farm Energy

By Kevin Pink, Customer Service & Marketing Assistant

It’s getting to be that time of year; across New England, farmer’s markets are in full swing and abundant harvests of cucumbers, tomatoes, and all manner of other summer crops are making their way from farms to our tables along with milk, cheese, and meat. With harvest festivals just around the corner, it’s a good time to think about the farms that produce thcowe foods that keep us nourished.

At the Center for EcoTechnology, we’ve been working with farms for decades. Farms have a lot of the same energy needs as other businesses we work with, and in many cases, they have additional needs. In the 1990s, we began working with farmers to implement food waste composting on farms and augment it to accept commercially-generated food scraps, offering farms an additional option for revenue. We later expanded our work with farms to include helping to increase the energy efficiency of their facilities and processes.

Beginning in 2002, CET managed the Energy and Small Farm Sustainability Project, funded by a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grant from the USDA and matching funds from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and the United States Department of Energy. This project researched, implemented, and showcased energy efficiency measures and renewable energy projects for farms in Western Massachusetts, offering free technical assistance and recommendations for next steps. CET staff also helped farmers research and secure grant funding, financing, and utility and tax incentives to install energy efficiency measures and renewable energy systems.

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