New England Farm Energy Collaborative Summer Gathering

By Megan Denardo and Renee Stearns, Program Specialists

The anaerobic digestor at Barstow’s Longview Farm in South Hadley turns farm waste like manure into energy the farm can use.

On June 27th, members of New England Farm Energy Collaborative (NEFEC) met for their annual gathering. Those in attendance included representatives from the Massachusetts Farm Energy Program, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural resources, the Connecticut Farm Energy Program, Efficiency Vermont, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources, the USDA’s Rural Development office, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Center for EcoTechnology.

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Harvest New England Conference

By Megan Denardo, Program Specialist

The 2017 Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference and Trade Show was held in Sturbridge, MA on March 7-9. Staff from the Massachusetts Farm Energy Program (MFEP) were invited to exhibit and speak at this conference, as part of a multi-state panel titled Farm Energy 101. The MFEP offers a range of services to farms to reduce energy consumption and produce renewable energy and is administered by the Center for EcoTechnology. They took this opportunity to continue their outreach to as many farms in Massachusetts as possible.

From left to right: Amanda Fargo-Johnson, CT Farm Energy Program; Megan Denardo, CET & MA Farm Energy Program; Alex DePillis, VT Division of Agricultural Development; Liz Budd, CET & MA Farm Energy Program; Anne Correia, USDA Rural Development.

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Press Release: New Federal Funding to Help MFEP

Primary Contact: Lorenzo Macaluso

413.218.1543 | Lorenzo.macaluso@cetonline.org

Secondary Contact: Emily Susan Gaylord, Marketing Manager
413.687.2132 (cell) | emily.gaylord@cetonline.org

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
New federal funding to help Mass. farms save energy and reduce operating costs
USDA funds support existing state and public utility funding through the Mass. Farm Energy Program

 

Farms and rural small businesses in Massachusetts seeking to reduce energy costs or install clean energy technologies have long relied on the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ (MDAR) Massachusetts Farm Energy Program (MFEP) for funding and technical assistance.

Now, new funding from the United States Department of Agriculture will support the work of the MFEP. The USDA has awarded a $33,000 Rural Business Development Grant to the Center for EcoTechnology (CET), a non-profit based in Northampton, Mass., who partners with MDAR to manage the MFEP. The grant will be used  to provide timely information, funding request assistance, and technical assistance to rural farms that wish to improve their energy efficiency and reduce operating costs.

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Food Waste Initiative Creates Jobs in Massachusetts

To help businesses and institutions maximize recycling, reuse, and composting opportunities, the Center for EcoTechnology administers a program called  RecyclingWorksMA for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The agency has just released a report highlighting the economic benefits in Massachusetts of food waste reduction initiatives. The following post, with a link to the report, was originally posted on the RecyclingWorksMA blog.

And continuing the theme of economic successes in the state that are linked to environmental and economic sustainability initiatives, the Mass. Clean Energy Energy just released it’s annual Clean Energy Industry Report, which describes significant growth in this sector over 2015!


Yesterday, December 22, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) released a new report highlighting the positive economic benefits of reducing food waste. This report studied the effects of the Massachusetts Commercial Food Waste Ban, which prohibits businesses and institutions that generate one ton or more of food waste per week from disposing of that waste in the trash. About 1,700 facilities such as universities, supermarkets, food processors, hotels, conference centers, and restaurants are subject to the ban. This ban, which went into effect in October of 2014, was the nation’s first requiring commercial entities to divert wasted food from disposal via donation, animal feed, anaerobic digestion, or composting.

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Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Awards Energy Efficiency Grants

By Aliza Heeren, Marketing (High Performance Homes) Fellow

Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) awarded 28 grants to help farmers install renewable energy and energy efficiency projects through both the Agricultural Energy Grant and the Special Projects Grant. The Massachusetts Farm Energy Program (MFEP), which is administered by the Center for EcoTechnology, played a large role in assisting many of those farmers to complete their applications.

According to a Massachusetts state press release, “the AG-Energy and ENER-SP Grant Programs will fund a variety of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, including: photovoltaic systems for a number of farm operations, a tidal upweller power system, solar pole lighting with batteries, and a zero-net energy greenhouse project.”

ferrindino-farms-july-2016-2_1

Ferrindino Farm worked with MFEP, who covered 75% of their audit costs. They were ultimately awarded $20,000 from the MDAR grant to upgrade their maple sugaring equipment.

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