Hope farm receives USDA funding for energy project
Holly Miller, project manager of Hope’s Edge Farm in Hope, will receive more than $4,000 to carry out an energy demonstration project, according to an announcement from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The funds will be awarded through Conservation Innovation Grants, a component of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. The statewide competitive grants address some of the state’s most pressing natural resource conservation needs.
The purpose of CIG is to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production. CIG projects are expected to lead to the transfer of conservation technologies, management systems, and innovative approaches into NRCS technical manuals or guides, or to the private sector.
Through Miller’s Hope’s Edge Conservation Initiative, she will demonstrate and quantify the impacts of reducing on-farm electrical use by replacing old, highly inefficient cooling and freezing equipment with new, energy-efficient equipment.
This project proposes to reduce the carbon footprint of Hope’s Edge Farm by reducing on-farm electrical usage by 15 to 25 percent. Miller will demonstrate previously proven technology to community members and other farmers. In addition, Miller will teach children and share knowledge about sustainable energy practices as part of an overall mission of positioning the farm “as a local source of food, health, knowledge and community.”
Comprising 103 acres of open fields and mixed woodlands, Hope’s Edge Farm is located in northwest Hope, off Ludwig Road. Through community supported agriculture and other activities, the farm educates the public about sustainable agriculture and the benefits of eating locally. In addition to picking up their produce, shareholders can also read articles and borrow books relevant to sustainable agriculture or food preparation. Their children, the next generation, get to experience firsthand where food comes from.
“We are so happy to receive this grant,” said Miller. “It will enable us to save a lot of energy on the farm and advance our sustainability goals.”
Maine NRCS also provided CIG grants to the following Maine organizations:
Windependence (Community Energy Partners LLC) in Freeport received $70,000 for Advancing Farmer-Owned Wind Power in Maine.
The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association in Unity received $44,000 to demonstrate New Soil Health Building Techniques for Organic Farmers in the Northeast. MOFGA will demonstrate and quantify the impacts of cover crops, crop rotations, tillage and/or soil amendments on soil chemical, physical, and/or biological properties and their relationships with nutrient cycling, soil and water availability, and plant growth.
Maine Rural Partners in Orono received $40,000 for the Micmac Heat Pump Demonstration Project. MRP will establish a demonstration project in Aroostook County for ductless air-to-air heat pump technology in the retail farm store and processing facility of Micmac Farms and Trading Company, owned by the Aroostook Band of Micmacs.
NRCS, in existence since 1935, is the lead conservation agency that helps farmers conserve, maintain and improve natural resources through science-based conservation efforts, technical assistance and incentive-based programs. For information on NRCS and its programs, visit www.me.nrcs.usda.gov. For more information on Hope’s Edge Farm, visit hopesedgefarm.com.
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