Farm to Plate Energy Success Stories

Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan calls for obtaining 90% of the state’s energy from renewable sources by 2050 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% from a 1990 baseline. What role can Vermont’s food system play in advancing this goal? The Energy Cross-cutting Team of the Farm to Plate Network has released seven Energy Success Stories that showcase farms, businesses, …

Oilseed Economics Update 2014

Yesterday we held our annual Oilseed Producer’s Meeting.  At this meeting, I presented an economic overview of oilseeds in Vermont.  Ina nutshell, Vermont has an installed on-farm biodiesel capacity of 600,000 gal/yr (5 sites) with a normalized initial cost of $1/gal of capacity (better than national average). Fuel can be produced for an average cost …

Vermont On-Farm Biodiesel – Costs of Production

I recently co-authored a summary of the economics of on-farm biodiesel with Netaka White from the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund.  This report collects the economic and logistic learning from the past seven years of the Vermont Bioenergy Initiative (VBI).  The VBI has supported a wide range of sustainable fuel related efforts in Vermont.  Along with …

CoolBots(TM): Inexpensive Cold Storage

A downloadable PDF of this blog post is available here. Demand for on-farm cold storage of produce is increasing as local markets for these goods expand. Many local producers are asking about CoolBots™, a tool that works with a window air-conditioner to make a cooler out of an insulated space. This article collects information about CoolBots …

Energy and Waste in the Food System

Although estimates vary, we invest about 14 calories of fossil fuel-based energy and 15-20 calories of energy in general into every 1 calorie of food produced.  And (here’s the kicker) 30-50% of the food produced never makes it to a digestive track.  So those energy input numbers are actually low by any true measure of …

FIDO – A Do-it-yourself Temperature Monitor with Text Message Alerts

As I’ve mentioned in several other posts, I think the continual monitoring of conditions in greenhouses and food storage spaces is incredibly important for quality and safety and insightful for any operation. There is a really clever design for a do-it-yourself temperature monitoring system called Fido, on the FarmHack site.  It uses an Arduino control …

Bioenergy NOW!

The Vermont Bioenergy Initiative, a project of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund recently released a series of videos summarizing their bioenergy related projects through-out Vermont. Visit the YouTube channel for all the videos.

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