Sunshine + Dairy Farms = Electricity. Ok, it’s a bit of an odd equation, but don’t be afraid of the math – sunshine and dairy farming are in fact coming together to power our homes. At Cabot, we take pride in knowing that our cows make the world’s best cheddar. We also love to help our communities (Cabot Farmers’ Gratitude Grille, Reward Volunteers). With a simple equation, we are bringing these two themes together. Cows are sharing space with solar panels, helping to provide clean, renewable energy. Cows making cheese and electricity? – Now those are some seriously sharp cows!Cows making cheese and electricity? – Now those are some seriously sharp cows! Click To Tweet
All across our co-op, from New York and throughout New England, we are seeing more and more, how our farmers are lending a hand in sustainability. Check out our Farmer Friday Sustainability blogs to hear more stories. As a creamery, Cabot is a certified B Corp, committing itself to certain standards that say, “Hey, we want to do our part by being a socially responsible organization.” B Corp status relies on respecting the pillars of people, place and planet along with your bottom-line.
In sustainability, the more we work together, the better suited we are to reach our goals as stewards of the planet. Helping make this equation of sun and cows possible, is one of our sister B Corp companies, SunCommon.
SunCommon, based in Waterbury, VT, is working closely with farmers to build Community Solar Arrays that help to offset electricity costs for farmers and also provide opportunity for hundreds of homeowners to support renewable energy.
As Vermont dairy farmers, it’s very important for us to budget our expenses to remain a viable business. Since milk prices are unpredictable, we were looking for ways to invest in our farm to maintain some predictable expenditures. This is why we chose to host a Community Solar Array (CSA) on our land. We looked into building and buying our own array but it was cost prohibitive. It would’ve taken up a lot of our purchasing power. So, when the CSA program at SunCommon was created we knew we had found a great fit. By hosting a CSA, not only have we secured predictable, constant electricity rates for our farm, but we’ve also developed a new form of the working landscape.
-Molly Magnan of Magnan Bros Dairy Farm in Fairfield Vermont
We work with local farmers to help stabilize unpredictable energy costs allowing them to save money and support the growth of solar in Vermont. Community Solar Arrays (CSAs) can be sited on an acre or so of land that is otherwise unsuitable for farming – perhaps a rocky, fallow field or an area inaccessible to farm equipment. But perhaps a slice of land isn’t the best option – we now explore roof-based CSAs. Those big barn roofs present a fantastic opportunity.
– Emily McManamy, Storyteller and Media Maven, SunCommon.
Another friend in the solar world, Green Lantern, also based out of Waterbury, VT is helping to make solar and farming possible. VPR has covered two stories in the last couple of months about Cabot farmers and their efforts to promote renewable energy through hosting solar arrays on their land. The Vorstevelds who farm in Panton and West Ferrisburgh, VT along with the Eaton’s of Auburn Star Farm in Lunenburg, VT. We support these farmers and hope to share with others in our coop.
We were hoping we could have a little bit more of a closed loop system, where members of the cooperative were hosting the solar arrays that ultimately provided the electricity to help run the creamery.
– Jed Davis, director of sustainability for Cabot
The more we do to create simple equations that provide sustainable opportunities, like farming that creates food and electricity, the better future we create for generations to come – and we are happy to see Cabot farmers as a part of this equation.
To find out more about solar on your farm, contact Ann Hoogenboom at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more resources on going solar at your home, check out the Department of Energy’s Energy.gov website.
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Ann Hoogenboom is Cabot’s Sustainability Coordinator and gets to share the latest and greatest in sustainability news from our farm families. As a Vermont native and lover of all things green, she’s proud of the socially responsible business role that Cabot plays for our cows, our creamery, our community and our customers.