Rain Barrels for All

An old Vermont saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers.” It’s meant to give you hope for spring signs of life after a long, cold winter and the dreary spring weather that often follows. And May, in fact, does bring flowers although often coupled with more showers. But luckily, we are writing to share with you how May rains can bring summer gains! Setting up rain barrels at home can save on water use all throughout the gardening season. For some people that means a financial gain and for others, it simply means that they are doing the right thing for mother earth.

DIY Rain Barrel from a Garbage Can | 4 Easy Steps

You will need:
  • 1 large plastic garbage can
  • 1 tube of watertight sealant or roll of Teflon tape for plumbing
  • 2 rubber washers & 2 metal washers
  • 1 hose clamp
  • 1 spigot
  • A drill
  • Landscaping fabric or screen
Cabot Creamery

1. Drill the holes: a. Outflow hole: Pick a drill bit that is either a little smaller than your spigot or the same size, then, drill a hole 3 to 4 inches from the bottom of the garbage can (or large plastic barrel – whatever you are using as your barrel). b. Overflow holes: Drill 2 small holes on either side of the top of the can. These can be about 2 inches below the very top.

2. Insert the Spigot: Put a metal washer over the threaded side of your spigot followed by a rubber washer to hold in place. Next, cover the rubber washer with your sealant and insert the spigot into the hole you just drilled, allow sealant to dry.

3. Secure the Spigot: Once sealant is dry, place the second metal washer on the threaded part of the spigot on the inside of the barrel, followed by the rubber washer and lastly by the hose clamp to keep the spigot in place.

4. Create Collection Hole: Cut a hole in the top of the can’s lid big enough for water to collect in the barrel, it’s best to align this opening with where the water runs from your roof or from your gutter. Lastly, cut a piece of landscaping fabric or light screening a little larger than the size of the top of the bin so that you can place on the top and then secure in place by placing the lid over the screen. The screen or fabric will keep larger objects or uninvited insects, pests out of your barrel.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

*Please note that in some states due to water shortages, typically in western states, it’s important to check with state regulations on having home rain collection systems/rain barrels.

Cabot farmers are conserving water all the time. Did you know that our farmers are working in their communities to protect and conserve healthy water? Cabot farmers belong to watershed groups throughout New England. They are part of the Champlain Valley Farmers Coalition, the Connecticut River Watershed Alliance, the Farmers Watershed Alliance and the Wetlands Committee of North Canaan. On and off of their farms, they are stewards of the land and have a strong voice at the table when it comes to ensuring clean water for generations to come.
“The stewardship responsibility never goes away but we know it’s the right thing to do for the earth, for our farm and for our family.” – Porterdale Farms, Adams Center, NY
Cabot Creamery
As an industry, dairy farmers, because of their water management practices, use 65 percent less water than they needed 60 years ago to produce the same amount of milk. That’s pretty cool. Our farmers do all kinds of things to conserve water. They plant cover crops that help build healthy soil so that it can hold the water and decrease runoff, they plant trees along river banks to protect against erosion and they create conservation management plans to ensure the practices of today, protect the needs of tomorrow.
“Land stewardship is very much a part of the #CabotFarmer way of life.” Wilcon Farm, North Ferrisburg, VT

Cabot Creamery

At our creamery, we work hard to save water too. In the town of Cabot, VT where our creamery started almost 100 years ago – and where we still make the world’s greatest cheddar – we have an innovative water recycling system. We recycle the water that is separated from the cow’s milk during the cheese making process and filter it to clean our equipment each day. So the cow provides the ingredients to make cheese and to clean the creamery. Annually, we save almost 280,000 gallons of water by using this technology.

Cabot Creamery
You don’t have to be a dairy farmer or a cheese maker to conserve water. Saving water is something we can all do – and rain barrels are a great way to reduce water use and save money. Use our quick DIY guide if you’re feeling creative and want to make your own rain barrels at home. Otherwise, our fellow B Corp partner Gardener’s Supply has a variety of options for purchase. And if rain barrels won’t work at your house, just go to the store and buy some Cabot cheese – you can rest assured knowing that good water management practices are used both on our farms that provide the milk for our cheese AND the manufacturing process used to make that cheese – so eat up!
Cabot Creamery

If you would like to learn more about Cabot Creamery Co-operative, our sustainability initiatives, or some of our 1,000 farm families, click here. You can also sign-up for our Newsletters.


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.

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